Minerals and vitamin supplements are not usually required for the typical healthy, full-term breastfed baby during the first year. Studies have shown that most vitamins, fluoride, iron, water, juice, formula and solid foods are not helpful to healthy breastfed infants during the first 6 months, and some can even be hazardous.
There are certain cases where a vitamin supplement might be required for a breastfed baby during the first year.
Some really premature babies (weighing less than 1500 grams/3.3 pounds) might need additional minerals and vitamins, which can be contributed to their mom’s milk prior to being offered to the baby.
Why Do Babies Need Vitamin D?
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that infants get routine vitamin D supplements (400 IU daily) due to reduced sunlight direct exposure and an increase in rickets.
The children who do need these supplements need them due to an absence of sufficient sunshine. Elements that put your breastfed baby at risk for vitamin D shortage (rickets) are:
Baby has very little exposure to sunshine. For instance: if you reside in a far northern latitude, if you live in an urban area where tall structures and pollution obstruct sunshine, if baby is always entirely covered and kept out of the sun, if baby is constantly within during the day, or if you always apply high-SPF sunscreen.
Both mother and baby have darker skin and thus need more sun direct exposure to generate a sufficient quantity of vitamin D. Again, this is a “inadequate sunlight” issue– the darker your skin coloring, the greater the quantity of sun exposure needed. There is not much info offered on how much more sunshine is required if you have medium or darker toned skin.
Now babies can get all their vitamin D from their mothers’ milk.
Mom lacks vitamin D– there is increasing evidence in the last few years showing that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common in western nations. The quantity of vitamin D in breastmilk relies on mom’s vitamin D status.
If baby gets enough sunshine, mom’s deficiency is not likely to be an issue for baby. Nevertheless, if baby is not producing enough vitamin D from sunshine direct exposure, then breastmilk will need to fulfill a larger portion of baby’s vitamin D needs.
If mother has very little direct exposure to sunshine and is not consuming enough foods or supplements including vitamin D, then she might be vitamin D lacking.
The best method to obtain vitamin D, the manner in which our bodies were created to get the huge bulk of our vitamin D, is from sun direct exposure. Depending upon where you live and how dark your skin is, going outdoors frequently may be all that is required for you or your baby to generate sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
However, one of the problems with getting your vitamin D with sun direct exposure is just that it’s hard to figure out how much time outside is required since it depends on many aspects (skin tone, latitude, season, how much skin is exposed, quantity of air contamination, etc.) Keep in mind that there is also a concern of sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer with excessive sun exposure.
The primary source of vitamin D for babies, other than sunshine, is the shops that were laid down in baby’s body prior to birth. Since mother’s vitamin D status during pregnancy straight impacts baby’s vitamin D shops at birth and especially during the first 2-3 months, it is really handy for pregnant women to make sure they are getting enough vitamin D.
Adding a vitamin D supplement to mama’s diet and/or direct exposure to ultraviolet light will increase the amount of vitamin D in her breastmilk. As long as mama is vitamin D sufficient, her breastmilk will have the “right” quantity of vitamin D.
How Much Vitamin D Does Breastmilk Usually Contain?
Human breastmilk is an extremely poor source of vitamin D, typically including less than 50 IU per quart. This is why the AAP suggests all breastfed infants get 400 IU daily vitamin D by supplement drops.
This is not a defect in breast milk however a problem in the suggested quantity of vitamin D the lactating mama need to be taking. If a mama takes 6400 IU each day, she will provide her nursing infant with a lot of vitamin D thru her milk and will not have to give her baby drops.
Exist problems with using vitamin D drops to supplement baby? There is no issue with the drops per se, only that they are troublesome and mothers usually simply don’t provide. In our hands, just about 15% of mommies abide by these recommendations.
Worse, some mothers are never informed to provide by their pediatrician, which we would consider malpractice offered the problems that can arise by not doing so.
Are All Moms and Babies at Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?
Virtually everybody is at risk for vitamin D shortage with, paradoxically, only formula-fed babies being safe. This is since infant formula contains 400 IU per quart vitamin D.
However, children were “designed” to get only part of their vitamin D from breastmilk and the rest from sun direct exposure– what if baby does not get a minimum quantity of sun?
A 2015 research study concluded that “Maternal vitamin D supplements with 6400 IU/day safely supplies breast milk with sufficient vitamin D to please her nursing baby’s requirement and provides an alternate method to direct infant supplements.”
A 2004 research study identified that supplementing the mother with 2000-4000 IU vitamin D daily securely increased mother’s and baby’s vitamin D status: the 2000 IU/d dosage led to a limited enhancement, and “A maternal intake of 4000 IU/d might achieve considerable progress towards improving both maternal and neonatal nutritional vitamin D status.”
A finnish study revealed that supplementing the mom with 50 µg (2000 IU) vitamin D each day was as reliable for maintaining baby’s vitamin D levels as supplementing the baby with 10 µg (400 IU) per day.
Good luck! Have a nice weekend!