Does Your Baby Need Vitamin D?
When baby is first born, the days ahead can be a whirlwind experience for parents. Between feedings, diaper changes, visits from doctors and family, and lack of sleep, simply getting enough rest and finding a good routine tends to be the main focus. Once everyone settles into their new normal, it's a good time to look at the smaller details – like if baby is receiving adequate vitamin D.
Why vitamin D? This important nutrient is needed to build and maintain strong bones and also plays a role in immunity. Since breastmilk does not supply ample vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends supplementing baby with 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day within the first few days of life. Additionally, if baby is consuming less than 33.8 ounces formula per day, parents should speak with baby's pediatrician about vitamin D supplementation.
As baby grows and begins eating solids, supplementation with vitamin D may still be needed unless they are consuming more than 33.8 ounces of vitamin D fortified formula or whole milk. This is because vitamin D needs increase from 400 IU per day to 600 IU per day at one year of age and because vitamin D is only found in a handful of foods naturally – such as in salmon, tuna and mackerel. Cheese, egg yolks and mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light can also be sources of vitamin D, as well as many breakfast cereals and certain brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine and soy beverages.
While the body can make vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight, baby is typically being protected from the sun and would not receive enough direct exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. Skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D.
Since baby's pediatrician may not discuss vitamin D supplementation during their first office visits, it is critical parents take a proactive approach to have a discussion soon after baby is born. For more information about vitamin D supplementation, visit any of our Pharmacy locations and speak to one of our knowledgeable pharmacists or email our dietitian team at firstname.lastname@example.org.