Vitamin D drops are a liquid vitamin supplement typically given to infants and toddlers, but they can be used by anyone who does not get enough vitamin D in his or her diet. The drops are manufactured by various companies and sold at convenience stores and pharmacies, and no prescription is necessary. They come in a bottle with a dropper that is used to measure the correct dosage, making it easy to dispense to a child. The drops are often recommended for breastfed infants, but not for those who are formula fed. Vitamin D is crucial for growing strong bones and teeth, so it is essential to get sufficient amounts.
Usually, vitamin D drops can be given to an infant as early as the first few days of life. They can be used on a daily basis until the child is old enough to be able to get enough vitamin D from other sources, such as from eggs and fortified milk. The dropper that comes with the liquid supplement can be used to add the drops to a bottle of breast milk or the drops can be given directly to the infant by putting the dropper in the corner of the mouth.
Breastfed babies generally do not get enough vitamin D from breast milk, even if the mothers are taking a vitamin supplement. On average, 34 ounces (1 liter) of breast milk contains 80 International Units (IU) of vitamin D, and the recommended amount is 400 IU per day. Also, since most infants have limited sun exposure, their bodies do not naturally produce enough vitamin D. When babies are not getting sufficient amounts, a doctor will typically recommend using vitamin D drops.
By contrast, formula-fed babies will usually get the recommended amount of vitamin D each day because formulas are typically fortified with the vitamin. Toddlers drinking soy or cow’s milk that is fortified are generally getting enough vitamin D as long as they are drinking at least 32 ounces (almost 1 liter) a day. Vitamin D drops should not be given to children who are already getting the recommended amount of vitamin D because too much of the vitamin can be toxic.
Vitamin D is used to build strong bones and teeth. It increases the amount of calcium and phosphorus absorbed by the body, and it also regulates the immune system and neuromuscular system. A deficiency of vitamin D results in rickets, soft bones, and skeletal deformities. On the other hand, an overdose can cause kidney and heart problems. Vitamin D drops provide a way to get the correct dosage on a daily basis.