home
RSS
Breast-fed babies need Vitamin D supplements
April 30th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

Breast-fed babies need Vitamin D supplements

Most new moms aim to breast-feed their babies - a practice encouraged by experts who tout the many health benefits of breast milk.

But breast milk is not perfect when it comes to vitamin D. A new study published Tuesday in a special edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association focusing on child health reiterates that breast-fed babies also need a vitamin D supplement.

The current recommendations to give babies being fully or partially breast-fed 400 IU, or International Units, of vitamin D each day "is quite satisfactory," said lead study author and registered dietitian Hope Weiler of McGill University in Canada.

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine also recommended 400 IU of vitamin D as being beneficial to infants, from newborns to babies up to 12 months - or even beyond.

But most babies who are breast-fed do not receive enough, because most new parents aren't giving their babies vitamin D supplements, according to Dr. Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and author of an accompanying editorial published in JAMA.

Abrams, who is also a member of the nutrition committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), says only about 10 to 20% of babies who are breast-fed are also given vitamin D.

"We know very well if you don't have enough vitamin D, you can develop rickets as an infant or young child," Weiler said at a news conference on Tuesday. Rickets is a disorder which leads to softening and weakening of the bones.

Vitamin D is essential for growing healthy bones because it helps the body absorb calcium - without enough calcium, bone production may suffer.

Our bodies have the ability to produce vitamin D when our skin is directly exposed to the sun. However, you can't be wearing sunscreen to make this happen and babies younger than 6 months shouldn't be in the sun anyway - according to the AAP and FDA, 6 months is the earliest sunscreen should be applied to babies.

Babies who are exclusively breast-fed or even partially breast-fed are unlikely to get enough vitamin D because their mothers may lack it. Babies who are formula-fed usually receive enough vitamin D because the government requires that it be included in formula.

"A daily exposure of vitamin D intake of 400 IU per day has been demonstrated for almost 100 years to reliably prevent rickets in infants regardless of sunshine exposure or race," writes Abrams in the editorial.

Back in the 1920s, when the recommendations were first established, vitamin D supplements came in the form of a teaspoon of cod liver oil. These days, you can buy a bottle of the supplement and give your baby the recommended amount with an eye dropper.

It's hard to quantify how many babies get rickets because reporting is not required in the United States, but pediatricians like Abrams say they are seeing more cases: "'There's been a mini-epidemic of rickets in the U.S.," he says.

There doesn't appear to be strong pediatrician support for the recommendations, he says, and new parents may not be aware of the recommendation. In addition, families on a tight budget may need to be convinced that buying an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement is important.

A quick survey of some national pharmacy and retail chains shows a bottle of vitamin D drops for infants costs about $9 to $12. That could be a hardship for families on public assistance, which is why Abrams has suggested over the years that it may be worth making these supplements part of public assistance.


soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. ZisseVed

    cialis generic generic cialis at walmart kopa cialis

    June 4, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Zisseloh

    cialis sell generic of cialis lower cost cialis

    June 4, 2021 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Buena Gore

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 5, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. EncoxDev

    polish pharmacy online usa oxfordhealth com online pharmacy canada drugs closing

    June 5, 2021 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. EncoxDev

    Baycip how to report someone selling prescription drugs vipps pharmacy canada

    June 5, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Zisseloh

    how should cialis be taken cvs cialis over the counter cialis side effects heart

    June 5, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. MileSwa

    cialis pill canada how much does cialis cost in canada cialis online overnight shipping

    June 7, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Garret Daise

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 7, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. EncoxGtv

    northwest pharmacy canada phone number safest online pharmacy drysol canada pharmacy

    June 8, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ZisseVed

    how cialis works cialis use what color is cialis pill

    June 8, 2021 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. EncoxHtf

    buy cialis online in australia cialis generic canada buying cialis

    June 9, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Carroll Renn

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 9, 2021 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. EncoxAni

    harlem rx pharmacy wellbutrin xl canada pharmacy Zantac

    June 9, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. EncoxGtv

    Sumycin best online indian pharmacy texas state board of pharmacy

    June 9, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. EncoxHtf

    buying cialis in australia cialis 20mg for sale cialis for daily use coupon

    June 10, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. EncoxAni

    canadian pharmacy ltd. rx com pharmacy canadian pharmacy celebrex

    June 12, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. MileSwa

    best prices for cialis cialis super active vs professional discount cialis from india

    June 12, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ZisseVed

    new cialis commercial cialis vs. viagra recreational use what doses does cialis come in

    June 13, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. CrulkAsd

    get generic cialis overnight cialis canadian pharmacy no prescription discount cialis

    June 13, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. CrulkAsd

    cialis com cialis daily elily redtube cialis

    June 13, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Zisseloh

    cialis tadalafil & dapoxetine vcialis how long before sex cialis

    June 13, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. EncoxDev

    pharmacy technician online courses pharmacy wholesalers canada rx mart pharmacy

    June 13, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. EncoxDev

    express scripts canada pharmacy no prescription pharmacy paypal medical pharmacy

    June 13, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Zisseloh

    cialis overdose dapoxetin,cialis generic cialis at cvs

    June 13, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. www.pharmaceptica.com

    tadalafil vs cialis reviews https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. pharmaceptica

    erectile support https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to Buena Gore


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.