Babies need vitamin D for healthy growth and development. It helps them build healthy bones and teeth. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a disease of the bones called rickets and problems with tooth development. Also, not getting enough of this vitamin may lead to the development of other diseases later in life.
The Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society advise that all breastfed, healthy term babies receive a daily vitamin D supplement (drop form) of 10 µg (400 IU). Vitamin D supplementation should begin at birth and continue for as long as the baby is receiving breastmilk as their main source of milk.
Vitamin D supplement drops are recommended and available without a prescription in pharmacies and some grocery stores. Breastfeeding mothers should maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet according to Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide even when a vitamin D supplement is provided to the infant.
Although sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, both the Canadian Dermatology Association and Health Canada advise that infants under one year should be kept out of direct sunlight due to the risk of skin cancer.
For more information about feeding your baby, call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 and speak with a public health professional Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email Health Connection