Do babies need vitamin D supplements? Do both breastfed babies and formula-fed babies need vitamin D supplements? Breaking down all things about infants and vitamin D supplementation.
Phew, so you might be aware that I’m just about two weeks from delivery! Yahoo! But that means I’m winding down on prenatals soon (check out this blog post for everything you need to know about prenatal supplements!) and starting to think about what’s next: breastfeeding. As I get closer to delivery I’ve seen buzz about vitamin D supplements for babies. So today I’m talking all about infant vitamin D supplementation.
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Vitamin D Supplements and Babies
Who are vitamin D supplements recommended for? Baby? Or mom?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 400 IU/d of vitamin D for infants. That recommendation, released in 2008, is doubled from what the previous vitamin D recommendations were for infants.
When should you start vitamin D supplements for babies?
Vitamin D supplementation for infants should start within the first few days of life.
What’s recommended for breastfed or partially breastfed infants?
Exclusively breastfed and partially breastfed infants require the full 400 IU/d supplementation of vitamin D.
What about formula-fed babies? Do formula-fed babies need vitamin D supplements?
All infant formulas in the United States and Canada are required to be fortified 40-100 IU vitamin D/L. If your infant is drinking less than 32 oz of infant formula daily, you should supplement with 400 IU/d of vitamin D (3,4,5). If your infant is drinking 32 oz per day or more of infant formula, you do not need to supplement with additional vitamin D (3,4,5).
Infants and Sun Exposure
Can’t babies get enough vitamin D from a little bit of sun exposure? Well, not exactly. The AAP recommends infants less than 6 months of age be kept out of the sun, and those 6 months or older wear protective clothing and sunblock (2).
Is there a vitamin D supplement for infants that’s recommended?
I really like to do my homework on supplements, because supplements are not required to be tested prior to going to market. That means, they aren’t required to be tested for safety, that they contain what they say they contain, or for efficacy. I use ConsumerLab.com (not an affiliate link) as a resource because they provide objective, third-party testing for supplements. Another reliable third-party testing resource is looking for USP verified supplements, however there are no liquid vitamin D supplements that have been USP verified.
Based upon ConsumerLab results, I feel most comfortable recommending Baby Ddrops Vitamin D3 (Amazon affiliate link, and this is the supplement I’ll be getting for my baby). Baby Ddrops Vitamin D3 contains exactly the recommended amount of vitamin D recommended for infants per one drop. The drops are tasteless and can be dropped directly onto the breast or bottle nipple.
Wrap-Up on Vitamin D Supplements and Babies
Exclusively breastfed and partially breastfed babies do require vitamin D supplementation beginning at the first few days of life up until they are able to transition to 1 L per day of whole fat dairy milk (4). Formula-fed infants require supplementation of 400 IU/d of vitamin D until they are drinking 32 oz per day or more of formula. Cow’s milk, though a rich source of vitamin D, should not be introduced until 12 months of age (6). For supplementation questions specific to your child’s care, check with your pediatrician.
What questions do you have on vitamin D supplementation and infants?
Do you supplement your infant’s diet with vitamin D?