In addition to the vitamin D factors for the general population, breastfed infants have special considerations. Human breast milk provides the most optimal nutrition for babies and infants. However, breastfed infants could be low in vitamin D because human milk contains very little vitamin D (about 20 IU per litre)[i]. This does not mean that breast milk is not a good choice, but rather, women in today’s society generally have lower levels of vitamin D. This is likely due to the fact that people spend more time indoors than our ancestors did and we often use sunscreen to protect our skin when outdoors.
Major health authorities recommend a daily vitamin D supplement for breastfed infants and this is considered the standard of care in North America. It is best to check with your child’s healthcare practitioner for their recommendations and research health authority websites in your area.
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12 Hollis BW, Wagner CL. Assessment of dietary vitamin D requirements during pregnancy and lactation. Am J Clin Nutr 2004; 79:717-26