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  • Writer's pictureAlison Cowell

Best for baby?

Vitamin D and thrush cream

I’m currently smitten with my brand-new baby granddaughter who was born 4 weeks early. Jessica Mary Margaret entered the world at a tiny 4lbs 9oz but clearly means to catch up as she has already put on a good amount of weight and loves her milk!

Her mum and I have marvelled over the fascinating body systems that are functioning so perfectly already, including the digestive system. When you think of all the organs involved in this amazing and crucial part of our bodies, it’s incredible to know what’s happening as the body feeds and nourishes all our cells.

Such a precious new human, so far untainted by anything ‘nasty’! No additives or preservatives, no food colourings or toxins in her food and only the most pure and gentle products used on her skin.

I sat with interest when the health visitor called to check on her progress. Everything spot on, all her vitals perfect, feeding well etc. Then Mum was reminded about the free Vitamin D drops that were available. This made my ears prick up. We were informed the drops could be collected from the health centre and supplied free for all children until they reach 5 years old. Amongst other benefits, Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium, magnesium and phosphate in the body, supporting healthy bones, teeth and muscles. We get Vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, mushrooms, eggs and fortified products including breakfast cereals and yoghurt. Our bodies also get vitamin D from direct exposure to sunlight. It’s fair to say that the UK doesn’t get copious amounts of continual sun and, over time, this could leave certain groups of people vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency. However, whilst supplementation is certainly one way to address this issue, I believe it must be monitored. In my clinics, I saw several ‘unwell’ ladies, complaining of nausea, headaches and lethargy (amongst other symptoms). A blood test quickly revealed alarmingly elevated Vitamin D levels in all of them. Every single one of them were receiving Vitamin D supplements prescribed by their doctors and simply collecting repeat prescriptions without being checked. They had not connected their new symptoms with ongoing Vitamin D intake (and why would they?) and were being given medications to manage them (sigh… we go again!)

I asked the health visitor if the children’s vitamin D was monitored, asking what might happen if an over-zealous mother might think it OK to give her child more than required, especially as the drops were free. “The body would simply excrete any excess” came the reply. Hmmmm, no it doesn’t!

Too much Vitamin D can cause a variety of health issues including those I mentioned above and, worse, kidney problems and calcium in the blood.

If you’re a Mum, trying to do her best for her child and you’ve been advised to fill them with Vitamin D drops, would you know that their frequent tummy aches could be a side effect? My advice would be to ensure your child has a good diet and plays outside in the summer and consider topping up with a supplement during the darker, winter months. If you’re at all concerned, or even looking for reassurance that all is well, Vitamin D levels can be checked by a simple blood test.

Next, the topic of nappy rash came up. Jessica had developed a couple of sore spots on her little bottom and they were looking rather angry. Mum had already started to introduce some ‘nappy off’ time to let air circulate, and ensure the area was thoroughly dry before putting nappies on, and the rash was improving. However, she mentioned it to the health visitor when asked if she had any questions or concerns. The health visitor decided to prescribe a thrush cream “which should help”.

What?! Common side effects of the cream in question include: change in taste, diarrhoea, dry mouth, headache, itching skin, loss of taste and nausea! Good grief! It worries me that antifungal creams are used for nappy rash. They work by damaging the wall of the fungus responsible for yeast infections and changing the PH balance. Research has been inconclusive (yet) as to whether the healthy bacteria present in the vagina is also compromised by use of such creams.

I seem to have had a bit of a rant here! But I honestly wish we would wake up to the potential harm that we might be doing. It’s bad enough when we unwittingly take damaging medications or supplements as adults, but our babies and our children have no say in the matter. Please, before you give your little one anything ‘extra’, do consider if it’s warranted. If it’s a product, cream, lotion, supplement or medicine, get to know any possible side effects so that you can discontinue if necessary. Meanwhile, remember our bodies are very clever at fixing themselves 😊

If you have any concerns or questions after reading this article, you can contact me directly at or have a chat with your health professional.

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