Breast milk alone does not provide infants with an adequate amount of vitamin D. Soon after birth, most infants will need an additional source of vitamin D. Table 2 shows that breast milk will not reach the RDI of all vitamins in infants. The most obvious difference between intake and recommended daily intake is vitamin D, although, as already mentioned, infants can synthesize it from exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin K should be administered in the neonatal period. Deficiencies of other vitamins are rare, especially if mothers receive adequate nutrition. If infants need to be supplemented with vitamin D or any other vitamin, all available standard liquid preparations contain large amounts of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins (except vitamin K), which far exceed the recommended daily dose. The content of thiamine, pyridoxine and niacin in milk is highly correlated with maternal intake, and all of these vitamins are present in relatively large quantities in standard multivitamin tablets given to nursing mothers.
In conclusion, healthy infants born to mothers who are well nourished with breast milk have little risk of vitamin deficiencies and the need for vitamin supplements is rare. The exceptions are the need for vitamin K in the immediate neonatal period and vitamin D in infants with dark skin or insufficient exposure to sunlight. You have decided 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. The AAP recommends that all breastfed babies receive at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, starting in the first days of life. Vitamin supplements don't cause harm when given as directed, but a vitamin or mineral deficiency can cause problems.
When spending time outside, infants and young children should stay covered and use sunscreen (although necessarily, this protection from the sun prevents vitamin D production). In addition to the drops, you yourself can ensure that your child gets enough vitamin D. Young children who don't have enough vitamin D may end up with arched legs as they get older, have delays in crawling and walking, and have soft skulls. Around four months of age, full-term babies who are exclusively breastfed may also need an iron supplement because their iron stores are dwindling.
Breast milk contains just about everything your baby needs, but you may need to give him an extra supply of certain essential vitamins and minerals to ensure he grows well. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies receive at least 400 IU of vitamin D supplements a day. With that said, you may be wondering if breast milk contains everything your child needs and whether your breastfed baby should take vitamins or not. If your baby is only partially formula-fed or if you're worried about his appetite, ask your doctor if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.
To prevent vitamin D deficiency and bone problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a supplement for all breastfed babies. This vitamin helps a baby use calcium in breast milk (and infant formula) to help bones grow and develop. However, if your child is being exclusively, or even partially, breastfed, he may not be getting enough vitamin D.