Many parents often ask why, when it comes to giving vitamin D because “doesn’t my child get that from the sun?”. That is correct! Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is not very common in most foods and is naturally obtained from sun exposure. However, in Canada, most of us are vitamin D deficient, especially during the winter months, which is why vitamin D supplementation is so important, especially for exclusively breastfed infants (Infants who are formula fed receive their vitamin D in the formula, therefore supplementation is not required).
The daily requirement for vitamin D for an infant is 400IU, according to Health Canada. Breast milk provides about 10IU of vitamin D in the winter and about 20IU in the summer. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption, for adequate bone growth, for cell growth and immunity, and cell metabolism.
Administration is easy! You can purchase vitamin D drops at your local pharmacy. Most companies require just one drop a day! I always tell parents to get into a routine and give it at the same time every day so they don’t forget. It is simple…just simply place a drop of the Vitamin D either onto the breast or nipple of a bottle before a feed.
It is important to talk to you doctor or NP about adjusting the dose as you infant grows to ensure your child is always getting enough.