Vitamins for babies are essential for their growth, cell reproduction and the proper functioning of all organs. These nutrients must be provided by the diet because the body, regardless of our age, cannot manufacture most of them.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic substances that have no energy value, but which are necessary for the body and which we cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities for our survival. They must therefore be provided by our food.
If the body is deprived of one of these vitamins, it gradually deteriorates and disorders related to vitamin deficiency appear. The 13 vitamins allow the use of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and minerals. They are involved in the activation of numerous chemical reactions that are essential to the proper functioning of the human body.
Even in minute doses of a few micrograms (μg) for some, all vitamins are found in different foods. But no food contains them all. Hence the need for a varied diet and to take, sometimes, supplements.
They also exist in the form of food supplements that it is sometimes useful to take, only on the advice of a naturopath or a doctor.
There are 13 vitamins, classified into two groups:
fat-soluble vitamins (they need lipids to be absorbed): A, D, E, K;
water-soluble vitamins (they are soluble in water): B1, B2, B3 (or PP), B5, B6, B8, B9, B12, C.
Most important vitamins for baby
All vitamins are important and necessary for the proper development and survival of a baby. A deficiency, from the earliest age, can have permanent and harmful effects on the cerebral and/or motor development of babies.
Almost all vitamins are provided in sufficient quantities in the diet through breastfeeding or formula milk.
It contributes to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes, the maintenance of normal vision and the maintenance of normal skin. It plays a role in cell specialization, essential for maintaining adequate levels of each cell type in the body.
Vitamin A contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and contributes to the normal metabolism of iron
It is recommended 300 μg/day of Vitamin A for babies and 500 μg /day for children between 1 and 3 years of age.
If your baby is breastfed, vitamins D and K are usually prescribed by your baby’s doctor. If your baby is formula-fed, you will also be given vitamin D, as formula milk does not contain enough of this vitamin.
The B vitamins contribute to the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins, promoting the growth of the child.
It is also known as Thiamine. It contributes to a normal energy metabolism, to the proper functioning of the nervous system, to normal psychological and cardiac functions.
This vitamin is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, so daily requirements vary according to energy needs. A daily intake is essential because the body has practically no reserves. This vitamin is very fragile, it is easily destroyed by oxidation and heat.
We recommend 0.2 mg/day of B1 for infants and 0.4 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years old.
It is also called Riboflavin. It contributes to the maintenance of normal red blood cells and protects cells against oxidative stress. It helps reduce fatigue and maintain normal energy and iron metabolism. Without it, it is difficult for the nervous system and vision to function normally. It helps to maintain mucous membranes and normal skin.
Vitamin B2 is resistant to heat, oxidation and acids, but is sensitive to light, especially UV light. It is used in its synthetic form as food coloring (yellow): E101.
We recommend 0.4 mg/day of B2 for babies and 0.8 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years to cover their nutritional needs.
Vitamin B2 deficiency is very rare, as this vitamin is very common in the diet.
This vitamin has several chemical names: niacin, nicotinic acid, nicotinamide and PP. It helps to reduce fatigue and contributes to a normal energy metabolism. It also contributes to normal psychological functions and to the normal functioning of the nervous system. It acts in the maintenance of a normal skin.
The human body is capable of synthesizing vitamin B3 in small quantities, from tryptophan, but only if the intestinal flora is of good quality and the diet contains sufficient vitamins B2, B6 and magnesium.
We recommend 3 mg/day of B3 for infants and 6 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years old.
Or pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid contributes to the normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and certain neurotransmitters, as well as reducing fatigue and having a normal energy metabolism.
Vitamin B5 is very present in almost all foods, but food industrialization makes deficiency possible even though it can be synthesized by the intestinal flora.
We recommend 2 mg/day of B5 for babies and 2.5 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years old.
Vitamin B6 contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, to regulate hormonal activity and to the normal metabolism of homocysteine (an amino acid). It helps reduce fatigue and contributes to a normal energy metabolism. It is involved in the normal functioning of the immune system and the normal formation of red blood cells. It contributes to the normal metabolism of proteins and glycogen.
Vitamin B6 activates about 60 enzymatic reactions.
It is recommended 0.3 mg/day of B6 for infants and 0.6 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years old.
It is also called biotin. Absorbed in the intestine and stored in the liver, it is the vitamin of the skin and hair. It contributes to a normal energy metabolism and to the normal metabolism of macro-nutrients. It is also involved in normal intellectual performance.
Vitamin B8 deficiency is rare, because the body manufactures vitamin B8 (by bacteria in the digestive tract) and because it is very present in the diet.
It is recommended 6 μg/day of Vitamin B8 for babies and 12 μg /day for children between 1 and 3 years.
It is also known as folic acid or folates.
Folic acid supplementation is strongly recommended during the first months of pregnancy because it increases maternal folate status. A folate deficiency in the mother increases the risk of neural tube defects in the developing fetus (spina bifida). Folates contribute to the growth of maternal tissues during pregnancy.
Vitamin B9 contributes to the normal metabolism of homocysteine and to normal psychological functions. Folate helps reduce fatigue and plays a role in the process of cell division. It is involved in normal amino acid synthesis and normal immune system function.
