Does your breastfed baby need Vitamin D supplements?

October 17, 2019

Does your breastfed baby need Vitamin D supplements?

As a new mom, you probably have a lot on your mind! So many questions and concerns and if you're breastfeeding, the list of questions is even longer.

One concern for many moms, is whether their baby is getting enough vitamin D.  

According to the Centers For Disease Control and the American Academy for Pediatrics, breast milk alone does not provide an adequate amount of vitamin D for an infant.

So, why don’t all pediatricians bring this up to new moms? My pediatrician in Florida never mentioned it. I didn't start asking questions until after I came across a post about vitamin D in a Facebook group.

There are plenty of reasons why your baby needs enough vitamin D.
It's necessary for the healthy formation of the baby's skeletal system.  It is essential in supporting bone development and prevention of the rare, but debilitating disease Rickets. It's also important to the body's muscular system since nerves use vitamin D to carry messages between it and the rest of the body.  

How do you supplement?

The AAP recommends all babies (both breastfed and formula-fed) receive routine vitamin D supplementation of at least 400 IU per day beginning in the first few days of life. Vitamin D supplementation should be continued unless the infant is weaned to at least 1 liter per day (about 1 quart per day) of vitamin D–fortified formula. Any infant who receives <1 liter or 1 quart of formula per day needs an alternative way to get 400 IU/day of vitamin D, such as through vitamin D supplementation.

Can the mother take supplements?

Some doctors say, YES. Dr. Bruce Hollis did a study in 2015 where supplements given to the mother of an exclusively breastfed baby (6400 IU per day) were shown to be a safe alternative to directly supplementing babies with the vitamin. 

Sunlight also provides a natural source of vitamin D, but sunlight is not necessarily a guaranteed way to receive adequate amounts of vitamin D since the process can be hindered by factors that decrease absorption of sunlight in our skin.

Be sure to talk to your pediatrician about what will work best for you and your baby.




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