Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential nutrient all people need. However, most people do not get enough Vitamin D, and at different stages of our lives, we require different amounts. So how much Vitamin D does a baby need, and what is the best way to administer it?
This article provides all the information you need to ensure your baby receives an adequate amount of vitamin D and explains the importance of these essential nutrients.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps our bodies absorb calcium and develop and maintain strong bones. A growing baby needs adequate vitamin D to ensure their bones develop correctly.
Vitamin D is also required to maintain the health of your musculoskeletal system, especially for women and girls. Vitamin D also affects how the body responds to pain caused by inflammation, particularly in the joints.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-quarter of the U.S. population does not have enough Vitamin D in their diet.
Risks Factors for Babies and Children
In addition to needing vitamin D for healthy bone development and growth, babies with inadequate amounts of vitamin D are at risk of developing rickets.
Rickets is a softening and weakening of the bones due to insufficient vitamin D.
Signs and Symptoms of Rickets include:
- Delayed growth
- Delayed motor skills
- Pain in the spine, pelvis, and legs
- Muscle weakness
- Bowed legs or knocked knees
- Thickened wrists and ankles
- Breastbone projection
Not having enough vitamin D in your diet as a child can also lead to problems with bone density later in life.
Breastfed babies have a higher risk of developing rickets because breastmilk, while ideal for babies, does not contain enough vitamin D to meet your baby’s daily requirements. Formulas are fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients.
How do I Administer Vitamin D to my Baby?
Vitamin drops are the easiest and most recommended way to ensure your baby has enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D drops for babies can be placed directly in your baby’s bottle if you are using expressed breast milk. When mixing drops with their milk, only serve a small amount of milk to ensure they receive the full dose; you can serve them additional milk afterward.
You can also place the droops directly in their mouth during a nursing session or while relaxed in the bath. A third option is to place the drops directly on your nipple before nursing your baby.
How Much Vitamin D Does My Baby Need?
Newborns and older babies need 400 IUs of vitamin D each day. They should continue taking a vitamin D supplement until they drink a minimum of four cups or 32 ounces of whole milk daily.
Not all vitamin D drops are created equal, so research before purchasing and administering drops to your baby. You can purchase drops over the counter without a prescription; however, ask your pediatrician if they have a specific brand they recommend.
When looking at vitamin D drops, ensure the serving size is 400 IUs of Vitamin D3 per dose. You should also look at the ingredients to see if additives like sugar or other artificial additives have been added. Lastly, look for a product that undergoes third-party testing as reassurance that the product is safe.
Vitamin D for Mom
Vitamin D is also essential for individuals who are pregnant and nursing. Women, in particular, are more prone to bone density problems, and pregnancy and nursing use up much of our vital vitamin D supply.
Teen and adult women, whether pregnant, nursing, or not, need a minimum of 600 IUs of vitamin D daily. You can take vitamin D as a supplement or through our diet. However, most adults do not eat enough Vitamin D daily.
Foods rich in vitamin D include fortified foods like cow and soy milk, cereals and oatmeals, and orange juice. Foods that naturally contain vitamin D are salmon, canned tuna, mushrooms, egg yolks, cod liver oil, herring, and sardines.
Vitamin D is important at all stages of our life but is particularly vital to newborns and babies, nursing and pregnant women. Vitamin D allows our bodies to absorb the calcium we need to develop strong, healthy bones and protects us against issues later in life. So start your baby’s growth off right by ensuring they have an adequate serving of vitamin D each day!