Vitamin D Supplement for Breastfed Babies
Do I Really Need to Supplement?
Odds are your pediatrician has recommended that you start a Vitamin D supplement for your infant. Among other things, Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a serious condition associated with impaired growth, seizures, and delays. Since Vitamin D can't be passed down from mother to child through breast milk, it needs to be given to the baby in another way.
As I live in Wisconsin and have a baby born in November, it was a no-brainer that my baby wouldn't get much exposure to sunlight. I tried several different types of Vitamin D supplements, but eventually found that worked very well. I've described my journey to find the best supplement below. Hopefully it will save some new moms and dads unnecessary spit-ups!
Taste is Key
Why Other Supplements Didn't Work
The first supplement that my husband and I came across was the one offered for free at our pediatrician's office during her one month visit. It was produced by a well-known formula company, and included other vitamins, as well as artificial flavors, in the product. So, we tried it out with our baby.
Big mistake. It smelled awful, and one taste confirmed that it would be difficult for baby to stomach. We tried it anyway, and within 10 seconds of emptying the dropper into our baby's mouth, it came back up again (plus a good deal of her feeding). We knew this wasn't going to be an every day option for us.
Later that day, my husband went for a drive to the local health foods store. He came home, happily carrying a small bag with all-natural Vitamin D drops. Once we opened it and found the "natural apple flavoring," we knew that this again wouldn't work. When babies are used to drinking breast milk all the time, strong apple and cherry flavors just won't do the trick. Maybe it would work well for a 4 year old, but certainly not a 4 week old.
This led us to the Internet, where we found D Drops- concentrated drops with the full recommended dosage of 400 IUs. One small, flavorless drop was all that was needed to meet the daily requirement of Vitamin D.
It's been so easy to give it to our daughter. Most times, I can just shake a drop into her mouth while she's playing or "talking" to me. She barely notices that it goes in, and she really doesn't care that it's in her mouth. And, since it's so small, I don't have to worry about her spitting it back out or having difficulty swallowing it. It's about 1,000 times easier than the popular supplements, and much healthier for baby overall (in my opinion).
And the Winner Is.... - MY Choice of Supplement
These drops are excellent. They provide exactly what is needed (400 IU of Vitamin D), in the most efficient and easy way possible.
At first glance, the price seems steeper than other popular supplements. However, since these are concentrated, a little goes a long way. When you factor in how many doses you are getting per bottle, the price is reasonable. It's also nice to know that my baby can keep it down without risk of spit up.
Plus, you're saving your baby from being exposed to needless artificial flavors and colors that the other supplements have. That, by itself, made this the right choice for me.
On the Fence? - Check this out...
Dr. Oz explains why Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem in American health. He doesn't address its specific needs for babies, but it demonstrates again that Vitamin D is a needed and underutilized vitamin.
There are definitely areas in which I don't agree with Dr. Oz, but I think he hits the nail on the head with his discussion of Vitamin D. I also think he does a good job explaining its necessity as a supplement.
Human milk typically contains a vitamin D concentration of 25 IU per liter or less. Therefore, a supplement of 400 IU per day of vitamin D is recommended for all breastfed infants.— Centers for Disease Control