I’ve heard that breastfed babies may not get enough vitamin D. What does this mean for my breastfed baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a statement in April 2003 saying that some babies are at risk for vitamin D deficiency (not having enough vitamin D in their bodies) and rickets. Rickets is a bone-softening disease caused by not getting enough sunlight and/or vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D helps your baby build strong bones. Sunlight can be a major source of vitamin D, but it is hard to measure how much sunlight your baby gets. Things like where you live, the amount of pigment in your baby’s skin, how much time your baby is in the sun, and the use of sunscreens all affect how much vitamin D your baby’s body can make from sunlight.

The AAP suggests that all infants, including those who are exclusively breastfed and those who are fed formula, have at least 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day, starting during the first two months of life. This amount of vitamin D should be continued throughout childhood and adolescence. You can buy vitamin D supplements for infants at a drug store or grocery store. Talk with your baby’s doctor to make sure your baby gets the right amount of vitamin D.