Vitamin D for your baby

Sunshine! When the sunlight hits our skin, vitamin D is converted to an active form that can be used by the body!

Vitamin D is important for your baby to build strong bones and teeth. When vitamin D levels are low (deficiency), this can have a negative impact and in its most severe form, vitamin D deficiency can lead to a condition called rickets.

The daily dose recommended for primarily breastfed babies is 400IU daily.

Babies are at risk of vitamin D deficiency when they are exclusively breastfed because only a small amount of vitamin D is transferred in breastmilk. Therefore, breastfed babies should get 400IU of vitamin D a day. Formula is fortified with vitamin D, so exclusively formula fed babies do not need supplementation with vitamin D (unless they have other risk factors). Discuss this with your doctor.

Sometimes, babies are fed with breastmilk and formula, and in this case, whether to add vitamin D supplement or not depends how much breastmilk the baby is getting. It would be wise to discuss with your baby’s doctor regarding whether you need to supplement your baby with vitamin D.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also consider vitamin D supplementation and this can be discussed with your doctor.

Other sources of vitamin D:

  • milk has vitamin D added to it, and once your baby is on 500mL/day of whole milk, they would be receiving adequate vitamin D, so supplementation can be discontinued. Remember, not to start cow’s milk until at least 9 months of age and with advice from your doctor.
  • fish such as tuna, salmon
  • egg yolk
  • fortified cereals
  • fortified orange juice

Interesting facts:

  • Living in countries such as Canada, we may lack adequate sunlight, especially in the winter, and would require supplementation in our diets or in vitamin form.
  • The lighter your skin, the more effective this conversion, so those who live north of 55 degrees latitude, and those who have darker skin, would need supplementation, and to consider larger doses (i.e. , 800IU daily) in the winter time.

This is intended for information purposes and should not be substituted for medical advice.