You spent weeks researching the pros and cons of breastfeeding versus formula feeding before you finally decided that breastfeeding was the right method for you and your baby. Now that you have made your decision, you may be thinking that your breastmilk is giving your baby everything she needs to grow. While breastmilk certainly does have most of the nutrition your baby needs, it doesn’t have enough vitamin D.
You may have come across some information about supplementing your baby with extra vitamin D while you were researching breastfeeding. However, it is often hard to know if information you read on the internet really applies to you and your baby. Like many people, you may believe that if your baby really needs a vitamin D supplement your doctor will tell you. Right?
While this line of thinking is totally logical, it may actually be wrong.
When your baby goes for her checkups it is pretty common for the doctor to ask you whether you are feeding your baby breastmilk or formula at each visit, but they may not talk with you about vitamin D supplements. One study found that while 88% of pediatricians will counsel parents about vitamin D supplements for infants, only 52% of family practice doctors provide their patients with this information. 
The lack of counseling by many doctors is not because babies don’t need a vitamin D supplement. The fact is, all breastfed babies and some formula fed babies need to take a vitamin D supplement in order to get enough of the vitamin. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed babies be given 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D per day. They also recommend that any formula fed baby consuming less than 34 ounces or 1L per day be given supplemental vitamin D. 
So even if your doctor doesn’t bring up a vitamin D supplement, this doesn’t mean that your baby doesn’t need to be given one. You should definitely bring up the topic with your baby’s doctor so that you can receive accurate information about when to start giving your baby a supplement and how much of the supplement you should be giving.
Dr. Carrie Noriega is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist, medical writer, and mom who is passionate about women’s health and empowering women to take charge of their own health. She enjoys writing about complex scientific information in an easy to understand manner in order to help people live healthier, happier lives.
- Silk H, Thiede S, Trojian T. Counseling about vitamin D supplementation for infants: results of a survey of pediatric and family medicine physicians in Connecticut. Conn Med. 2007 Mar;71(3):133-7.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Vitamin D Supplementation for Infants. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Vitamin-D-Supplementation-for-Infants.aspx. Updated March 22, 2010. Accessed July 10, 2017.