The adage about strong bones and growth is true about Vitamin D. We’re not just talking about drinking milk – but understanding how you can support your infant’s growth through supplementation for both baby and mom.
Does my baby need a Vitamin D supplement?As a parent, you want to ensure your little one gets all the vitamins and nutrients they need to thrive. Vitamin D is one of the biggest and best vitamins your baby needs.
Vitamin D is essential to your baby's needs because it helps their bodies absorb Calcium. In tandem, Calcium and Vitamin D help bone growth and keep them strong and healthy—what a great duo for a healthy baby!
How much Vitamin D do infants need?From birth to early childhood, you should aim for 400 IUs of Vitamin D daily for little ones until they drink about four cups of whole milk daily.
Make sure you stick to daily dosage guidelines. Some common side effects of overdosage include nausea, vomiting, confusion, thirst, aches, loss of appetite, and constipation. While rare, it is something to be mindful of. Most over-the-counter supplements will deliver this dosage by using the dropper that comes with the supplement.
How do I know if my baby is at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and because of that—there are a lot of misconceptions about what does and doesn’t provide enough of it. Let’s look into a few reasons.
- The baby is breastfed. Babies breastfeeding many times need additional Vitamin D supplementation, unlike their formula-fed counterparts.
- The mothers of breastfed babies don’t have enough Vitamin D in their diet or through supplementation. Most mothers need an additional 2000 IU to get the proper dosage for nursing.
- The baby has darker skin. The pigment in persons with darker skin block sunlight absorption.
- The baby is covered from the sun. Babies under 6 months aren’t recommended to get direct sunlight so they are not getting naturally occurring Vitamin D.
- You live in regions with less sunlight.
Do I still need to supplement the baby with Vitamin D if I breastfeed?As a mother who is breastfeeding, you may have a diet rich in Vitamin D. Even so, you still may not provide enough Vitamin D to enrich your breast milk for your baby’s needs. A typical Vitamin D supplement for your little one will be 400 IU/day, year-round.
Your doctor may also prescribe a Vitamin D supplement of up to 2000 IU/day for you to take. With this dose, you should maintain a healthy Vitamin D level for you and your baby.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has a few standard recommendations for breastfeeding mothers. Mothers who are wholly or even partially breastfeeding should supplement their infant with Vitamin D.
While breast milk is rich in nutrients, it only delivers between 4 to 40 IU of Vitamin D per liter. That alone might not be enough for the little one. We’d recommend a daily Vitamin D supplement from birth until the baby gets enough through their regular diet.
Does taking a prenatal vitamin while nursing provide enough Vitamin D for my baby?You should continue to take your prenatal (or postnatal!) vitamin while breastfeeding, but it doesn’t contain enough to meet your baby’s needs. Most prenatal vitamins contain around 600 IUs of Vitamin D, which isn’t enough to cover both mama and baby.
One great tip for pregnant and nursing moms is to ensure you’re getting around 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight each day (while wearing SPF, of course).
Do I still need to supplement my baby if they’re formula-fed?Most formula-fed babies shouldn’t need additional supplementation as formulas are usually Vitamin D-enriched, but be sure to check your label.
Can my baby get enough Vitamin D from the sun?Most doctors don’t recommend too much sun exposure for infants since your little one’s skin and is so delicate. Since AAP doesn’t suggest a baby under six months old get direct sunlight, it’ll be essential to supplement at least during this period.
What should I know about liquid Vitamin D for my infant?First, it’s good to know that baby liquid vitamin D is safe for your infant. Reading instructions and double-checking dropper size will ensure your baby is healthy and you’re giving the recommended dosage.
How do you give liquid Vitamin D drops to your baby?
There are many ways to give your baby the drop, but here are recommendations:
- For infants, administer to the side of their inner cheek.
- Mix the vitamin D drops in with your baby’s formula or even your expressed breastmilk in a bottle. Since Vitamin D drops are so concentrated, you only need a small amount for the proper dosage of 400 IU.
- Some moms put a drop on their nipples directly. It may work for them, but we’d recommend two other options for proper dosage.
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