Marie, why do we have to give vitamin D supplements to babies, even if I’m breastfeeding? Thanks in advance for your answer, Joanna
Great question Joanna! Here are the details:
Vitamin D supplements are vital for a baby any season when breastfeeding. This prevents deficiencies and the effects they can have on growth. Vitamin D helps the intestine absorb calcium, promotes calcium exchanges for bone formation, and helps the kidneys absorb calcium and phosphorus.
You need 400 UI a day during your first year of life. Even if the baby is exposed to outdoor light (without direct exposure to the sun), there’s insufficient absorption, even in summer. Official recommendations do not recommend vitamin D supplements to babies fed with formula because it’s already added to the milk ingredients. However, some nutritional experts suggest giving bottle-fed babies a supplement due to the massive amounts of milk they need to drink to get the recommended dosage.
You should also continue the supplement up to one year of age. Studies have shown that vitamin D supplements absorb better if taken daily. The dosage could be increased for certain babies, for example, premature babies or babies that are allergic to dairy products or a vegetarian diet. But you have to avoid overdosing due to the toxic effect it can have.
Vitamin D drops are the best option for absorption, as it’s mixed with coconut oil which dilutes it (a liposoluble vitamin that dissolves in fat) which improves absorption. Later in the baby’s life, you can provide them with their dosage in fish (salmon, herring, halibut, tilapia), hard-boiled eggs, enriched orange juice, yogurt or margarine and chewable pills. The presence of vitamin D in the baby/child’s blood will be influenced by their geographic situation (northern Canada), sunscreen and clothing, exposure time, skin pigmentation, age (premature, infant), and pollution.
Joanna, I hope this has answered your question about why it’s essential to give your baby vitamin D.
The Baby Expert