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Important new vitamin D findings for breastfeeding moms

A new release from American Academy of Pediatrics shows that if an exclusively breastfeeding mother takes a vitamin D supplement of 6,400 IU/day, her breast milk supplies an adequate amount of vitamin D for her nursing infant, and it is not necessary to give a vitamin D supplement directly to the infant.

The study, published last week, is also suggesting that it’s the moms who may be vitamin D deficient and that it’s them who are passing on their deficiency to their offspring. So providing mothers with higher amounts of vitamin D is a strategy to consider, one that is good for both mother and child health care. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, it appears.

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The double-blind trial explored whether supplementing the mom with a much higher than normal amount of vitamin D could eliminate the need for infant supplementation (the current practice).

The results showed that the high vitamin D dosage given to nursing moms actually performs double duty: It safely increases the health of breastfeeding moms and also mimics the same results as infants on a daily vitamin D regimen. Therefore it is considered a safe alternative to direct infant supplementation. Moms may prefer to take the needed supplement themselves and then pass it on to their children via breastfeeding rather than having to deal with giving oral supplements to an unwilling infant.

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Presently the medical community recommends a vitamin D supplement be given to breastfed infants, starting within the first few days after birth. Babies are given 400 IU of oral vitamin D daily, as it has long been recognized that human milk doesn’t supply an adequate amount of vitamin D to meet the nutritional needs of a solely breastfed infant and leaves the infant at increased risk for rickets.

However, it is advisable to speak to your health care professional before making any changes to your family health care.

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