Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient for babies (as well as for adults). Unfortunately, it is not unusual for babies to be low in this vitamin, as there are not many great sources available in the food department.
If your baby is deficient in this nutrient, this can affect his or her immunity, mental health, and overall growth. There are various ways that you can get more vitamin D into your baby’s diet, including food and organic vitamin D drops.
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How to Check Your Baby’s Vitamin D Levels
The first step, before increasing the intake of vitamin D, is to determine if your little one has a deficiency. There are certain factors that increase the risk of deficiency, and they include:
- Lack of sun exposure
- Cold and cloudy environment
- Higher body fat levels
- Darker skin tones
- Certain medical conditions and medications
Some of the symptoms associated with low levels of this vitamin include lethargy, frequent illnesses, irritability, stunted growth, and seizures.
If you suspect your child is deficient, the best way to know for sure is to discuss it with their pediatrician and get a blood test.
For babies, a little bit of blood is collected via a heel stick or finger prick. Your pediatrician will let you know if your baby’s levels are within normal limits, too high, or too low.
Food Rich in Vitamin D
If your baby is deficient in vitamin D, there are various sources you can turn to. If you are breastfeeding, you should increase your intake of foods that contain this vitamin.
If your baby is eating solid foods, increasing vitamin-D rich items is a good idea. Some foods that contain high levels of vitamin D include:
- Fish, such as herring, salmon, trout, and swordfish
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks from free-range or pasture-raised chickens
- Fortified milk
- Fortified cereals
There are not many foods that supply vitamin D, and most of the ones that do are fortified. Plus, many of the food sources are not appropriate, or liked, by babies. That is the reason for supplements like fruit bites vitamins.
The best, and most natural source of vitamin D is the sun. However, a baby’s skin is extremely sensitive, so you do not want to be out in the sun unprotected for too long. Plus, the sun is only a good source during certain times of the year and during specific hours. If it is winter, or you live in a cloudy climate, the sun is probably not strong enough to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Supplementation is a good alternative to sun exposure and food sources. Vitamin D drops for baby are perfect, as you can easily add them to milk, juice, water, or a pacifier. However, keep in mind that not all drops are the same.
Look for vitamin D3 (as opposed to D2) and make sure the product is free from parabens, allergens, and artificial colors or flavors. It is best if the product is also organic, as this ensures it is free from unwanted chemicals. Ask your doctor about the recommended dose for your baby.