First things first, I am not a medical professional. Anything but. What I am though is a mother navigating the parental minefield who, a little confused following some recent GP advice, a little reluctant to administer more ‘stuff’, took to my little corner of the internet, to the ‘instamum’ community, to do what I desperately wanted to do: just hear from another mama or two. Like some sort of souped up Google, Instagram has become a real source of information for me and a legitimate place to seek answers (and I’m not just talking the best recipe for breakfast smoothie – though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t looked that up). It means I no longer trawl through the internet or make a reluctant call back to the GP only to be put on hold for 20 minutes before being accidentally hung up on. So when I put out a question about giving kids multivitamins, the response was amazing. Here’s what you had to say:
- First thing first, loads of you said that you don’t give your children any vitamins at all. And guess what, they’re fine…
- They’re also a pain to remember to give – many of us have them but forget to give them
- Many of them smell bad, stain clothes (@wheatleysian gives them in the bath – genius idea!), contain sweeteners / colourings (thank you for pointing that out @nicky_duffell…the colour of Abidec alone freaks me out) not to mention bovine gelatine so won’t work for vegans/veggies/kosher families (thanks @philippa_harris)
- The general consensus is that healthy diet is what counts – @just_entrepeneurs always makes sure the food she gives her kids is fortified, so lots of spinach for example, @missclairebell1 gives orange juice which helps the body absorb iron, @theskygardens and @motherbeastie give green smoothies (and hide probiotic powder in them – genius!)
- That said, some of you give vitamins as a boost to the immune system and for reasons such as when your little one may be unwell (@nicole_pj), when they start nursery (@scottishclare and @janinerenee ‘s mum both suggest this), perhaps just when they’re having an “off day” (@babaganuj – she swears by it) or if they’re re not eating well.
- Vitamin D seems the main important one that breastfed babies and us lot living in the cold UK are lacking – @foxcubinthewoods writes “something crazy like 85% of people in the UK are vit D deficient”
- Indeed, much like @Lbrickmore, I was expecting some good back slapping after telling the GP that I was breastfeeding – instead I was told that because I breastfed Sonny he was actually not getting enough of something. As @bubble_bubble110 says, they push “breast as best” but… well yes, according to the NHS guidelines, vitamin D doesn’t pass through breast milk so breastfed babies may need some extra help
- Unless giving formula milk – which is fortified with Vitamin D – and once you start weaning / giving cows milk, multivitamins are also recommended
- Also just generally spend as much time as possible outdoors. Or as @emmaayncardwell suggests, let’s hang out naked in a sunspot by the window. I’m in. According to @theeggboxparent’s GP, 20 minutes of sunshine equates to a weeks worth of vitamin D!
So what are the options:
- Try BetterYou sprays says @nicky_duffell, there are Boots drops that you can drop straight on to the nipple, Viridian drops, Biocare do a baby vitamin A, D, C & zinc dropper (thanks @healthy_sprouts!)
- Or move to Sweden or to live with @sophiecummings – @littlebearsabroad tells us they get free vitamin D oil from the HV from birth and Sophie gets them free from her UK childrens centre
- Some of you mums also take a multivitamin or probiotics (provean or viridian says @youngorganic), @k.marshall.92 takes codliver oil, biocare do a supplement called AnteNatal Forte, @myproteinwoman do something called “active woman” with vitamin D and other vitamins
In conclusion, as with so many motherhood-related things, there is no conclusion. It’s confusing! And maybe it’s always going to be confusing. Opinion is always changing – as @bubble_bubble110 says, it’ll change again by bedtime. Get official advice here, take a blood test to really be sure what your kid / you lack and most importantly, go with your gut. Finally, good luck to @badasshappylifecoach who is training to get a degree in nutrition and then can hopefully give all of us a definitive answer one day!
P.S How to Turn a Breech Baby Naturally and Let’s Reframe Reflux
Normal window glass blocks UVB wavelengths that you need to be able to make vitamin D, you might want to clarify 😊
Multivitamins are also important in our body. It can fill in the minerals that are lacking in our body. It can help also to prevent from diseases.
My pop is a retired paediatrician – his advice is to give multi vitamins, especially for vitamin D. Many children don’t take them and have no ill effects, as you note in your post. They are normally fit and healthy children so their vitamin levels are never tested. The issues arise if children get seriously ill – then blood tests may show very low levels of some vitamins which may hinder recovery. So I guess giving them is kind of an insurance policy that hopefully they never need.
super interesting… thanks for this liz – really helpful advice too x