Are you breastfeeding your precious baby? Are you worried whether or not your baby is getting adequate nutrition or not? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post is a good idea!
Most new mothers like to keep their babies indoors to protect them from potential infections. They also like to avoid giving supplements to their infants. But do you know these common habits can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency? Go ahead and give this post a read to find out why vitamin D for breastfed babies is much essential!
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient essential for good health, growth, and strong bones. Your body can produce this vitamin when your skin reacts to sunlight. Even a mild lack of Vitamin D can cause fatigue and aches. Children between the age of six months and five years are prone to Vitamin D deficiency and may need supplements. 
Do Breastfed Babies Need Vitamin D?
Doctors advise that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of his life. It means that during those months, you should not give your baby anything else, not even water. However, when you breastfeed your baby he also needs to consume vitamin D supplements. Breast milk contains very small amounts of vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D can adversely affect your baby’s health and growth. Hence, your doctor may prescribe oral vitamin D drops for your baby until the age of six months. 
Health Benefits Of Vitamin D For Breastfed Babies:
Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin and has many health benefits for your baby:
1. Improves Bone Health:
Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium in your baby’s body. It also helps maintain the levels of phosphorus in the blood. Both these factors protect your baby’s bones.
A deficiency of vitamin D can cause rickets and make your child bow-legged.
[ Read: Bow Legs In Babies ]
2. Reduces Risk Of Flu:
Vitamin D helps reduce the risk of contracting flu especially among babies and children living in cold countries.
Doctors recommend an additional dosage of vitamin D during harsh winter months when the sunlight is absent or very weak.
[ Read: Flu Symptoms In Babies ]
3. Good For The Heart:
Vitamin D helps to lower any stiffness in the walls of your baby’s arteries.
It helps prevent cardiovascular complications.
4. Prevents Cancer:
Vitamin D helps to regulate the growth of cells and intercellular communication. 
It slows down the growth and development of new blood vessels in the tissues that are cancerous.
Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency in Babies:
Some signs of Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Babies who have a severe vitamin D deficiency may suffer from muscle cramps, seizures, and respiratory issues.
- Severe Vitamin D deficiency in children may lead to a soft skull and weak leg bones. Such children may suffer from bone pains and muscle weakness in the legs.
- Children suffering from a lack of Vitamin D may show poor growth and a delay in achieving developmental milestones like walking, teething, etc.
- Children may be more irritable due to a lack of vitamin D.
- Children suffering from a vitamin D deficiency are more prone to infections.
- In rare cases, acute deficiency of vitamin D can cause cardiomyopathy.
How To Give Adequate Vitamin D While Breastfeeding?
While your baby is still in the hospital, your baby’s doctor will prescribe certain drops for him. One such medication will most likely be a vitamin D supplement. Your baby’s doctor or nurse will tell you how many drops your baby needs and until what age you should give it to him. In case you do not see any mention of vitamin D drops in your baby’s file, do speak to the doctor before administering any health supplements yourself. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine recommends the following Vitamin D dosage for your baby: 
- If you are breastfeeding your little one, then you need to give him 400 international units (IU) of liquid vitamin D. You should begin the course soon after your baby’s birth.
- Keep giving the vitamin D drops for breastfed babies until weaning. Check with your doctor and include egg yolks, tuna, and cheese in your baby’s diet once he starts consuming solids.
- You can stop giving the drops once your baby starts drinking about a liter of vitamin D-fortified formula.
- Your baby will most likely switch to cow’s milk soon after his first birthday. You can stop the vitamin D supplements then.
[ Read: Why Is Vitamin K Important For Babies ? ]
Now you know how to protect your darling baby from the risk of developing a Vitamin D deficiency. Go ahead and enlighten other moms about vitamin D breastfeeding!
Did your baby suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency? Did the pediatrician recommend any treatment or medication? Please share your experience with us.
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