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Sources of vitamin D

With the UK’s unpredictable weather and so few foods containing vitamin D, it can be hard to ensure your child gets enough. That’s why you should include foods rich in vitamin D such as oily fish and foods fortified with vitamin D as part of their balanced diet and/or give them a supplement.

Fortified Milk

Can provide at least 100% of their recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

Formula milks and growing up milks are fortified with vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in these products can vary but some contain at least 100% of your child’s recommended daily intake. You can buy them from supermarkets in powder form or ready-to-use bottles and cartons.

Supplements

Provide at least 100% of their recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

Supplements can come in the form of drops, sprays and syrups or be chewable. Please check the on-pack instructions for the recommended dose and format for your child’s age. Supplements are available from supermarkets and pharmacies. If you participate in, or qualify for, Healthy Start, you can get free children’s vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C & D. Ask your healthcare professional for more information.

Breast-feeding is the best source of nutrition for your child, especially in their early months. The Department of Health recommend that all breast fed babies (or babies receiving less than 500ml of formula per day) receive a supplement containing vitamin D from 6 months to 5 years old. However, if your baby is breast fed and you did not take a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy, your health visitor may advise you to give your baby vitamin drops containing 7-8.5 mcg of vitamin D from 1 month onwards. Always stick to the recommended dose stated on the packaging

Diet

Getting enough vitamin D through diet alone can be tough.

You can help top up your child’s vitamin D levels with natural food sources such as oily fish and eggs . Fortified foods are also a great way to include vitamin D in your child’s diet – many yogurts, cereals and milk drinks have added vitamin D. Why not think about trying a fortified cereal for breakfast; well-cooked scrambled eggs on toast with fortified margarine for lunch; or a salmon and broccoli bake for dinner.

Safe Sun

We naturally create vitamin D in t-shirt weather.

This means that between the traditionally gloomier British months of October to March, our bodies cannot produce vitamin D. And even when it is t-shirt weather, the use of sunscreen means that few children in the UK get enough vitamin D from the sun. That’s why it is important to provide a dietary source of vitamin D.