Few in the medical community will now argue that “breast isn’t best” for a baby, agreeing that breastmilk is the most nutritionally complete food for infants. But as the awareness of how good vitamin D is for the human body grows, an increasing number of studies that focus on vitamin D and its importance for infants are beginning to mount up. The studies are revealing that a mother’s breastmilk may not have the ideal amount of vitamin D for her baby.
The Benefits of Babies and Vitamin D
Sometimes referred to as a “wonder vitamin”, vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for anyone, of any age. When it comes to babies, vitamin D has a number of significant benefits such as:
- Maintaining the potassium and calcium levels in an infant’s blood so that they are able to build strong bones and teeth
- Maintains insulin levels (some studies have shown that adequate vitamin D intake early on can prevent type 1 diabetes)
- Helps support the baby’s heart and nervous system
- Maintains your baby’s blood clotting abilities and mineral balance
Some studies have also shown that adequate vitamin D intake can reduce the risk of suffering from infection as well as curtail the development of other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
How to Add Vitamin D to you Baby’s Life
If your baby is under 12 months old and is exclusively or partially breastfed, the best way to provide them with that much needed vitamin D is through one drop of 400IU (international units) vitamin D drops a day. Mums can place a drop on their nipple prior to having their baby latch on (though make sure that the baby has a good latch and feeds for at least 30 seconds). If you’re feeding you baby more than 1 litre of vitamin D-fortified infant formula, however, then you baby is likely receiving enough. As your baby grows, he or she will be able to obtain vitamin D through a number of different sources, including:
- Oily fish
- Vitamin D fortified foods (including whole cows milk)
Before including any new supplements to your baby’s diet, be sure to stop in and consult with your baby’s health professional for further guidance.