Should You Give Your Breastfed Baby Vitamin D Supplements?

Should you give your infant vitamin supplements? This is a hotly debated topic amongst parents, as many pediatricians will give you different answers. Breastfed babies in particular are often prescribed Poly-vi-sol drops for the vitamin D. However, there are many experts that say this is unnecessary if the nursing mother is consuming a healthy diet.

Breastfed babies do not receive as much vitamin D as babies drinking vitamin-enriched formula do. In fact, there have been cases of babies developing rickets because of their vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin supplements are often given to exclusively breastfed babies to combat this. However, this may be unnecessary for some.

Vitamin D is absorbed two ways: from food/drink and from the sun. As babies generally aren’t kept out in the sun, a deficiency could possibly form if a nursing mother is vitamin deficient. Many experts agree that as long as the mother is eating a balanced meal and the baby gets adequate time outdoors, there is no need for vitamin D supplements.

So, how much sun is enough sun? That all depends on age, skin-type, and climate. Darker skinned infants absorb vitamin D much slower than fairer skinned infants when out in the sun. Be careful of too much sun exposure, as babies do burn quite easily. Just a little stroll around the yard each day should suffice. If you live in a northern climate with a lot of cloud coverage, your pediatrician may insist on vitamin supplements.

Although it isn’t always necessary, many pediatricians will just prescribe the vitamin drops to breastfed babies across the board. You may want to research further if you are uncomfortable with administering additional vitamins. A lactation consultant would be the best person to speak to on the matter. Remember, you want the best for your child and the opinion of one person may not be it.

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