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Updates on Vitamin D, Babies and Breastfeeding

You won’t find many in the medical community now who’ll disagree with “breast being best” for a baby, conceding that breast milk offers the most complete source of nutrition for infants. However, as a growing number of people learn how important vitamin D is to the human body, supporting studies of vitamin D and the critical role it plays in the health of infants are mounting up. Studies show that mother’s breast milk doesn’t always have the amount of vitamin D that a baby needs for healthy growth and development.

The Benefits of Vitamin D for Babies

Referred to at times as being one of the “wonder vitamins”, vitamin D is among the most important vitamins for anyone, regardless of their age. For babies in particular though, vitamin D has several benefits including:

  • Maintaining calcium and potassium levels in their blood so their bones and teeth can grow strong  
  • Maintains healthy insulin levels (studies have revealed that sufficient consumption of vitamin D during early childhood helps prevent type 1 diabetes)
  • Supports the growth and development of a baby’s nervous system and heart
  • Maintains baby’s mineral balance and blood clotting ability Research has also shown adequate vitamin D levels can decrease the risk of infection and even halt the development of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

How To Make Vitamin D Part Of Your Baby’s Life

If your baby’s under a year of age and is being either entirely or just partially nourished via breastfeeding, the ideal way to give them that all important dose of vitamin D is to administer one 400IU (international units) of vitamin D a day. Mums can do this easily by simply putting a drop on one of their nipples before their babies latch on, (one must make sure their baby latches correctly however, and feeds for a minimum of at least 30 seconds). If your baby gets his or her nourishment via vitamin D-fortified infant formula and drinks one liter or more of this formula per day, your baby is probably getting enough. As babies grow, they can obtain vitamin D from a variety of other sources such as :

  • Oily fish
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D fortified foods (whole cows milk for example)
  • Eggs
  • Children’s chewable D-vitamins

Before giving any new supplements to your baby you need to make sure to consult your baby’s doctor for advice and additional guidance.

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Stefania Booker
the authorStefania Booker