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Does a BF baby need vitamin drops?

(17 Posts)
KiwiPanda Fri 21-Aug-09 18:03:28

I took my DD for her 8 month check up today. She was exclusively BF for 6 months and we've been doing baby-led weaning since then, she eats lots. But HV told me that I should be giving her vitamin drops.

Possibly because I mentioned that we are vegetarian? Or do they just tell everyone this?

Perhaps I'm wrong but I thought if she's BF and having a nice balanced healthy diet she shouldn't need vitamin drops?

moondog Fri 21-Aug-09 18:13:11

No.Load of crap.
Most HVs talk through thweir arse.
We established that a loooong time ago on MN.
You are giving her the best.

theyoungvisiter Fri 21-Aug-09 18:18:14

actually I think official advice is that babies living in the north MAY need vitamin D supplementation. (I am not a doctor but I believe this is NHS advice)

It depends on your lifestyle and where you live - this may be why your HV mentioned it so perhaps discuss it with your GP.

theyoungvisiter Fri 21-Aug-09 18:18:34

oh, and it depends on your ethnicity too.

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 21-Aug-09 18:18:41

No, you're right, she doesn't need vitamin drops.

JulesJules Fri 21-Aug-09 18:24:24

She doesn't need vitamin drops! I do live in the north, and my excellent HV (there are some) told me my dds did not need them.

It is not as if we are within the Arctic Circle - yes, the days are slightly shorter in the winter than dahn sarf, but in the summer, the days are longer, so we get more sunlight.

KiwiPanda Fri 21-Aug-09 18:40:10

I'm darn sarf anyway! Thanks for replies, I thought it was a bit unnecessary.

theyoungvisiter Fri 21-Aug-09 19:16:27

Kiwipanda - it sounds like you should be fine grin

But I just wanted to make the point that people should be careful about giving out categoric advice on this without knowing the full story.

Vit D supplementation is recommended by some PCTs depending on their area and ethnic makeup. My SIL is a GP in a northern area with a high asian population and they recommend routine vit D supplementation as babies in their area are at high risk of deficiency and rickets is sadly not unknown.

[[ some more information here]] and here

So it's not as simple as just a blanket "no you don't need supplementation" - some people may need extra vits and the OP gave no info on her area or ethnicity so her HV's advice MIGHT have been for a good reason.

theyoungvisiter Fri 21-Aug-09 19:18:36

btw I shoudl have added that I exclusively bf both my babies to 6 months and did BLW and never gave vit drops, so I am not a particular advocate for them.

Just making the point that you need to be cautious giving out categoric advice to people without knowing their situation.

theyoungvisiter Fri 21-Aug-09 19:20:50

oops, sorry Times link went wrong. Here it is again

It's not a very technical overview but it explains the NHS policy and what the main risk factors are. There's also info on Kellymom.

EverybodyNeedsABosomForAPillow Sun 23-Aug-09 23:37:23

I also got advised to give dd vitamin drops (EBF and BLW like you), by the hv that did the 8 month check (although she was 9 months). I got them and tried one dose but dd was having none of it... I ended up squirting the syringe full onto her lip as I just couldn't get it on the back of her tongue as the instructions said. (I thought it might taste nice and then she'd be more likely to let me give it next time.) Anyway she pulled such a face and when I tried it myself I realised it tasted disgusting so it would be very hard to get her to take it again.
Anyway, next time I saw a different hv and explained and that hv said that it was only really as an extra guarantee that she was getting the vitamins and if I knew she was getting a balanced diet not to worry.

Grendle Mon 24-Aug-09 08:17:59

It is recommended nationally that all children aged 6 months to 5 years should take vitamin drops. It's not quite as straightforward as saying breastfed babies/toddlers don't need them, it also depends on the rest of their diet and in relation to vitamin D other factors too. I am not saying that they are essential for all children, but it is worth considering the issue in relation to your personal situation. As a population-wide recommendation it does make sense, as there is good evidence that a sizeable proportion of children in the agegroup covered by the recommendation are not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals.

One study showed that alomst half the children aged 1.5-4.5 years had intakes of vit A below the optimum level, and 38% for vit C. 20% of children in that agegroup had low iron stores.

Gregory JR, Collins DL, Davies PSW, Hughes JM, Clarke PC. 1995. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Children Aged 11/2 to 41/2 Years. Volume 1: Report of the Diet and Nutrition Survey. London: HMSO.

When thinking about a baby under 12 months it's also worth being aware that other factors influence may influence baby's status. For example, iron status may linked to early cord clamping (which prevents all the baby's cord blood being transferred into the baby), vitamin D status in the baby is linked to how much vitamin D the mother had when pregnant, although during breastfeeding it is the baby's own exposure to sunlight that is more important.

This is a recent thread on vit D, with some handy links.

Personally, I choose not to supplement my dcs, as I am happy with the range of food they consume (which is not necessarily the same as what I offer!) and their exposure to sunlight. Best to make an informed decision though, and not simply to dismiss public health advice as rubbish.

diddl Mon 24-Aug-09 08:48:38

I think I would ask the HV why she suggested it.

Rhian82 Mon 24-Aug-09 23:16:34

As I understand it, drops are recommended for all children 6 months - 5 years. Formula milk is fortified, so bottle-fed babies don't need them in addition, but will need them when they move from formula to cow's milk.

Baby's bodies don't need them, any more than pregnant women need to take vitamins or iron. That doesn't mean it isn't sometimes a good idea.

lowrib Tue 25-Aug-09 00:10:54

Sorry for the hijack but can I just ask - what 8 month check? (As mentioned by EverybodyNeedsABosomForAP...)

Is this standard? I haven't taken DS to baby clinic / the Drs since his last vaccination (4mo I think) and I didn't think they needed to see him again till the next injections at a year.

I've also hard other people saying the HVs spoke to them about weaning.

Are we missing something?

EverybodyNeedsABosomForAPillow Tue 25-Aug-09 19:14:53

In the red book it says there will be an "8-12 month review". My clinic rang me to make the appointment when dd was around 9 months old. Some friends have had their babies' checks added on to the end of a weigh in and some have had the hv round their house for it - so everywhere does it differently. If you haven't heard anything about it, maybe go to clinic and ask - or they might just do it around a year when you go for the next jabs.
RE: weaning I think some people go to clinic for a weigh in and chat with the hv every other week or so - and talk about how weaning is going or anything that's going on. I hadn't chatted to a hv since the early days but she did ask me how weaning was going at the review.

lowrib Tue 25-Aug-09 23:39:02

Thanks EverybodyNeedsABosomForAP... I'll wait for them to contact me, and I'll ask next time I'm at the Drs anyway.

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