Healthy, balanced babies are happy babies. It’s that simple. Research shows that the right nutrition can make all the difference between a fussy baby and a happy one – because let’s face it, most parents have enough to deal with on a daily basis without having fussiness to add to their list! But what’s the best way to provide your baby with those essential nutrients? Well, it turns out that your choice of food has a major impact on your child’s development, and we want you to have access to the best foods possible for your little ones
Baby Food With Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for people of all ages. You can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, which is helpful during the warm and sunny months. But people — especially babies — don’t typically spend all that much time in direct sunlight, even in the warmer months. Because they’re often shaded and probably don’t yet take a daily multivitamin, vitamin D rich foods that are safe for babies can be an important component of their diet.
Vitamin D has always been important. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it’s a powerful, fat-soluble vitamin that helps boost calcium absorption, provides immune system support, promotes healthy cell growth, and helps reduce inflammation. Basically, it’s essential. But it has gotten some more attention recently with the American Academy of Pediatrics noting the results of a recent study that found babies might not be getting enough vitamin D from their diet.
or infants, the AAP recommended daily liquid vitamin D supplements, particularly if they are breast-fed. But for babies who are a bit older, there are foods they can be fed that will help boost vitamin D intake. Adding the following baby-safe, vitamin D rich foods can mean healthier babies and healthier kids down the line.
Vitamin D in your child’s diet
Vitamin D helps the body absorb minerals like calcium and builds strong teeth and bones. According to researcher Michael F. Holick, professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, vitamin D deficiency can not only cause rickets (a disease that can lead to bone deformity and fractures), it can also keep a child from reaching her genetically programmed height and peak bone mass.
Vitamin D also functions as a hormone with many other jobs in the body, including regulation of the immune system, insulin production, and cell growth.
How much vitamin D does my child need?
Infants up to 12 months old need 400 international units (IU), or 10 micrograms (mcg), a day. Children older than 1 need 600 IU, or 15 mcg, a day.
Your child doesn’t have to get enough vitamin D every day. Instead, aim to get the recommended amount as an average over the course of a few days or a week.
The best sources of vitamin D
Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because the body can produce it when the skin is exposed to sunlight. But your child’s body isn’t able to make vitamin D when covered with clothing or sunscreen to block the sun’s rays. Other obstacles to vitamin D production from sun exposure include smog, clouds, dark skin, and geographic location.
Though it’s hard to estimate how much time a person needs to spend in the sun to make the recommended amount of vitamin D, some researchers say spending 5 to 30 minutes outside between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week should do it.
But experts warn that UV radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, and it’s hard to judge whether you can get enough vitamin D from the sun without increasing your risk of a potentially deadly skin cancer. So consider finding other ways to get the vitamin D you need.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants, children, and teens take vitamin D supplements of 400 IU each day. Kids who are too young for chewable vitamins can take liquid supplements.
Some of the best food sources of vitamin D:
- 1 ounce salmon: 102 IU
- 6 ounces fortified yogurt: 80 IU
- 1 ounce canned tuna, drained and packed in oil: 66 IU
- 1/2 cup orange juice, fortified with 25 percent of daily value for vitamin D: 50 IU
- 1/2 cup fortified milk (whole, low-fat, or skim): 49 IU
- one slice fortified American cheese: 40 IU
- 1/2 cup fortified, ready-to-eat cereal: 19 IU
- 1 ounce mackerel: 11.6 IU
- 1/2 large egg yolk: 10 IU
- 1/2 teaspoon fortified margarine: 10 IU
- 1/2 ounce Swiss cheese: 6 IU
The amount of vitamin D in a food varies somewhat, depending on the brand of the product.
Kids may eat more or less than the amounts shown, given their age and appetite. Estimate the nutrient content accordingly.