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Do I need to give my breastfed baby vitamin D supplements?

As of February 21st 2011 the HSE is recommending that all babies, including babies that are breastfed be given 5 micrograms of vitamin D3 a day. This is because recent studies have shown that mothers and children in Ireland have very low levels of vitamin D. 
 
A lack of vitamin D in children can lead to weak bones and in severe cases rickets. Babies especially needs vitamin D as their skin is too sensitive to be exposed to direct sunlight (which is where we make vitamin D from). Breastmilk (or formula, for that matter) may not contain enough Vitamin D and during the first year (from 0-12 months) babies are growing very quickly so they need vitamin D to ensure good formation of bones.
 
Always make sure that you read the leaflet before giving vitamin D3 to your baby and ensure that you follow the instructions carefully. If you have any concerns you can speak to a pharmacist or your G.P.

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