Is Breast Milk Good Enough For Baby?

Breastfeeding moms should up baby's Vitamin D intake.

Is Breast Milk Good Enough For Baby?

Breastfeeding moms should up baby’s Vitamin D intake.

-Jane Farrell

A mother breastfeeding her child

More and more moms in the U.S. are breastfeeding their infants because of the nutritional and health benefits to both them and their baby. But although breast milk is unquestionably good for infants, it doesn’t give them enough of a vital nutrient: vitamin D.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in an effort to raise awareness of the need for Vitamin D, issued a recommendation that all children, including infants, get 400 IU of Vitamin D per day. That quantity is not available in breast milk, and the only other way of getting enough is through exposure to sunlight. The AAP doesn’t advise that for infants under six months because of the risk of skin cancer.

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A researcher told the website myhealthnewsdaily that moms may think their babies are getting enough nutrition from breast milk and don’t need anything else. “I think that the perception that ‘breast is best’ leaves people just giving the breast milk and thinking that there isn’t anything else that the breast milk might be missing,” Dr. Joyce Lee, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan, told the website.

The number of babies who get Vitamin D in addition to breast milk is very low, according to a study recently published in the professional journal Pediatrics. Between 2005 and 2007, only 5 percent to 13 percent of babies got the vitamin, according to the study.

Vitamin D has multiple benefits for babies and kids: It prevents rickets, an osteoporosis-like condition in childhood that can cause fractures and even bone deformities, and it increases immunity. It may also be linked to a lesser risk of cancer and diabetes later in life.

Researchers aren’t yet sure how kids will be affected by a Vitamin D deficiency, although they may be more at risk for osteoporosis as adults.

You can give Vitamin D supplements to your baby or child in the form of drops. Some studies have found that many pediatricians don’t mention the need for Vitamin D, so you should always mention it. (myhealthnewsdaily)

Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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