Yes, nursing mothers need to supplement themselves or their babies with extra vitamin D, mostly because people are not spending enough time in the sun these days. Your body uses the sun to make Vitamin D. Normal levels of Vitamin D in breast milk are usually between 20 and 60 IU. This is not nearly enough for a baby.
Vitamin D deficiency in milk is not a defect in breast milk but is due to the mother not having enough sunlight exposure and not eating enough Vit D-rich foods.
Why Take Extra Vitamin D?
~Vitamin D in food~ Fortified soy milk, mushrooms, fortified tofu, fortified orange juice
- Vitamin D breastfeeding research states that childhood diabetes is 90% less likely if Vitamin D supplements are taken.
- Long-term Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and type I diabetes.
- Vitamin D for infants promotes bone and teeth health.
- Vitamin D keeps you from getting sick by boosting your immune system.
- Vitamin D prevents Osteoporosis when you get old.
- It can cure and prevent bone diseases, such as Rickets and Osteomalacia.
- How much vitamin D? Your baby should be given 499IU daily; this can be given to the baby in drops. The minimal recommended supplementation for babies is 200IU.
- The baby can be exposed to sunlight for a few minutes (4 – 5 minutes) each day. Black babies will need double the time in the sun for the same results. Don’t put sunscreen on your baby for those few minutes. Keep your baby in just a diaper or even naked, if possible, so that the sun can get to their skin. Do not let your baby stay in the sun until the skin turns pink.
- The mother can take supplementation herself. She can take 1000IU per day. The mother should not take more than 1000IU daily because high vitamin D levels can become toxic in breast milk.
- Recommendations do vary. The mother is safe; if she has some sun exposure and takes a supplement, then it will not be necessary to supplement her baby.
- A great idea is to allow yourself and your baby to be exposed to the sun during the summer months and then to take supplementation during the winter months.
Who Are at Higher Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Dark-skinned people (or black people).
- Mothers who wear veils that cover most of their skin.
- Mothers who stay indoors most of the time.
- Mothers who are malnourished.
- Mothers who stayed away from the sun during pregnancy.