Vitamin D and Breastfeeding
This may come as a shock to pro-breast-feeders…but alas, human milk does not contain enough Vit D. The 25 IU found in breast milk is not nearly sufficient to supply in a baby’s needs. Should the mother be Vitamin D deficient herself, her child will receive even less. A baby will need to manufacture his own Vitamin D or be supplemented.
Before birth a baby gets Vit D from his mother and stores it in his liver. When this stored-up Vit D becomes depleted a child will have to make his own – by being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is quit common nowadays, which means many babies are already Vitamin D deficient before birth.
Recent years have seen a surge in the disease “Rickets” which is directly linked to Vit D deficiency. Rickets is a softening of the bones that causes the bones to become bow-shaped. The increase in Vit D deficiency is linked to the tendency to avoid the sun altogether. More and more people prefer staying indoors out of fear for over-exposure that could lead to skin cancer. When they do go outside they liberally dab sunblock on themselves and their kids. When the skin has sunblock on it cannot manufacture Vit D.
With Rickets on the increase, many health departments started recommending that exclusively breast-fed babies should be given oral Vit D supplements (syrup.)
Bottle-fed babies do not need to be supplemented as formula milk are fortified with Vitamin D.
This recommendation does not apply to each and every breast-fed child but should be applied with discretion. For more information on which babies are at risk for Vit D deficiency, please click on the following link.