Vitamin D & Babies – A Mother’s Question

A patient with a newborn recently asked if her child needed vitamin D supplementation.  Her infant’s pediatrician suggested it, but she is reluctant.TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive 200 IU per day of vitamin D supplementation if breast-feeding because vitamin D in breast milk is typically low.   

Breast milk commonly contains only 25 IU of vitamin D per liter.  A liter is equal to about 4 cups – most mom’s know that there is no way they can produce 8 liters (32 cups) of breast milk each day for their newborn to provide the recommended 200 IU per day of vitamin D!  

With these facts in mind, infant supplementation with vitamin D makes sense.  But is that the end of the story?

According to research cited by the Canadian Pediatric Society, when mothers are supplemented with 4,000 IU per day, infants get plenty of vitamin D from breast milk.

To me, it seems to make sense that mothers are replete with vitamin D prior to supplementing breast-feeding infants with vitamin D.  This way vitamin D deficiency is prevented in both mothers and their infants.

How much is 4,000 IU of vitamin D?  It is more than the upper intake limit set by the Institute of Medicine that sets RDA standards.  4,000 IU of vitamin D is less several times less than the amount of vitamin D that your skin makes when exposed to summer sun for a few minutes.

If there is a concern about vitamin D toxicity, ask your doctor to test your levels.  The test is easy and very accurate.

Richard Malik is a naturopathic doctor with a practice in Lakeville, CT.  To find out more about his practice or read more of his articles on health and wellness,

This post is a reprint from another blog posting.

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