Growing children, especially those who don’t eat a varied diet, sometimes don’t get enough vitamin A and C. It’s also difficult to get enough vitamin D through food alone. This is why the NHS recommends that all children aged six months to five years be given daily supplements of vitamins A, C and D.
The NHS further recommends that breastfed babies be given a daily vitamin D supplement, regardless of whether the mother is taking a vitamin D supplement. This is because breast milk doesn’t contain sufficient vitamin D.
However, babies who are being fed more than a pint of infant formula a day shouldn’t be given vitamin supplements because formula is already fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients.
The advantages of CLO over vitamin D drops
Cod liver oil has an advantage over vitamin D drops for babies and children because, in addition to vitamin D, it also contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which promotes brain and eye health, among other benefits.
Another bonus of cod liver oil is that it also contains vitamin A. As well as helping to maintain normal vision, this vitamin contributes to the maintenance of normal skin.
How much cod liver oil for baby?
In Norway, where Möller’s cod liver oil is produced (and has been given to babies and children for thousands of years), doctors advise parents to give their babies ½ a standardised 5 ml teaspoon a day, from four weeks, and to gradually increase this to a full 5 ml standardised teaspoon. This covers the daily requirement for vitamin D, which is 10 micrograms per day. The NHS advises never to use a household teaspoon to administer liquid medication as they vary in size.
Vitamin D is so important for children because they are in a very active phase when it comes to building bones and teeth, which consist of calcium. Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium from food and milk. This vitamin also contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function.
If you get your children used to taking cod liver oil from infancy, you will be laying a good foundation that will ensure an adequate supply of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in later childhood and adulthood.
But do be careful not to give your children too many vitamins. Some over-the-counter supplements contain other vitamins or ingredients so ensure not to give your child two supplements containing the same vitamins at the same time. For example, don’t give them cod liver oil and vitamin D drops, as cod liver oil also contains vitamins A and D. One supplement on its own is enough.