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Ask A Lactation Consultant: Vitamin D For A Breastfeeding Baby

“Does my breastfed baby need vitamin D? My pediatrician says I should give my 4-month-old a vitamin D supplement. What should I do?”

The short answer is yes.  However, there is a lot more to it.  Parents sometimes assume that they will need to supplement their baby with additional Vitamin D because human milk is deficient in Vitamin D.  This is usually what they are told.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is human milk does have Vitamin D, but it is rarely enough for both the parent and the baby.  There are many variables to consider about this as well.  The most efficient way we get Vitamin D is from the sun.  Was your baby born during winter months(not that we recommend having your newborn out in the sun anyway)?  Do you live in a colder climate?  Do you or your baby have darker skin color?  All of these things can affect how much Vitamin D you and your baby are exposed to.  If you are breast/chest feeding and you are deficient in Vitamin D, the chances are good your baby is as well. 

There was a study done in 2015 that found if the breast/chest feeding parent took at least 6400ius of Vitamin D, this was enough for both parent and baby. 

I would suggest having a simple blood test done to find out where your Vitamin D levels are so you can adjust your dose accordingly.  You can also give your baby a Vitamin D supplement of 400ius in drop form and this will be enough for them. Vitamin D is important for good health, and babies can start out deficient if the birth parent is deficient during pregnancy.

Check out this episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast for more information on Vitamin D for babies!

Dianne Cassidy is a Lactation Consultant in upstate NY.  She has been working with new families for 15 years and is also a blogger and co-host of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast.  Dianne is the mother to 3 kids, including a set of twins, and 2 dogs. You can find more from Dianne at her blog, Milkly.