This is a question I get all the time from parents and the answer is yes, all babies need vitamin D. But how they get it will look different for depending on how they are fed.
In the UK the NHS recommends all babies get 400iu of vitamin D per day. If you are formula feeding then this is already fortified with vitamin D so you don't need to give any additionally as long as your baby is having at least 500ml daily. Once you start weaning and start to drop bottles you may need to top up with a supplement.
If you're combi feeding then you will need to work out how much vitamin D your baby gets from formula and then top up with a supplement if you need to.
If you're breastfeeding then you will need to give a supplement of 400iu per day.
What if I'm breastfeeding and I take vitamin D, won't they get it through my breastmilk?
It depends on how much vitamin D you're taking. Most multi's will only have between 400-1000iu and this isn't enough to pass sufficient vitamin D into breastmilk. A randomized controlled trial from the Medical University of South Carolina concluded that Maternal vitamin D supplementation with 6400 IU/day safely supplies breast milk with adequate vitamin D to satisfy her nursing infant’s requirement and offers an alternate strategy to direct infant supplementation.
Why do babies need vitamin D?
Vitamin D is needed to help our bodies move calcium from the blood stream into our teeth and bones which is important for growing babies. It also plays an important role in our immune system with numerous studies showing the link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of respiratory infections. If a child doesn't have enough vitamin D they can develop a condition called rickets which causes softening of bones and causes problems with normal bone development. Once thought to be a disease confined to the history books, cases of rickets are on the rise so it's critical to supplement to prevent it.
If you'd like advice on how much vitamin D you should be giving to your baby or taking yourself or would like to test your levels get in touch via email@example.com and we can advise you.
Harriette Robinson has been working with babies for over 8 years and has a wealth of experience as a Massage Therapist, Infant & Child Massage Instructor, Mindful Breastfeeding Practitioner and Infant Reflux Specialist. She's passionate about helping parents get to the root cause of their baby's digestive discomfort, colic or reflux symptoms. She lives in Yorkshire with her daughter and Jack Russel Terrier.
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