Many breastfed infants may not be getting enough vitamin D, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the January/February 2017 issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine, surveyed 140 mothers who exclusively breastfed their infants and 44 mothers who gave their infants a combination of breast milk and formula. All of the participants received care at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where the study was conducted. Here are some eye-opening statistics from the study:

  • 55% of the mothers stated they had given their infants vitamin D supplements in the past week, and just 42% said they had given their infants the recommended 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
  • The majority of the mothers surveyed (88%) preferred supplementing themselves, rather than their infants.
  • Of the mothers, 138 (76%) were taking a multivitamin with vitamin D.
  • 57% preferred daily to monthly supplementation.

Researchers ultimately found that most did not give a daily vitamin D supplement to their babies. But why? Some of the reasons moms didn’t give vitamin D supplements to their infants were:

Lack of knowledge about supplementation:

Too young – will start soon.”

Never even knew vitamin D supplementation was needed.”

Assumption that fortified milk provides infant with needed vitamin D:

“I gave vitamin D supplement when she was breast milk-fed, provider told us to discontinue when formula started.”

Assumption that breast milk provides infant with needed nutrition:

“Find it hard to believe the whole population is so deficient in vitamin D, especially in breast milk.”

Inconvenience/dislike:

“I forget to because she doesn’t take it well and doesn’t seem to like the taste.”

But why is this a concern? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed infants, as well as those who are fed a combination of formula and breast milk, receive 400 IU of vitamin D daily, beginning in the first few days of life. This is because breast milk has low levels of vitamin D. The AAP also advises that infants younger than six months avoid direct sun exposure. Inadequate levels of vitamin D in infants and children can lead to rickets. in this study, 73% of the parents were recommended to give vitamin D by their clinician, but only 55% followed this advice. Click here to read more about why doctors recommend vitamin D for infants and children.

This study showed that 76% of mothers were taking a multivitamin that contained vitamin D. Multivitamins typically contain 400-600 IU.  However, the authors comment that higher doses ofl vitamin D (4000-6400 IU/d or a single monthly dose of 150,000 IU) for mothers can provide enough vitamin D in breast milk for nursing mothers, preventing vitamin D deficiency in their infants without signs of toxicity.  The researchers concluded that having mothers take additional vitamin D supplements might be an option to make sure that infants are getting enough vitamin D.

Baby Ddrops® liquid vitamin D supplements is a great solution for babies – just one drop, no taste and easy to work into your daily routine! This can help parents stay on track with their healthcare practitioners’ advice.  Learn more about Baby Ddrops® here.

Are you a mother that would take supplements yourself instead?  Why not think about adding the adult form of Ddrops? Find out more here.


 

Annals of Family Medicine. www.annfammed.org. Vol 15, no 1. January/February 2017.