Recommendations of vitamin D supplements to babies were first established in the 1920s and a new study reinforces the importance of supplementation of the sunshine vitamin to breast-fed babies. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that the current recommendations to babies, fully or partially breast-fed, is 400 IU per day “quite satisfactory,” said lead study author and registered dietitian Hope Weiler of McGill University in Canada. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine also recommended 400 IU of vitamin D as being beneficial to infants, from newborns to babies up to 12 months.
Vitamin D is essential for growing healthy bones because it helps the body absorb calcium, without enough calcium, bone production may suffer. The human body has the ability to produce vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to the sun, which is not an option for infants as babies younger than six months should not have any type of sun exposure. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed or even partially breast-fed are unlikely to get enough vitamin D because their mothers may lack it. So, parents should give their babies vitamin D supplements , according to Dr. Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. He says only about 10 to 20% of babies who are breast-fed are also given vitamin D.