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Babies & Vitamin D

This week has been very hot. I am not complaining. Edinburgh is a beautiful city all around the year, but when the sun is shining it just has an extra special glare. Since the sun does not come out that often it is important to make the effort of going out and enjoying the weather while it lasts.

Soaking in the sunshine is beneficial in many ways. I tend to feel more energetic after spending some time in the sunlight. When the sun shines on our skin it also charges our bodies with vitamin D. This is very important for us and for our babies. Let’s take a minute to talk about babies & vitamin D.

sunshine and vitamin d lady

The Importance Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is very important as it affects calcium absorption, making it vital for bone growth. This vitamin can be found naturally in some foods like oily fish, eggs and cheese. It is difficult to get the recommended dose of vitamin D from food only.

The NHS advises that breastfed babies should be given a daily vitamin D supplement from birth. Babies who are having more than 500ml of infant formula do not need to be given vitamin supplements because formula already contains these nutrients. For more information on what kind of supplement to give your baby you must speak to your Midwife/Health Visitor/Doctor. Feeding your baby correctly is also an important skill, read more on my tips on breastfeeding babies.

sunshine baby in water

Sunshine Is Best

The best source of vitamin D is direct sunshine but we must be careful with our wee one’s skin. In the UK we get most of our vitamin D from the sun during the months from May to October. Young babies must not be exposed directly to the sun as their skin is too sensitive. It is important to have babies in shaded areas and dressed in light cotton clothing to avoid overheating. Babies that are 6 months and older can be in the sun for short periods providing they have sunscreen.

babies and vitamin d heart lotion

Sunscreen For Babies And Toddlers

The sun is at it’s maximum peak during the hours from 11am until 3 pm. During this time it is best to keep babies and toddlers out of direct sunshine. During the remaining hours our wee ones can be in the sun if you are using sunscreen.

When buying sunscreen, you must ensure it has at least factor 15 protection. It is also important to make sure it protects from both UVA & UVB.

It is recommended that you apply your sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you expose yourself to the sun. Remember to re-apply repeatedly if you are going to be in the sunshine for long periods of time. The back of your neck, nose and ears are the areas that tend to burn first so don’t neglect them!  

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