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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

International Travelling.... Looking forward to the sun!

Ready to go get that Vitamin D!!

It is so cold here in London that I'm bursting with the thought of long hot sunny days in my up coming trip to Barbados.

I'm hating this long drawn out winter and am ready for a change.  Being Afro-Caribbean, I also need the sun as the levels of Vitamin D I am currently getting aren't enough.  This is something I recently found out as Vitamin D levels in my family have been a topic of discussion in my household since the birth of Alexander whom I was given an elective cesarean at 34 pregnant because he had stopped growing in the womb at least 6 weeks prior and the doctors felt he would have a better chance of survival on the outside.  It was a scary time but I'm sure you will agree looking at him now on 'Cooking with Alexander' you would never had known there were so many complications surrounding his birth.

So many things went through my mind at the time as to where I had gone wrong.  Having previously had 2 healthy, big babies before weighing in at 8.6lbs and 9.3lbs, Alexander weighing a mere 3lbs was more than a shock.  Although at first glance there were no issues, he was just small, over his first year of life complications began to surface, including a Vitamin D deficiency.  From the moment I was allowed to take him out of the incubator I shoved a boob in his mouth, although my boob was actually bigger than his body, my mothers instinct told me that breast milk would be his remedy, and to a point it was.  Our entire length of stay in the hospital was 8 days, he put on weight rapidly and we permitted to go home!  They say that breast milk provides all the nutrients your baby needs, and, mine was tested at the hospital so that the doctors could be sure that Alexander didn't need further supplements.   My milk was more than adequate was the news I received as I sighed with relief, I had felt quite inadequate wondering what I had done for baby number 3 to be brought into this world fighting.  So when I was told that he had a Vitamin D deficiency at 2 months old I was puzzled and concerned.  "What is Vitamin D and how do I get some?"
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones, the two major forms of which are vitamin D2 (or ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol). Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements, is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylation reactions to be activated in the body. Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D found in the body. The term vitamin D also refers to these metabolites and other analogues of these substances.
Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Deficiency can arise from inadequate intake coupled with inadequate sunlight exposure; disorders that limit its absorption; conditions that impair conversion of vitamin D into active metabolites, such as liver or kidney disorders; or, rarely, by a number of hereditary disorders. Vitamin D deficiency results in impaired bone mineralization and leads to bone softening diseases, rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, and possibly contributes to osteoporosis.  
Taken from News Medical 

The doctors suggested beginning treatments of ultra-violet light, as a lack of UK sunshine was a contributor.  At that time I had already planned, and had been planning for two years, my destination wedding to Barbados, we were to leave in 2 months, putting two and two together I mentioned this to the doctors who then said they would hold off on treatment and await our return, then undergo more tests to see if our trip had been enough.  It was and all treatment was averted.

On a recent trip to the baby clinic with boy number 4 the dreaded deficiency issue reared it's head once again.  :o(  Here we go.  This time it's further gone, as being born 9lb 3; another big baby, no extra test had been done so he had arrived at a year old without much worry although I had noticed his legs beginning to bow and mentioned this at his one year review.  Not only does he also have a Vitamin D deficiency but he was in the 92 percentile which had been adding to the strain on his legs as he'd begun to walk causing problems around his ankle area.  2 issues to address.  We are conscious eaters and I don't do junk, but I know my baby loves to eat.  He could get through three bananas, straight after his breakfast of Weetabix, toast and a bottle, if you let him.  We were advised to

  • Reduce his milk intake, which were preparing to do anyway as he had turned one
  • Reduce his portion sizes
  • and they were referring him for treatment
I had another light bulb moment, we had already booked to go on holiday to Barbados for the Easter holidays, my in laws immigrated there and they've never met the baby, why not extend my time to give him a chance at rectifying his deficiency.  It worked the last time.  Again they are holding off until our return.  Fingers crossed hey!

Tomboy -x

Quick after note:
Placing a baby directly in the sun can cause burning.  Use adequate sunblock factor 50 or above to protect baby's skin, sun hats and shade.

Have a look at a couple of sites I use to obtain safe sun play products for my children.

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