The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that nursing babies receive 400 IU of vitamin D per day as supplementation to the milk they’re receiving from their mother.
Vitamin D supplementation is not something I was prepared for upon my first pediatric visit. Isn’t my milk designed to provide my son with exactly what he needs? Haven’t people been feeding their babies milk for thousands of years without additional vitamins? Well, yes and no. Mother’s milk is perfect for babies! It provides the calories, fat and nutrients to help babies grow big and strong. However, humans primarily get their vitamin D from sun exposure and most of us (wisely) shield our little ones from the sun with a variety of color-coordinated accessories (sun-shirt!). In some parts of the world, there is very little sunlight.
As I write this, 4 inches of fresh snow blanket the ground in northern NJ, and I haven’t taken my 6 month old on a long walk outside in his carrier or stroller in weeks. The temperature has been freezing, the snow accumulating, and the sidewalks non-existent (or, icy and dangerous). It’s just not going to happen until the conditions improve.
Enter Vitamin D. My doctor recommended it to me on my first visit and I immediately questioned if this was the right guy for me. Upon further research, I learned this was pretty standard advice. Vitamin D helps the body better absorb calcium – among many other benefits. Babies who don’t receive enough Vitamin D could end up with Rickets. After leaving the pediatricians office, my husband and I stopped at CVS on the way home and picked up the first (expensive!) bottle the pharmacist selected. As I normally do, I read the back. This particular bottle was full of sugar, caramel coloring and a bunch of other things I can’t remember… oh, and some Vitamin D.
It was quickly apparent this was not something I’d be purchasing again. I spend a lot of time and money ensuring my family has limited exposure to artificial coloring, flavor and things I can’t identify. You know my philosophy by now: the closer to its natural state, the better. How could I feed my brand new baby something so un-pure? For heavens sake, I brought my own soap and lotion to the hospital for his first bath! Luckily, I found something that can keep his Vitamin D levels at an appropriate level, his crazy mama happy and his pediatrician satisfied: Carlson Laboratories Super Daily D3 for Baby. One bottle will last you a year (365 drops, at 1 drop per day) and there is nothing questionable in it. The ingredients are Vitamin D, Vitamin E and coconut oil. Score!
My suggestion is to put a drop on your nipple immediately before nursing. You won’t have to worry about dripping to much into your babes mouth. I mistakenly dropped way too much into Baby K one time (admission: poured a few teaspoons in) and called the doctor in a panic. Save yourself the stress. If you over-pour you won’t OD your baby; you’ll just need a napkin.
Also, a little sunlight is good for babies! Get outside (if the weather outside is tolerable)! Fresh air and sunlight also helps prevent and heal diaper rash by keeping the little tush dry. Throw down an old towel under a sunny window in your living room and little your little lady roll around in the buff. Have fun!
Please note: Formula-fed babies likely do not need to supplement with additional vitamins; however, read the label of your formula and check with your pediatrician if you have concerns.
This is not a sponsored post and I am not reimbursed by any way. I just want to encourage and support other breastfeeding moms – you are providing your little one with the optimal nutrition he or she needs. The Vitamin D supplementation is a little scary, but totally normal, and there are brands that carry Vitamin D drops without all those nasty colors, flavors and preservatives.
LIVE FREE readers, what other brands do you recommend? Share in the comments below!