Many parents wonder if vitamins for babies are really necessary while they are still so young. A mother’s breast milk already contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that babies need to grow healthy and strong. But, a study by the American Journal of Public Health reported that the babies are born with only about 50% of the mother’s vitamin D level .
It’s not just babies that suffer from low vitamin D levels. Dr. Benjamin Jacobs, a consulting MD at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital in London notes that pregnant moms need extra vitamin D supplements to maintain their own bone health .
There are also a lot of factors that can prevent your little one from absorbing adequate nutrients from breast milk. Whether vitamins for babies are necessary really depends on the mom. Unhealthy eating habits, an illness or a recent surgery can prevent a pregnant mother’s body from absorbing nutrients that the baby needs.
So why is vitamin D for babies important? Do you really need to give infants this type of supplementation? These are all legitimate questions so let’s take a minute to discuss it.
What is Vitamin D And Why Is it Important for Babies?
Vitamin D is one of four fat-soluble vitamins (vs water-soluble vitamins). That means that this vitamin is only soluble in fat. That’s important as fat-soluble vitamins tend to stay in the body longer causing an added risk of toxicity . It’s crucial to never give more supplements than directed. Vitamin D plays an important role in your baby’s development. It is required by the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus which helps make healthy bones. A deficiency in this vitamin exposes your baby to various ailments such as rickets and fractures. Getting the correct amount of vitamin D is critical during the developmental stage of your baby.
Our skin makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, specifically the ultraviolet B (UVB rays.) Because of a well-founded fear of skin cancer, we spend less time in the sun. Also, people with naturally dark skin are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency as melanin in darker skin does not absorb as much UV radiation .
Vitamin D is not naturally present in a lot of food. Manufacturers are increasingly looking to fortify other foods with vitamin D such as yogurt, cereal, and orange juice. It’s most ideal when vitamin D is added to a food or drink that contains calcium . Because of the above, it’s not unusual for both babies and adults to develop a vitamin D deficiency and have to take vitamin D supplements.
Young babies are especially at risk since they cannot be out in the sun due to their sensitive skin. Those with darker skin may have less melatonin leading to Also, babies that are breastfed tend to be vitamin D deficient vs those who are fed a fortified formula.
A vitamin D deficiency in babies which can slow a baby’s growth. Doctors often advise pregnant moms to take a specific amount of vitamin D supplements to ensure that safe amounts are delivered to their baby inside the womb.
Why Is Vitamin D Important For Babies?
Vitamin D for babies not only help them have stronger bones. It’s also linked to enhancing their immune system, boosting brain development, protecting their heart and cardiovascular system, and even making their respiratory system stronger too.
A lack of vitamin D in your baby can leave your baby prone to respiratory problems, especially as colder weather sets in because their respiratory and immune systems are not fully functional.
Although studies are still being done to see the link between asthma and lack of vitamin D, it is safe to say that without this particular vitamin, babies are prone to respiratory issues at such a young age.
Vitamin D Drops For Baby
Vitamin D drops for baby may be required to ensure that a child is getting enough of this vitamin per day, but is this really safe?
It’s crucial that parents only give vitamin D drops as their pediatricians recommend. Vitamin D levels are measured by blood draws. High doses of vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle weakness. The FDA informed manufacturers that vitamin D drops for baby should be administered carefully as baby might get an excess of vitamin D from droppers. Some of the droppers were holding more than 400 international units (IU) per day as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. An infant should get no more than 400 IU per day .
Vitamin D For Breastfed Babies
Typically, infants who are breastfeeding need vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D for breastfed babies depend mostly on how much of the vitamin the infant is actually getting from their mothers.
The additional supplementation of vitamin D for breastfed babies is a precautionary measure since it is better to err on the side of caution.
Not all mothers follow a diet that is vitamin D and vitamin-A-rich foods both of which are necessary for the growing baby inside of them.
In particular, Premature infants need additional supplementation of vitamin D, as well as other vitamins and minerals, to help them to grow healthy and strong.
But, it’s crucial that parents only give vitamin D supplements as their pediatricians recommend. Too much vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle weakness. The FDA informed manufacturers that babies may get an excess of vitamin D from droppers. Some of the droppers were holding more than 400 international units (IU) per day as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. An infant should get no more than 400 IU per day.
Vitamin D For Babies Conclusion
The benefits of vitamin D for babies play a vital role to their overall health. Breastfed babies are particularly at risk for a vitamin D deficiency as it is hard to get enough of the vitamin even with a well-balanced diet. Without it, you are putting your child at risk which can be easily avoided if you know the value of this vitamin while they are growing.
Vitamin D For Babies References Vitamine D Council; Severe vitamin D deficiency extra problematic for newborns, according to new case reports, Vitamin D Council, August 23, 2013.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Vitamin D, December 3, 2018.
 Blog Nemours
 U.S. National Library of Medicine; The impact of Vitamin D deficiency on asthma, allergic rhinitis and wheezing in children: An emerging public health problem, Abdulbari Bener, Mohammad S. Ehlayel, Hale Z. Bener, and Qutayba Hamid, December 21, 2014.
 American Academy of Pediatrics; Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Carol L. Wagner, Frank R. Greer and the Section on Breastfeeding and Committee on Nutrition, November 2008.