Breastfed Babies Lacking Vitamin D
Guess what? Breast milk is lacking in the nutrient department. Usually, we hear about formula not providing everything a baby needs, but as it turns out, breast milk doesn't provide babies with adequate Vitamin D.
...breast milk — considered the best source of nutrition for babies — is low in vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children, including infants, get 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, an amount that is not possible to get from breast milk alone, experts say. And while people can also get vitamin D from sunlight, the AAP advises that infants younger than six months avoid exposure to direct sunlight due to skin cancer risk. (Source)
Of course, this does not mean that you should formula feed your baby if you planned to breast feed. However, what it does mean is that pediatricians should discuss this with breastfeeding moms so that they can give their babies oral Vitamin D supplements if they deem it necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends
new moms who breastfeed begin giving their babies Vitamin D supplements.
What Does Vitamin D Do?
According to Mayo Clinic,
Vitamin D's main role is to maintain normal amounts of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for bone development. New research finds that Vitamin D might have many other benefits, such as protecting the body from hypertension, osteoporosis, cancer and some autoimmune diseases.
What should you do?
As I posted yesterday, it seems there is always some new study or recommendations urging you to change your habits or care for your children differently. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommended dose of Vitamin D for babies because it saw that children were simply not getting what they needed. Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious problems, such as Rickets. Because it's so easy to prevent a Vitamin D deficiency with supplements, be sure to talk to your pediatrician about it.