Does Elizabeth Really Need Vitamin D?

“Breast milk doesn’t contain enough vitamin D to prevent rickets. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed should receive vitamin D drops.” – MayoClinic

Were all babies at an increased risk for rickets before formula and vitamin D drops were invented? Or, were babies perhaps just exposed to more sunlight, without the knowledge of skin cancer, therefore providing them with ample vitamin D?

It’s so strange to me that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all exclusively breastfed babies receive daily drops of vitamin D. I was just informed of this at Elizabeth’s four month check-up yesterday. Is this new? Because my other three children never got such a recommendation at the pediatrician’s office, but we are at a new practice with Elizabeth because our previous pediatrician went home to be a SAHM with her toddler and newborn.

Sometimes, I am blown away by the inconsistency of medical (and dental!) advice & recommendations. Our old doctor was much more about natural parenting and care. But, if rickets is a real threat to a breastfed baby, shouldn’t she have mentioned it? :/

So, this whole thing put me in research mode this morning and while I did find a lot of information supporting yesterday’s recommendation, I also found this on KellyMom:

How much vitamin D does breastmilk usually contain? Why?

Human breastmilk is a very poor source of vitamin D, usually containing less than 50 IU per quart. This is why the AAP recommends all breastfed infants receive 400 IU per day vitamin D by supplement drops. This IS NOT A DEFECT IN BREAST MILK but a defect in the recommended amount of vitamin D the lactating mom should be taking. If a mom takes 6400 IU per day, she will supply her nursing infant with plenty of vitamin D thru her milk and will not need to give her infant drops. – KellyMom


Here’s what I take every day:



Yeah, I’m totally not getting enough vitamin D. In fact, I’m only getting as much as my BABY should be getting! I also take a supplement of calcium, magnesium and zinc but that doesn’t help the vitamin D cause. So, it looks like I need to increase my intake by taking a separate vitamin D supplement, OR I need to start giving Elizabeth Tri-Vi-Sol. And/or I should get her out in the sun more. Or should I? Both my parents had skin cancer. :( Ugh

Did/do you supplement to provide enough vitamin D for your breastfed baby?

21 thoughts on “Does Elizabeth Really Need Vitamin D?

  1. I’m having the same problem. But I have 4 kids and an infant. They never mentioned vitamin D with my prior children, and they came out fine. But I do live in sunny Arizona. But I think they should stop changing things up so often, it only confuses us moms! 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely sunny here much of the time, too. But, we aren’t out in it in the summer months because of the risk of burning (very fair skin here!!) so from June-Sept, we’re inside 95% of the time. Which, is how long my youngest has been alive, lol. How old are your kids? Mine are 16, 13, 5, and 4 months. ^_^

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      1. I started after his first appointment, but I believe they told me to get it before I even left the hospital. He likes the taste, and just sucks it down as I squirt it toward his cheek. I’ve tasted it when I got a drop on me, and I think it has a numbing sensation to it. It has a fruity scent/flavor. If he’s sleepy when I remember to give it to him, he won’t swallow it all, but I figure some is better than none.

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  2. Interesting. I think I gave my first child a supplement.. but none of the 5 after. My mom had skin cancer too.. but I still believe minimal sun exposure to be the best way to get D. We mom’s have so many things to worry about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only supplement I’ve ever given a toddler (or younger) was my second because his hemoglobin was low at his 18m checkup so he needed iron. This vitamin D thing is new to me, though! Sorry about your mom. Skin cancer is scary but I agree with you – we definitely still spend lots of time outside, but not much in the summer months. :/

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  3. I take a vitamin D supplement even now (1000 IU) during pregnancy and will probably continue this indefinitely since my vitamin D levels have been frightfully low at times. I don’t intend to expose the baby to excessive amounts of sun and would feel uncomfortable giving the baby a supplement at such a young age. My older child who is 5 has never had any issue with bones or ricketts etc. It’s tricky when drs are constantly changing recommendations; I would get a few more drs opinions if unsure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I feel like four months is too young to be giving her anything but my milk, unless a true medical need arises. Did they find out about your low levels during a routine blood test or were you symptomatic? I was talking to my husband about all of this last night and he agrees that I should take a supplement in lieu of Elizabeth taking one.


  4. I can’t speak as a breastfeeding mom; that well dried up decades ago. But I do have chronic vitamin D deficiency and I can tell you from that perspective that it’s miserable. It actually becomes painful. Knowing what I do now about vitamin D deficiency I’d make sure my kids got enough if I were a young mother again!

    Liked by 1 person

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