My baby is one month old and is exclusively breastfed. Should children be supplemented with vitamin D to avoid deficiency and what is the appropriate dosage? (Thu Hien, Ho Chi Minh City)

Vitamin D is essential for the development of infants and young children. This nutrient helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate in the intestines and kidneys, thereby increasing the efficiency of calcium and phosphate metabolism.

More calcium is deposited after being metabolized, helping the bone system develop and become strong. Vitamin D helps the immune system function effectively, supports the body’s metabolism, and helps children stay healthy and less likely to get sick or suffer from inflammatory diseases.

Although breast milk and infant formula both contain vitamin D, the amount may not meet the baby’s needs. Therefore, immediately after birth, most newborns need a supplemental source of vitamin D.

Normally, infants need a minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Premature or weak newborns need about 400-800 IU of vitamin D per day. Vitamin D should be supplemented for infants from the first days after birth to create the first foundation for the child’s future development.

In exclusively breastfed children, parents should pay attention to supplementing this vitamin at least until the child can walk. At the same time, parents should follow a complete and reasonable nutritional regimen. When your baby starts eating solid foods, make sure he or she gets enough vitamin D from food or supplements.

Factors that increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency in children include pregnant women not supplementing enough vitamin D; The baby is cared for in a closed, dark space without sunlight; children with dark skin color. Children only drink breast milk, especially when breast milk does not have enough vitamin D to meet the body’s nutritional needs; People with underlying diseases such as cystic fibrosis, enteritis, obesity, malabsorption… are also at risk of deficiency of this nutrient.

Newborns with vitamin D deficiency often have symptoms such as frequently waking up at night; sweating a lot even when it’s not hot; stunted growth, slow growth; susceptible to digestive and respiratory infections; pain, discomfort all over the body, frequent crying.

Dr. Cam Ngoc Phuong, Director of the Neonatal Center, Tam Anh General Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, examines newborns. Illustration: Tue Diem

Depending on each stage of development and the body’s nutritional needs, each infant’s need for this vitamin is different. If there is too much vitamin D, children are always tired, exhausted, and less active and less likely to play.

When the body has too much of this vitamin, calcium levels in the blood increase, children often vomit, spit up milk, and even stop feeding. In the long term, the baby faces many dangerous consequences such as vascular calcification, kidney stones or cardiovascular disease. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation needs to be done properly and in the right dosage. You can take your child to the hospital for a doctor to examine and give detailed instructions.

By Editor

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