Preview the new Recipes for Growing Me ~9 months edition!
September 30, 2019
Having a baby can be a whirlwind—especially for first-time parents! The first few months are often a blur, with sleepless nights and constant worry whether you’re doing things right for your baby. Shortly after giving birth, one of your healthcare professionals will tell you to give your breastfed baby a vitamin D supplement. You will nod your head in agreement, and be lucky if you can remember this recommendation with the many other pieces of advice given to you at this time. But why is vitamin D so important? And why are we supposed to give vitamin D to babies who are breastfed and not to those who aren’t?
The Importance of vitamin DA summary from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)—which includes nutrition monitoring from birth to 24 months over the last five years on infant feeding and dietary intake—notes that vitamin D is involved in several functions for infants, including:
The recommendation for vitamin D supplements is 400 IU/d (10 μg/d) per day unless infants are fed vitamin D fortified-formula. Breast milk is considered the gold standard when mothers can breastfeed their babies; however, breast milk does not contain enough vitamin D to meet the recommended guidelines. Infants provided with commercial infant formula do not require the supplement since vitamin D is included in the manufacturing process. At around 12 months, parents and caregivers can transition from commercial infant formula to homogenized (3.25% M.F.) cow milk, which is fortified with vitamin D, so older infants and children will not require a vitamin D supplement. [ii]
Some parents might wonder…“Is it possible to give my baby too much vitamin D?”, but Health Canada notes excessive intake is not a concern, as it’s highly unlikely an infant will approach a maximum level of 2,500 IU per day. After two years of age, a vitamin D supplement is no longer required and it is recommended that children's eating patterns follow Canada's Food Guide to obtain vitamin D from natural food sources. [iii] Also, parents can safely provide access to natural sunlight for children to enhance vitamin D production in the skin.
Tidbit for your Tiny OneLiving north of 55° latitude means less sunlight! Infants from northern communities should receive a higher supplement level of vitamin D–800 IU/day, rather than 400 IU/day, between October and April, when there is less sunlight. [iv]
Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind:
The following recipe poem is an excerpt from our first book Recipes for Growing Me ~6 months:
D is for vitamin DEven though I am 6 months oldVitamin D is recommendedForever I’m told With limited sunlight It’s important not to forget meAs my bones need to developSo this vitamin is key
Beyond infancy: A special note for the readerVitamin D is important for children and older adults too! According to Statistics Canada 1/3 of all Canadians are deficient in vitamin D. Make sure you are getting enough of this important vitamin which is produced by the body from the sun or through food and is beneficial for:
We hope we’ve contributed something beneficial to your baby’s diet, and remember…don’t hog the blog! Share it with new moms today! Want to learn more from our baby’s first cookbook? Order now and enjoy 15% OFF baby’s first cookbook. Use code: BLOGHOG
Have a blooming’ day!Sarah & Karen
[ii] Ahluwalia, N (2019). Nutrition Monitoring of Children Aged Birth to 24 Mo (B-24): Data Collection and Findings from the NHANES Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2019. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US. Adv Nutr2019; 00:1–15; doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz07
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