ALL babies from birth up to one year of age, as well as pregnant women, should take a precautionary daily supplement of vitamin D, according to new guidance issued by the Scottish Government, which has been updated in line with recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.
The guidance recommends that babies start vitamins within the first two weeks of birth — earlier than the 6 months previously recommended.
Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer said: “We get most of the vitamin D we need from sunlight during summer months. However, anyone can experience a vitamin D deficiency. New born babies depend on their mother’s levels during pregnancy meaning it is important that pregnant women, and babies up to a year old, continue to receive a daily supplement.
“This new guidance reflects the latest available evidence and will help ensure the best start for children. It is essential that parents and guardians are properly supported to follow this new advice, which is why additional, specific guidance for them and healthcare professionals has been created to support implementation.”
Babies who are formula fed do not require a vitamin D supplement if they are having at least 500ml/day, as infant formula already has added vitamin D.
Breastfeeding women and children up to age 4 who are eligible for Healthy Start can get free supplements containing vitamin D. Healthy Start vitamins are also available free of charge to all pregnant women in Scotland for the duration of their pregnancy, regardless of their entitlement to the Healthy Start scheme.
Read the revised guidance here.