There is an almost endless number of things that you need to remember if you're a new parent, and supplying your baby with vitamin D is definitely on the list.
We have all heard of the different types of vitamins that we need and some of the ways we can go about getting them, but do we know why we need them and if we are getting enough? Vitamin C is the one of the most well known of course and most people know the best source of it is through citrus fruits. But what about vitamins A, B, and D?
Vitamin D deficiency was something that was thought to have been all but eradicated in the Western world. It's known as the "sunshine vitamin" because one of the most direct ways we get it is via sunlight. A lack of it can cause rickets, a softening of the bones which can lead to distortion and bending, so getting in the recommended daily amount of vitamin D is definitely important.
Worryingly, a recent report by The Guardian revealed that newborn babies aren't getting enough. Last year, six-month-old Noah Thahane died of heart failure. It wasn't until after his death that doctors linked the cause of Noah's heart failing to rickets. Dr. Wolfgang Hogler of Birmingham Children's Hospital fears that Noah's case may just be the tip of the iceberg.
There are guidelines in place in the UK for new mothers to be told about the benefits of vitamin D for their babies, but according to Dr. Hogler around 85% of parents aren't aware of those guidelines. In the past, rickets was prevented with as food was fortified with vitamins in the UK. This is why the disease has pretty much disappeared. Dr. Hogler believes that this fortification is the best way to deal with the re-emergence of the issue.
The UK has what is referred to as a "vitamin D winter." Six months of the year the sun tends to be around less often, meaning that cases of rickets in young babies are more likely to happen. Most cases are reported in the spring, as the "vitamin D winter" comes to an end.
According to experts from the University of Birmingham, all babies should be given vitamin D beginning from the moment that they are born to protect them against this devastating illness, especially during the "vitamin D winter".