Whether you’re a new parent or have a large family, you want your infant to be as safe, happy, and healthy as possible. That means ensuring your baby receives the proper amount of vitamins and minerals for the healthy development of the bones, muscles, and brain. Even if your baby takes a baby multivitamin, it is important that you know the risks of vitamin D deficiency, how to identify it, and how to treat it.
One of the biggest risks when an infant does not receive enough nutritional support, like baby vitamin D drops, is that the baby will develop rickets. Rickets causes bones to become deformed, weak, and thin. There are other risks as well, though. Infants that don’t receive enough vitamin D may also have a calcium deficiency. Furthermore, low vitamin D may lead to other health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, bowel cancer, immunity problems, stroke, or autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants
There are several symptoms to look for if you’re concerned that your infant may have a vitamin D deficiency. Most commonly, you’ll notice a slow growth rate because the bones and muscles are not developing the way they should. Your baby may also seem very tired or cranky if there is a vitamin D deficiency. Finally, a lack of vitamin D may cause tetany. This condition means there isn’t enough calcium in your baby’s bloodstream. Symptoms of tetany include having a hard time breathing, muscle weakness, and seizures.
Some babies are more at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency than others. Babies who have very dark skin, those who don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, and premature babies are more likely to suffer from a deficiency. Additionally, breastfed babies and those who have certain diseases or conditions, including cystic fibrosis and celiac disease, are more likely to be vitamin deficient.
How to Help Treat Vitamin D Deficiency
Typically, treatment for a vitamin D deficiency in an infant includes daily vitamins such as organic vitamin D drops. Diet and activity changes can also be helpful. Your pediatrician may instruct you to provide your baby with more foods that contain vitamin D, such as cooked salmon, canned tuna, egg yolks, or spinach. Spending time outdoors with your baby can also ease the risks of vitamin D deficiency. Just remember to protect your infant with sunscreen and limit their time outside midday, which is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t need to be a scary experience as long as you know the symptoms and get treatment as soon as possible. If you notice that your baby is showing signs of being vitamin deficient, it is important to talk to your pediatrician. He or she can point you in the right direction for treatment, whether that is a diet change, adding vitamin supplements, or spending more time in the sun. Together, you can create a plan that keeps your baby healthy and happy.
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