But breast milk has only small amounts of vitamin D (4 to 40 IU per litre), which may not be enough to meet your baby’s needs. That’s why if you intend to breast feed your baby exclusively, who are breastfed a daily supplement of vitamin D from birth is required until they can get enough from their diet.
To avoid developing a vitamin D deficiency, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfed and partially breastfed infants be supplemented with 400 IU per day of vitamin D beginning in the first few days of life.
Vitamin D drops are vitamins that help supplement or give added vitamin D to your child. Breast milk is usually deficient in vitamin D or doesn’t have enough vitamin D in it.
So, even if you are taking vitamins containing vitamin D, supplementing with vitamin D drops in your infants that is only breastfed is highly recommended.
If you don’t:
- Your baby is at a higher risk of not having enough vitamin d to build strong bones.
- Vitamin D helps the immune system fight virus; so, you are possibly putting your infant at risk for having more illnesses
- Severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, or soft bones, seizures due to low calcium or heart failure in infants. While you as an adult may get some vitamin D from sunlight, direct sun exposure isn’t recommended for your baby
When should you start giving the drops?
- If you are planning on breastfeeding your child, the supplementation should be started within the first couple of weeks
- You should continue to give the drops within the first year, and continuing depends on the kind of food that your baby is on after the 6months mark.
- If you think that your baby is eating a good variety of food that contains enough vitamin D in it, then it might not necessary to continue with the supplementation.
What of formula fed infants:
- Infant formula is supplemented with vitamin D (and many other vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 oil), so there is no need to give it separately.
- That’s one advantage of formula over breast milk.