Although every mother expects her breast milk to be enough for the child, it isn’t exactly true. According to a new study, many breast-fed infants may not be getting enough vitamin D.
Because breast milk has low levels of vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast-fed infants, and those who are fed formula in addition to breast milk, receive 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, beginning in the first days of life.
Researchers surveyed 184 women who were breast-feeding, and found that most did not give vitamin D supplements daily to their infants. And that is because the mothers believe that breast milk has everything their babies needed. Some of them also said they didn’t know about the recommendation, Live Science reports.
“I feel like my breast milk was designed by God to give my baby what she needs. Babies have been fine and healthy without vitamin D supplementation for generations.” said one woman.
Just 42 percent said they had given their infants the recommended 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
Doctors say that inadequate levels of vitamin D in children can lead to the bone disease rickets. People can get vitamin D from sunlight, but the infants younger than six months shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight due to skin cancer risk.
The supplement is a liquid, and can be given with a dropper straight into the baby’s mouth.
Still, the majority of breast-feeding mothers in the study (88 percent) said they would prefer to take supplements themselves, rather than give them to their infants.