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Vitamin D & Breastfeeding: Essential Advice for New Mums

Vitamin D is essential for bone and teeth development. However, research has highlighted that babies who are breastfed are not obtaining enough vitamin D from their mother's milk alone, with an urgent call for more nutritional support to be given for those breastfeeding. 

How Breastfeeding Impacts Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants

A Mayo Clinic study confirmed that breast milk rarely provides enough vitamin D for newborns. Half of babies getting vitamin D through breastfeeding were not receiving the recommended daily supplementation of 400IU. The vitamin D deficiency seen in breastfeeding can be supported through vitamin D supplements for mother and baby.

For those still waiting for their little one to arrive, you can opt for a pregnancy supplement that includes vitamin D. This can support both you and your baby’s overall health during this wonderful time.

Vitamin D is especially important for children and their mothers. During pregnancy, or when breastfeeding, mothers need extra Vitamin D to maintain their own bone health, as well as providing nutrients to their baby.

If you’re concerned about your breastfeeding vitamin D levels, you can take an at home health test to check. Done using a simple pinprick, the test will be sent off and you will receive your results online. With this information you’ll be able to adjust your diet and lifestyle to improve your vitamin D levels for breastfeeding. You can also take this test for vitamin D whilst pregnant. If you are worried about your or your baby’s nutrient levels, do consult your doctor.

Should I Take a Vitamin D Supplement Whilst Breastfeeding?

Vitamin D is especially important for children. It can help to keep yours and your baby's bones strong, as well as supporting heart and muscle health. If you find you are deficient in vitamin D whilst breastfeeding, a supplement could help to improve your overall well being.

There are many myths about vitamin D, and we get roughly 10% of this essential nutrient from our diet. We should get 90% from sunshine, however the increase in sunscreen use to protect against skin cancer has diminished the amount we receive. In fact, anything over factor 15 blocks your body from creating this vitamin. As you want to protect both yours and your baby’s skin, you may wish to turn to other methods to increase the vitamin D you are breastfeeding.

Babies in the UK should be given Vitamin D supplements from soon after birth as there is not enough natural Vitamin D in a normal healthy diet, and there is not enough sunshine in the UK to allow us to make Vitamin D ourselves.

A study by the American Journal of Public Health reported that babies are born with around half of the mother's vitamin D levels. With only 10% of the body’s requirements satisfied by diet, it is more important than ever that children's vitamin D levels are at an optimum. The first place to start is by ensuring your own vitamin D levels are high enough whilst breastfeeding.

What Dose of Vitamin D to Take Whilst Breastfeeding?

The risk of vitamin D deficiency increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so taking a supplement containing at least 400IU (10µg) of vitamin D is recommended throughout this period. This will help provide sufficient levels of vitamin D to keep bones healthy. 

Sufficient levels of vitamin D are 50nmol and above. The dosage required to achieve this can differ from person to person. We recommend 1000IU per 25kg of body weight to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D. However, it is not recommended to take more than the safe upper limit (UL) of 4000IU of vitamin D daily.

If your baby is exclusively having breast milk or is consuming less than 500ml of infant formula (as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D) they should take a daily 400IU vitamin D supplement as well to avoid deficiency.

How to Supplement Vitamin D for You & Your Child

If you are not breastfeeding there is no need to worry! BetterYou's range of children's vitamins contains a vitamin D supplement for newborns in oral spray form. With the simple spray you can say goodbye to tears. For children who are a little older you can use our Junior vitamin D spray.

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We are an innovative supplementation brand, pioneering vitamin oral sprays and transdermal magnesium. Our magnesium supplements are ideal for winding down after a long day, whilst our vegan supplements and vegetarian supplements will support your diet.

Disclaimer: BetterYou recognise that breastfeeding is the best option for mother and baby and we in no way want to discourage mothers from this option. This article was written to highlight the research to educate about the dangers of vitamin D deficiency in mothers and new-borns.

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