Baby Health

Why Your Baby Needs Vitamin D Supplement

Breast milk contains practically all the nutrients a baby needs for the first six months of life.

It is the best meal any baby would love to have, little wonder they find it difficult to be weaned off the breast.

However do you know that breast milk lacks sufficient vitamin D that a baby needs to grow?

Vitamin D is an important vitamin that is necessary for an infant’s health and proper development. It is popularly known as ‘the wonder vitamin’ because of its numerous benefits. Vitamin D helps maintain the insulin level, calcium and potassium levels required to build strong teeth and bones. It helps the heart and nervous system.

The presence of this vitamin is essential in the first year of a child’s life. At this stage, children grow rapidly and experience the tremendous bone development of their entire body system. Many babies lack vitamin D as breast milk does not contain sufficient amount, they have little or no exposure to sunlight that is a major supplier and they cannot eat a variety of meals that have it naturally.

A child that is deficient in vitamin D would have rickets, which presents as soft bones in children. Rickets is commonly found in children between 6 and 36 months old. Children are at the highest risk of rickets because they are still growing. Also, Africans tend to be more affected because of the dark skin that does not react to sunlight as the lighter skin would produce less of vitamin D.

Such a child would have stunted growth, bowed legs, bone pains, large forehead, and trouble sleeping. Some of the complications that may arise include muscle spasms, bone fractures, an abnormally curved spine, scoliosis, and intellectual disability.

It is recommended that exclusively breastfed and formula fed babies within the first six months of life get vitamin D nutritional supplement.

Then after the first six months when the child begins to take complementary foods, vegetables, fatty fish, dairy and egg yolks are incorporated into her daily meals. In addition exposure to sunlight in a controlled way for a brief period would help to combat vitamin D deficiency.

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How My Baby Died From Severe Pneumonia

My baby was healthy. She had fever for two days and I was going to bring her to the doctor the next morning, but she started vomiting at midnight so we brought her to the hospital immediately.

When they got to the hospital, the medical staff hooked her baby to an IV, through which they gave her a medication to stop severe vomiting.

The next day, around noon, her baby started throwing up again. The medication didn’t work. She had asked for help, but there was only one nurse on duty as most of the staff had left to attend a party.

“We were calling out for help but no one helped us. I had to carry my child all the way to the emergency room because the doctors were there and we were in a ward,” she said, adding how her baby was struggling to breathe.

The only nurse on duty hooked her baby to a nebuliser, but it was too late. She recalls screaming for help, but they couldn’t save her baby.

Her baby, who she describes was perfectly healthy, had died because her lungs had filled up with phlegm, making it impossible for her to breathe.

Contrary to popular believe pneumonia is not caused by cold weather or getting wet but it is actually an infection. A cold or flu that gets worse can turn into pneumonia. That’s because the cold or flu will irritate the lungs, creating an environment where it’s easier for pneumonia germs to move in and start an infection.

  • The cause of pneumonia can either be fungi, bacterial, or viral.
  • It can be prevented through vaccination, proper nutrition, and through providing the proper environment: avoiding pollution and practicing good hygiene.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life has also been found to help.
  • If the cause of the condition is bacterial in nature, it can be treated with antibiotics. Sadly, only 1/3 of children diagnosed with pneumonia receive the needed antibiotics.

Normally, pneumonia begins as a mild cough or sore throat, much like other respiratory infections.

  • fever (usually above 38.5°C)
  • shivering
  • cough
  • rapid breathing
  • wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest or abdominal pain
  • poor appetite
  • exhaustion
  • vomiting
  • dehydration

However, it’s important for parents to know that there is a type of pneumonia, or what is known as Walking Pneumonia, that is so mild and subtle that those who have it barely show any symptoms. Though not easily detected, it can be treated with antibiotics. 

Pneumonia can affect anyone of any age, if you notice any of these symptoms in your child or even yourself be sure to visit the hospital as soon as possible to get it treated.  

Source: The Asian Parent 

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