With adequate vitamin D intake, a nursing mother can fully transfer the vitamin D needed to maintain optimal vitamin D nutrition in the infant from her blood to her milk, without the need for additional supplements for the baby. Breast milk alone does not provide babies with an adequate amount of vitamin D. Soon after birth, most babies will need an additional source of vitamin D. You have chosen to breastfeed your baby.
After all, it's the best option for feeding your newborn. But you've also been told to add a vitamin D supplement to your child's diet. Vitamin D supplements, usually in the form of easy-to-swallow drops, play an important role in developing a baby's health. Infant formula is fortified with vitamin D, but if your child is breastfed, you may not be getting enough of this important vitamin.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps our bodies absorb calcium, which is important for bone development. Babies who don't get enough vitamin D may develop a disorder called rickets. Rickets cause soft and weak bones, stunted growth, and sometimes skeletal deformities. To prevent rickets, it is recommended to supplement breastfed babies with vitamin D.
When asked by La Leche League GB if mothers should continue taking supplements once their babies are over six months old, Professor Hollis replied: “The mother should continue to take vitamin D while she is breastfeeding. Compliance with the requirements for supplementing infants with vitamin D is low, and this can also be a problem for maternal supplementation. A medical professional can also help you evaluate whether taking more than 100 micrograms (4000 IU) of vitamin D a day to provide your baby with enough through breast milk may be harmful in your specific circumstances. However, making a general recommendation for the entire nursing mother population may not be appropriate because there are other factors to consider when taking vitamin D supplements, such as the mother's BMI and exposure to vitamin D from food sources and sunlight.
The Department of Health currently recommends that a supplement be given to all babies from birth to one year of age (including breastfed and formula-fed babies who consume less than 500 ml a day of infant formula, already fortified with vitamin D) and to all children aged one to four years, regardless of whether you take it yourself or not. Low compliance with vitamin D supplements for infants has led to studies examining the administration of vitamin D supplements to mothers. The guidelines indicate that, while approximately one in five people has low levels of vitamin D, this is not the same as a vitamin D deficiency, and most people are asked to consider taking supplements. As a result, maternal vitamin D intake in the currently recommended amount does not support an adequate level of vitamin D in the breastfed baby.
Dark-skinned people of African, Afro-Caribbean, and South Asian descent may not get enough vitamin D from sunlight during the summer, and they might also consider taking a supplement year-round. However, changes in the way we live our lives, with less exposure to sunlight and only some of the foods we consume contain vitamin D (such as egg yolk, beef liver, oily fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon, as well as fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals, greases to spread and alternatives to non-dairy milk), can cause mothers to not have enough vitamin D in their bodies to transmit it to their babies through breast milk. While there's no risk of your body producing too much vitamin D from sun exposure (although regular precautions should be taken to cover or protect your skin before it turns red or starts to burn), you could get too much vitamin D through supplements. Breast milk remains the best source of nutrition during the first year, with adequate introduction of complementary foods starting at about six months, which may include foods rich in vitamin D.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms (400 IU) a day is likely to be enough for most people, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly, and children ages 11 to 17. Breast milk is the optimal source of nutrition for infants because it provides complete nutrition of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and most of the vitamins that are essential for growth and development. .