While breast milk provides most of the nutrients your newborn needs for healthy development, many babies don't get enough vitamin D. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Academy of Pediatrics, babies who are partially or exclusively breastfed should receive a 400-IU dose of daily vitamin D.
Why Infants Need Vitamin D
Your baby needs more vitamin D than breast milk alone provides to build healthy bones. Vitamin D allows the bones to absorb calcium, building their structure and making them strong.
Newborns and infants who drink at least 32 ounces of formula a day receive enough fortified vitamin D. All formula products sold in the United States must contain the recommended daily dose of at least 400 IU. If your baby drinks formula and breastmilk or breast milk only, the CDC recommends a vitamin D supplement.
While sun exposure delivers some vitamin D, your newborn's skin should be shielded, preventing total nutrient absorption. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns younger than six months should not be directly exposed to the sun without protective clothing and a hat.
Risks of Low Vitamin D Levels in your Child
Research published by the journal American Family Physician found that between 12 to 24% of children and teens in the U.S. don't get enough of the so-called sunshine vitamin. In some cases, a lack of vitamin D can result in rickets. This nutritional deficiency causes weakened brittle bones, development problems, spinal curvature, muscle weakness, bowed legs, and frequent fractures. According to the AFP study, children who don't get enough vitamin D also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disease.
Following the AAP's supplementation recommendations can prevent these issues as your child grows. Fatigue, muscle pain, unexplained illnesses, and infections signify a vitamin D deficiency. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about your child's growth and nutrition.
Giving Your Infant Adequate Vitamin D
400 IU of vitamin D is the recommended daily dose for infants, starting at birth. Children ages 12 to 24 months should receive a 600-IU vitamin D supplement daily. In addition, you can serve your child foods with lots of this vitamin, including tuna fish, whole milk, fortified juice, cereal, and yogurt. If you breastfeed sometimes or all of the time, you can also increase your vitamin D intake to help improve your child's nutrient levels (and boost your health, to boot!)
Vitamin D for Children 1-5
Toddlers and preschoolers eat solid food and spend more time in the sun, but your pediatrician may still recommend a vitamin D supplement. After all, sun protection remains a priority as your child grows. Some people also have difficulty absorbing enough vitamin D from sunlight, including those with dark skin or who live in an area at high altitude, with elevated pollution levels, or under a dense cloud cover. Your little one may also avoid foods rich in vitamin D, such as liver, salmon, sardines, and swordfish.
Vitamin D Supplements & More
At Wellements, you'll find a full range of healthy supplements for your little ones, including organic vitamin D drops. Each dose fulfills the AAP's recommendations, so you can rest assured that you support your baby's best bone health. Our sunshine vitamin formula is free of common allergens, preservatives, and artificial flavors. Shop the entire collection today to learn more about trusted remedies for your growing family.