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Vitamin D and Baby Formula

Vitamin D and Baby Formula

Vitamin D and Baby Formula

Everyone needs a little vitamin D. You can get it in the foods you eat or from sunlight. Does your baby get enough D?

There is an alphabet of vitamins that people need to be strong and healthy. One of those vitamins is Vitamin D. A deficiency of this vitamin can hinder growth and development. Though rare, infants are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

Why Do People Need Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is important in bone development. Without this vitamin, bones can get weak and deformed. As your skeleton is the framework of your entire body, strong bones support and protect the muscles in the body. Rickets is the disease that is caused by vitamin D deficiency that can come when children do not consume enough calcium in their diet. Softening bones and bow legs are two characteristics of rickets.

Where Can Your Baby Get Enough Vitamin D?

Exposure to sunlight is a great way to get vitamin D, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants under the age of six months avoid direct sunlight. Even after your baby reaches six months, you still have to reduce the risk of skin cancer that comes from direct sunlight. There are other factors that can reduce the level of vitamin D that people can get from sunlight. This includes living in areas that have longer winters such as Canada and Alaska. Urban areas that are prone to high levels of air pollution or regions with dense cloud covering can filter out direct sunlight. Darker skin tones and the use of sunscreen also makes it more difficult to get vitamin D from the sun.

If you think that breastfeeding provides sufficient vitamin D, you would be wrong. Mothers who take vitamins that are high in D still do not provide enough of the vitamin in their milk. Even babies who consume baby formula that is fortified with vitamin D may not get the recommended amount.

Infants who are breastfed or consume less that a quart of formula per day can take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU each day. The AAP recommends this supplement that can start as early as the first few days after birth in order to avoid rickets and other vitamin D deficiency illnesses or symptoms. Once your baby consumes more than a quart of formula a day or gets enough vitamin D from another source, you can take them off of the supplement.