Should I Give My Baby Vitamin D?
There are trends in health care. Some are beneficial and some are not. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be give vitamin D drops. My initial reaction is breastmilk is the perfect food and babies don’t need anything else! But let us be honest, we live in a malnourished culture with processed food and poor guts and we want to give our kids the absolute best. So I decided to look closer into giving vitamin D to babies.
This is what I found. The level of vitamin D a baby has at birth is directly related to the level the mom had in pregnancy. So the best way to insure your baby starts with a good vitamin D level is for the mom to have it in pregnancy. Also, the amount of vitamin D breastfed babies have long term is directly related to the mom’s vitamin D level. So again, the best way for baby to have a high enough vitamin D level is for the mom to have a healthy level.
I am not saying it is never a good idea to give vitamin D drops to babies, but it would not be my first choice. A better plan than giving vitamin D drops to breastfed babies would be:
- Every pregnant woman should have her vitamin D level checked and address this if it is low. If they were low in pregnancy then their vitamin D level should be checked postpartum as well.
- If a baby is at high risk of low vitamin D then they should be checked. High risk babies are:
- Babies who have very little exposure to light (such as those who are born in the winter or in areas where there is less sunlight).
- Babies who have darker skin and so need more sunlight to absorb and activate vitamin D.
- Babies whose mothers were very low in vitamin D.
If you are interested in getting your vitamin D level check with a dried blood spot test please contact Kara for more information.
My favorite way for Moms to increase vitamin D levels is to get it from cod liver oil. Use my amazon affiliate link to get high quality cod liver oil.
Another great option for raising vitamin D is by using a UV sun light. In a short amount of time every day UV lamps have been shown to raise vitamin D levels. This is safe for both baby and mom. I liked this one:
When a baby gets vitamin D from breast milk or sunlight, either natural or from a UV light, their body knows how much to make and how to best use it. When it is from a synthetic supplement, unless the baby’s level is being checked it is hard to know how much they need.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is well known for its role of working with calcium to promote healthy bones and prevent rickets.
Vitamin D is also crucial for the immune system as it effects the innate and adaptive immune responses in the body. Deficiency in vitamin D is connected to increased autoimmune disease and infections.
Vitamin D levels are also connected to depression. This can be especially important for the mom to monitor in the postpartum.
Should you give your baby a vitamin D supplement? Well, if they are really low and at risk then yes, for a short time. But routinely it would be better for mom’s level to be up and baby gets it through breast milk and sunlight, either natural or from a UV lamp. Vitamin D from these sources is a two for one deal; both the mom and baby benefit.
Vitamin D activity of breast milk in women randomly assigned to vitamin D3 supplementation during pregnancy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26702121
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