To (Vitamin) D, or not to (Vitamin) D?
Well, that’s not really the question. But is there an amount of Vitamin D that a breastfeeding mom can take in order for the breast milk to contain recommended levels of Vitamin D for her baby?
There have been numerous studies confirming the fact that breast milk does not contain enough Vitamin D to meet the nutritional needs of an infant. Even in mothers who are still taking prenatal vitamins; there’s not enough that makes its way into the milk ducts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies should be given a daily Vitamin D supplement which provides 400 International Units (IU) of the vitamin. Yes, even formula-fed babies need it (at least until they’re consuming a daily minimum of 32 oz per day of a Vitamin D fortified formula)!
There’s been some new light shed on this topic, however. Some studies have suggested that lactating mothers who take 4000 IU to 6400 IU of daily Vitamin D, will produce an adequate amount of the vitamin present in the breast milk to meet the nutritional requirements of the infant. This is pretty awesome news! Especially if you’re like me and forget to give your little one their daily dose; or better yet, if your little one gives the Vitamin D right back to you (stained clothes or furniture anyone?).
It’s important to note that the research noted that adequate Vitamin D levels weren’t reached until about 4-5 months AFTER taking the increased dose.
With that being said, we still recommend that you give your baby a Vitamin D supplement until there is more research done in this area. I would also highly recommend that mothers who are interested in breastfeeding discuss taking an increased dose of Vitamin D with their OB/Gyn as elevated Vitamin D levels in the body can pose some health risks.
Get to know Ramon Kinloch, M.D.
Dr. Kinloch is a Cook Children's pediatrician at Cook Children's Pediatrics Fort Worth - Forest Park and a proud dad.
"My desire to practice medicine really stemmed from my interest in the sciences. I actually thought about a career as an astronaut at first, but decided that wasn't for me after watching the movie 'Armageddon'. As I got older, I enjoyed spending time in the church nursery and developed a passion for teaching/mentoring children and adolescents. Becoming a pediatrician allowed me to integrate what I love doing and have fun serving others.
Outside of practicing medicine, I enjoy traveling, especially internationally to experience and learn about the different cultures of our world. I love music and dancing. I enjoy watching and playing sports (I'm a big Michigan Wolverines and Dallas Cowboys fan!). Last but not least, I enjoy checking out new restaurants.
I am thankful and blessed to be married to the love of my life Andrea. We are the proud parents of our son, Tyson, who can melt your heart with a smile—even if there’s a pacifier in the way. We have a lab mix dog, Ramsey, who now thinks he’s a babysitter. I love being a pediatrician because it is one of the few careers where you can let you inner kid be free!