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Neonatal vitamins and iron for infants <34 weeks gestation (without Abidec)

Patient information A-Z

This information leaflet applies to infants returning home and assumes that Abidec is not available.

Babies who are born at less than 34 weeks' gestation require extra vitamins and minerals over the first year of life. The dose of each supplement your baby needs will depend on the type of milk they are being given when they are at home. This leaflet explains the different doses of each supplement they will need, depending on whether they are having breast milk, formula milk or a combination of both.

Multivitamin drops

While Abidec 0.6ml daily is the preferred supplement, there may be times when this product is not available. During this time we would recommend using the following preparations:

  • If you are exclusively breastfeeding or giving only expressed breastmilk via a bottle, please give your baby 0.6ml Dalivit daily until your baby is 12 months corrected age.


  • If you are giving a combination of breastfeeds / breast milk and formula milk or formula milk only, please give your baby five drops of Healthy Start vitamin drops daily until your baby is six months corrected age.


Sytron: An iron supplement.

  • If you are exclusively breastfeeding or giving only expressed breast milk via a bottle, please give your baby 1ml Sytron once a day from four weeks of age until 12 months corrected age.


  • If you are giving your baby a combination of breastfeeds and formula or term formula only, please give your baby 1ml Sytron once a day from four weeks of age until six months corrected age.

If your baby has not started iron supplements before discharge, they should start this on: . . . . . . . / . . . . . . . / . . . . . . .

If your baby has been receiving exclusive breast milk and then starts to have some formula introduced, the Dalivit or Healthy Start vitamin drops and Sytron will only be required until six months corrected age.

Folic acid (liquid 2.5mg / 5ml)

  • Babies who are exclusively breast fed will need 0.1ml of folic acid until they either reach their due date or a formula feed is introduced, whichever occurs earliest.

Preparation and administration

Trained nursing staff will advise you on how to administer these vitamins and minerals prior to your discharge from the neonatal unit. If you are breastfeeding, your baby can receive these vitamins and minerals via a syringe. If you are bottle feeding you can add them to 10 to 20ml of expressed breast milk or formula milk. They can either all be administered at the same time or split up during the day.

If your baby was on the neonatal unit, you will have had the opportunity to give your baby their vitamin and mineral supplements while they were on the unit as part of their daily routine in the special care baby unit (SCBU).

If your baby is discharged before four weeks of age, you will be provided with a bottle of Sytron at discharge to start on the date indicated in this leaflet.

When your baby is discharged from hospital, you will be provided with an initial supply of Dalivit (if on full breastfeeds), Sytron and folic acid, if required. This should last for about one month. Once you are at home, your GP will continue to provide your ongoing prescription. You will need to contact your GP surgery for a repeat prescription.

If your baby will be starting Healthy Start vitamins when they are discharged from hospital, we encourage you to have bought these drops so that you have some at home before your baby leaves hospital. Healthy Start vitamins can be purchased in most pharmacies. For those families who are in receipt of the Healthy Start vouchers, these can be exchanged for the vitamin drops before leaving the hospital.

For more information or to apply, please visit the NHS Healthy Start website (opens in a new tab).

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151