Vitamin C probably seems like the easiest vitamin to get right. Drinks like orange and blackcurrant juice were childhood favourites when we were small ourselves. However, with babies and small children the sugary nature of natural fruit juice doesn't make it a sensible drink to offer in the first year, or too often afterwards, so what are the other options?
Why is vitamin C good for babies and children?
The two most commonly known values of vit C are that it is good to ward off colds and minor illnesses because it's great for the immune system, and that it helps your baby's body process iron.
Vitamin C is also good to help mend the body – helping bones and tissue heal after an injury.
It is rare for anyone these days to be so lacking in vitamin C that they get scurvy (even as far back as the 1700s, it was known that citrus fruits were good to counter this condition). However, those lacking in vitamin C can easily get run down, have mouth problems like sore or bleeding gums, and find that they are more prone to common illnesses on a regular basis.
Vitamin C in your baby's diet
Once your baby is being weaned, her earliest foods can include rich sources of vitamin C. Puree a single fruit or vegetable, and you are giving your baby the right vitamin intake. Finely cut and steam the fruit or vegetable before mashing, and you will minimise the loss of nutrients (vitamin C can get lost if you stew food for too long in water, so steaming is preferable).
Try broccoli, papaya or guava. Citrus fruits are great but can be quite strong, so you might need to mix them with a softer tasting fruit, such as pear or apple. Tomatoes are excellent for vitamin C, so try a small amount of pureed tomato with some finely chopped up pasta, once your baby is on to slightly textured solids.
The Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for babies under one year is 25mg of vitamin C a day and over one year is 30mg, though you can go higher than this. Try to avoid too much vitamin C in one go as it may cause tummy aches.