vitamins for baby and child
health: easy as
a, b, c
Vitamins are essential nutrients, which enable your body to work properly. They’re needed only in small amounts, and we eat most of them every day without even thinking about it. Our body even produces some for us.
Your little one has been getting all the necessary vitamins from breast or formula milk. Now they’ve been weaned, how do you ensure they’re not missing out on anything important? These are the vitamins that your baby needs to grow and thrive.
Vitamin A is important for healthy cells, good eyesight, strong bones and teeth and protection against infection. Chicken livers is a great source – but it might not be one of your toddler’s favourites unless disguised in a tomato sauce! Try eggs, dairy, oranges, peaches, tomatoes and carrots – which actually do help you see in the dark.
The eight vitamins making up the vitamin B complex help to break down and release energy from our food, and look after the nervous system.
A balanced diet will give your little one plenty of B vitamins. They’re found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wholegrain foods, green vegetables, pulses and nuts.
vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C protects cells and connective tissue and helps the body to absorb iron. It also supports the immune system and helps wounds to heal.
It’s found in fruit and vegetables, and luckily, most little ones love fruit. Raw red pepper, citrus fruit and strawberries are all high in vitamin C.
Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphate in our bodies, leading to healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
Oily fish, liver and egg are good sources – however in summer time, your busy toddler is getting most of their vitamin D from playing outside. Our bodies manufacture it through the reaction of sunlight with a chemical in our skin. Most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from late March or early April. On warmer/hot days always take the normal sun safety precautions with babies and young children.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it protects cell membranes. This strengthens your baby’s immune system as well as looking after their skin and eyes.
The richest sources include plant oils such as olive oil. Nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and wheat germ (found in cereals) are also good.
This is essential for blood clotting. Green leafy vegetables, eggs, cheese, vegetable oils and cereal grains are all sources of vitamin K. We also have harmless intestinal bacteria that produce it in-house.
Your new arrival may have had a vitamin K injection just after birth, as newborns haven’t yet developed the bacteria.
how do i make sure my child is getting the right vitamins?
A balanced diet will provide your growing family with the vitamins they need. Vitamins A, C and D are particularly important for your little one, so keep up the fruit, veg, eggs, and sunshine! Some vitamins (K for example) are stored in the body, so don’t need to be squeezed into the diet every day.
should i give my vitamin supplements for children to my little one?
There are lots of vitamin supplements for babies available, and they can be useful, especially as many toddlers are a bit picky with their menu. The Department of Health now recommends that all children aged six months to five years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day. But if you’re unsure about your child’s diet, speak with your health visitor, who can advise you.