Does your baby really need a vitamin D supplement if your doctor doesn’t mention it?

Does your baby really need a vitamin D supplement if your doctor doesn’t mention it?
Jul 11, 2017

You’ve researched the pros and cons of breastfeeding versus formula feeding and finally decided that breastfeeding was the right method for you and your baby. Now that you have made your decision, you may be thinking that your breastmilk is giving your baby everything she needs to grow. While breastmilk certainly does have most of the nutrition your baby needs, it doesn’t have enough vitamin D.

You may have come across some information about supplementing your baby with extra vitamin D while you were researching breastfeeding. However, it can be hard to know if what you found online really applies to you and your baby. If your baby really needs a vitamin D supplement your doctor will tell you... right?

While this line of thinking is totally logical, it may actually be wrong.

When your baby goes for her checkups it is pretty common for the doctor to ask you whether you are feeding your baby breastmilk or formula at each visit, but they may not talk with you about vitamin D supplements. One study found that while 88 per cent of pediatricians will counsel parents about vitamin D supplements for infants, only 52 per cent of family practice doctors provide their patients with this information. [1]

The lack of counselling by many doctors is not because babies don’t need a vitamin D supplement. The fact is, all breastfed babies and some formula-fed babies need to take a vitamin D supplement in order to get enough. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed babies be given 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D per day. They also recommend that any formula-fed baby consuming less than 34 ounces or 1L per day be given supplemental vitamin D. [2]

Even if your doctor doesn’t mention vitamin D supplements, this doesn’t mean that your baby doesn’t need to be given one. You should bring up the topic with your baby’s doctor so that you can receive accurate information about when to start giving your baby a supplement and how much of the supplement you should be giving.

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About the author:

Carrie Noriega | MD

Dr. Carrie Noriega is an experienced physician and writer who is passionate about helping empower people to take charge of their own health. She enjoys taking complex medical information and writing it in an easy to understand manner to help people live healthier, happier lives.

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