Vitamin D Supplementation When Breastfeeding

Pregnancy 2023-03-06

Mother breastfeeding her baby.

After doing your research and seeing all the wondrous benefits breast milk offers your baby, you decide you will exclusively breastfeed. Way to go, mama! But now your doctor recommends you requite your victual supplemental vitamin D when breastfeeding. You’re thinking, “Why? I thought breast milk was all my victual needed.”

Don’t worry; breast milk is still the recommended and optimal source of nutrition for your baby. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding babies receive supplemental vitamin D considering while breast milk is packed full of wondrous nutrients, it lacks vitamin D, making supplementation crucial to prevent infant deficiency.

Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a hair-trigger nutrient for your and your baby’s health. It helps your soul properly swizzle calcium and helps regulate the body’s wastefulness of how much calcium and phosphorus your wreck store.1,2 To put it simply, vitamin D is essential for unorthodoxy health. Without vitamin D, your soul cannot swizzle and use the calcium you get from your diet. Vitamin D is important to your child’s immune system and offers lifelong health benefits.3

Unfortunately, studies show that many Americans are vitamin D deficient. Well-nigh 42% of Americans, with an unscientific 15% of those children month 1-11.2

Vitamin D levels are measured through a thoroughbred test that looks at a form of vitamin D tabbed 25-hydroxy vitamin D. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), levels of 50 nmol/L meet the required vitamin D needs to support unorthodoxy and overall health. Thoroughbred levels unelevated 30 nmol/L are rationalization for concern, and when wreck are at risk for weakening. In contrast, vitamin D levels of 125 nmol/L are considered too upper and can rationalization health problems. Extremely upper vitamin D levels (375nmol/L) can rationalization vomiting, confusion, dehydration, kidney failure, and heart problems. It is important to note that upper levels are scrutinizingly unchangingly a result of an increase in dietary supplemental vitamin D.1

Why is My Breastfed Victual at Risk?

Breastfed babies run a higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. They have two main factors stacked versus them from the start. First, the value of vitamin D in breast milk directly reflects the mother’s intake. Without purposeful supplementation, it is uncommon for a mother to meet the baby’s vitamin D needs. The NIH reports breast milk usually only provides less than 0.6 to 2.0 mcg/L of vitamin D.4

Second, our soul needs sunlight to make vitamin D.1 The AAP advises limiting babies’ sunlight exposure to stave sunburns. They do not get light exposure like older children and adults to help increase vitamin D levels through sunlight.5 Even with some sun exposure, it is too difficult to measure if the value they receive is adequate.6

Even for older children and adults, it is not worldwide to be exposed to unbearable uncontrived sunlight to meet vitamin D recommended levels. Many factors limit our persons from obtaining optimal amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure. Some of these include the prevalence of using sunscreen, which blocks sun rays, living in areas where clouds or air quality limit the value of sun exposure, and having a darker skin tone, which requires larger quantities of sun exposure to make vitamin D.1

How Much Vitamin D Should I Requite My Baby

The AAP recommends supplementing with vitamin D when breastfeeding, so infants receive 400 IU per day from the first few days of life and throughout their breastfeeding period. That dose is moreover recommended for partially breastfed babies and infants receiving less than 28 ounces of “commercial infant formula” daily.7

The AAP’s guidance states that maternal supplementation can be considered an volitional to infant supplementation of vitamin D. A breastfeeding mother can supplement with 6,400 IU of vitamin D per day to help their victual meet vitamin D needs through breast milk.7 Some women might prefer this method to meet the baby’s needs and their own.6

When it comes to giving supplements and determining if you should requite vitamin D directly to your infant or start supplementing yourself, you should unchangingly consult your healthcare team for correct dosing and guidance.

Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency on Infants

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to some serious problems. For infants, a major snooping is the minutiae of rickets, a painful disease where a child’s wreck wilt very weak and soft.1 With rickets, it is worldwide to see a deformity that causes “bowing” of the legs of children who are walking and the widening of the wreck in the zone whilom the wrist for those children who are crawling. If calcium levels wilt low enough, the risk of developing seizures moreover rises.2

When to Stop Vitamin D Supplements

Supplementing with vitamin D when breastfeeding can stop when your baby weans from breastfeeding and starts to drink whole milk, usually virtually 12 months. It is important to ensure your little one’s nutrition includes good sources of vitamin D. Some examples include eggs, whole milk, yogurt, salmon, and some fortified cereals. Make sure to speak with your healthcare team well-nigh stopping vitamin D and guidance on ensuring your victual maintains recommended levels.8

While giving vitamin D as a supplement might have thrown you a lines ball, research has shown how important it is for your little one’s health and yours. But giving your little one a supplement is unchangingly a big decision. Make sure to speak with your healthcare team, which can help wordplay all your questions and for guidance on vitamin D supplementation for both you and your baby.

7. Meek JY, Noble L. Technical Report: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics. 2022;000(0):e2022057989