A supplement of vitamin D is recommended right from the start, and eventually foods that contain iron and other nutrients the child needs to build up his body.
Breast milk contains almost all the vitamins and minerals an infant needs. But there are a couple of important exceptions: Vitamin D and iron.
The iron content of the breast milk is relatively low, but together with the child’s innate iron supply it is sufficient during the first six months. Premature (premature) children may need a special supplement of iron medicine.
After six months, the child needs to get iron-containing food. Iron deficiency can otherwise lead to anemia – anemia. However, this is unusual in Sweden. Iron is naturally found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs and in smaller quantities in vegetables.
Vitamin D Vitamin
D levels are not high enough in breast milk to meet the baby’s needs. To ensure that all children receive enough vitamin D, the National Food Agency recommends supplementation of vitamin D for the first two years of life.
The vitamin regulates bone formation and skeletal growth. Lack of vitamin D in infants and young children causes the skeleton to become soft and deformed. The disease is called a rocket or English disease, and in the past it was common in Sweden. But the disease has almost disappeared since long children have been given fish liver oil, later vitamin AD drops and now vitamin D drops. In Sweden, children get enough vitamin A through their diet. Therefore, there is no longer any reason to give extra vitamin A in the form of vitamin AD drops.
Vitamin D is found in food fats and fatty fish but also in eggs, meat and milk. Vitamin D is also formed in the skin in daylight or sunlight – unless the skin is covered with clothing. Dark-skinned children have a harder time making vitamin D in their skin due to their skin pigment.
In order for the skeleton to build up and become strong, in addition to vitamin D, calcium is also needed. Breast milk and breast milk substitutes, milk and milk products are calcium rich and meet the needs of the child well.
Vitamin D drops
The National Food Agency recommends vitamin D supplements for all children from the age of one week – the first two years of life – without interruption in the summer.
The supplement (10 micrograms / day) is given as vitamin D drops – five drops – no more, every day in connection with a meal. It is not dangerous to forget a single day.
Some children may need vitamin D supplements up to five years of age, especially during the winter months. This may apply to children who are dark-skinned, who have a unilateral vitamin-D diet or who for various reasons do not come out in the sun and daylight.