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Don’t give two supplements at the same time. For example, don’t add cod liver oil as well as vitamin drops – one on it’s own is strong enough. Too much of some vitamins is as harmful as not enough.

Sources of vitamin A

  • Dairy products
  • Fortified fat spreads
  • Liver
  • Carrots and dark green vegetables (e.g. spinach, cabbage, broccoli)

Sources of vitamin C

  • Oranges and orange juice (not suitable for babies under six months old)
  • Kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, mangoes, nectarines, apples
  • Broccoli, peppers, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes

Sources of vitamin D

  • Summer sunshine

  • Fortified fat spreads
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Salmon, sardines, taramosolata, herring
  • Meat

Parents sometimes get confused about whether or not to give vitamin drops. Your health visitor should be able to advise you. Generally, however, if you are still breastfeeding after your baby is six months old, he or she should have baby vitamin drops containing vitamina A, C and D. If your baby is bottle fed, extra vitamins are already added during manufacture. Provided your baby is drinking 500 ml (1 pt) of formula milk per day, vitamin drops are not needed. If your baby is drinking less than this, then it’s sensible to give vitamin drops. These can normally be obtained cheaply from child health clinics or free if you qualify.

It is sensible to give all babies vitamin drops from the age of one to five years old.

Vitamin D is made naturally in the skin when it is exposed to gentle sunlight. As little as half an hour playing outdoors is sufficient to meet your child’s daily vitamin D requirements. Remember that children burn easily, especially those with fair skin, so don’t expose them to direct sunlight or leave them out too long in the sun in hot weather (see page 111 for advice about safety in the sun). Children who wear concealing clothes that cover them throughout the year when outdoors will particularly benefit from starting vitamin drops at one month until they are five.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.