Thursday, 12 March 2020
Vitamin D supplementation for infants in Ireland
Breastfeeding represents optimal infant feeding practice (WHO 2003). Despite the many health benefits to infants and mothers, breastfeeding rates are low in Ireland. While infant formula is formulated to be as close as possible to breast milk, it remains substantially inferior. One of the only advantages of infant formula is that it is fortified to provide a minimum amount of vitamin D per 100 kcal, which compares favourably with the negligible amounts of vitamin D provided in breast milk.
Recently, following advice from EFSA (2014) there has been a change in EU legislation governing the composition of infant formula and this has resulted in a doubling of the minimum amount of vitamin D provided per 100 kcal.
In response to the emergence of nutritional rickets among high-risk children in Ireland at the start of this millennium, the Scientific Committee of the FSAI recommended that all infants, (0 to 12 months of age), regardless of how they are fed, should receive a supplement providing 5 μg of vitamin D only.