It is recommended 70 μg/day of Vitamin B9 for infants and 100 μg /day for children between 1 and 3 years old. During pregnancy and breastfeeding 400 μg /day is recommended. There are supplements based on natural vitamin B9.
This is a vitamin that is present in supplements that aim to restore energy, but is also given to vegetarians and vegans. It contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, to reduce fatigue, to cell division, to the normal formation of red blood cells, to a normal energy metabolism and to the normal functioning of the immune system.
In the diet, vitamin B12 is only found in animal products. However, there are supplements from bacteria grown on non-animal substrates, such as, for example, B12 FORM.
It is recommended 0.8 μg/day of Vitamin B12 for children between the ages of 1 and 3.
This vitamin owes its other name, ascorbic acid, to the disease that its severe deficiency causes: scurvy. Vitamin C contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, the normal functioning of the immune system, normal energy metabolism and reduces fatigue. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, helps protect cells against oxidative stress, contributes to the regeneration of the reduced form of vitamin E.
If the deficiency of vitamin C is extreme, it leads to a disease, scurvy, which is very rare nowadays. Deficiencies will lead to fatigue, loosening of the teeth, bleeding gums, less resistance to infections and poorer healing.
We recommend 50 mg/day of Vitamin C for babies and 60 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years old to cover their nutritional needs.
It was once called the anti-rachitic vitamin. Today it is also called calciferol.
Vitamin D has two origins:
- vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), produced by plants and
- vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), of animal origin.
The human body can transform vitamin D2 into vitamin D3. We can synthesize vitamin D at the level of the epidermis, under the action of UVB.
Vitamin D is necessary for the development, maintenance and proper mineralization of bones. It contributes to the absorption of calcium and phosphorus at the intestinal level, and their fixation on the bone structure. It is essential for neuronal and muscular functioning and for coagulation. It participates in the proper functioning of the immune system.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the French population, with significant differences depending on the region with more or less sunshine.
For babies, continue reading the article.
It helps protect cells against oxidative stress.
We recommend 4 mg/day of Vitamin E for infants and 6 mg/day for children between 1 and 3 years old.
Vitamin K contributes to normal blood coagulation and the maintenance of normal bones.
It exists in 3 forms :
- vitamin K1 found in plants
- vitamin K2 synthesized by bacteria in the large intestine
- vitamin K3, which is a synthetic vitamin.
It is recommended 15 μg/day of Vitamin K for children between 1 and 3 years of age.
Vitamin D in infants
For babies, vitamin D is strongly recommended in supplementation. The rapid growth of the bones of babies requires the use of a lot of vitamin D because it contributes to their solidity via the mineralization of the bones and teeth, which is essential for the maintenance of a normal bone structure.
It contributes to the maintenance of a normal bone structure and reduces the risk of falling associated with postural instability and muscle weakness.
It is also involved in the proper assimilation of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines. Both have an essential role in preventing the loss of bone density that affects not only older people.
Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and plays a role in the process of cell division and therefore its renewal.
It is present in infant formula, but not in large enough quantities. Later, during diversification, it is found in certain foods, but again, not enough.
It is naturally manufactured by the organism when we are outside, in particular on sunny days since it is synthesized under the influence of UV rays.
But whether it is in winter, because we are less outside and the rays are weaker, or in summer, because we protect our babies from the sun (and rightly so), the need for vitamin D is important via the diet and supplementation.
It is also important to consider that the darker your baby’s skin, the more vitamin D he or she will need to supplement because the sun’s ultraviolet rays are less likely to penetrate the skin, which is protected by melatonin. The same is true for people living in very sunny regions because we are used to protecting our skin with sun creams more than in less sunny regions. Especially for babies who should not be exposed to the sun.
How much vitamin D per day for babies?
Vitamin D is recommended for babies from birth to 18 months of age. It is up to the pediatrician or doctor who follows your baby to recommend the appropriate dose, but in general it will be about 400 IU (or 4mg) per day for healthy children (the latest European recommendations to cover their nutritional needs). These are drops to be added to his diet. They are tasteless and will go unnoticed by your baby.
What foods contain the most vitamin D?
Once diversification is well underway, and without rushing the introduction of new foods, it is possible to integrate foods rich in vitamin D.
Vitamin D is found in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, etc.), egg yolk, mushrooms and whole milk products.
Vitamin K in the baby
Why give vitamin K to the baby?
Deficiency may exist in newborns, as research suggests that vitamin K does not properly cross the placenta and the newborn’s intestine is not yet able to make it. At birth, the baby is at risk of being slightly deficient in vitamin K. This is why vitamin K is given to the newborn from birth, during the first month and then extended during breastfeeding.
How to give vitamin K1 to the baby?
Most of the time, we give a dose to your baby as soon as he is born, to avoid hemorrhages linked to bad coagulation. Then, several doses spread out between the 4th day and the 1st month of your baby’s life will be prescribed by your doctor.
How to give vitamins to a baby?
All the vitamins to be given to your baby exist in the form of a few drops to be given to your baby daily or at specific times in his life.
The dosage depends on the laboratory chosen by your doctor, but the method of administration is not complex.
Beware of excess vitamins for infants
As with any medication or vitamin intake, you must respect the doses recommended by professionals.
Unfortunately, cases of overdose can occur and lead to hypervitaminosis.
Do not neglect your vitamin intake through a varied and balanced diet, and do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about baby vitamins.