Vitamins and minerals

Obtaining the optimal levels of important vitamins and minerals is essential to an infant’s growth and development

There are some nutrients that are of particular importance to infants. These include vitamins A, C, D and E, iron, calcium and zinc.

Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and bone development, but infants and young children in the UK are only getting 27 per cent of their daily vitamin D needs, according to the 2011 National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

All children under five are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, which could result in their bones softening – a condition known as rickets. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published new guidance in 2016 regarding the recommended intake of vitamin D. Based on this, Public Health England issued its own advice.

As such, infants aged from birth to one year, whether exclusively or partially breastfed, should be given a daily supplement containing 8.5-10mcg of vitamin D. If a baby is consuming over 500ml of infant formula milk per day then no additional supplements need to be given, as the milk already contains the recommended amounts.

Children aged one to four years of age should be given a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D.

From October to March, everyone including infants aged five and over, pregnant and breastfeeing women, should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D.

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