It is a long-held belief that mothers’ breast milk is best for babies up to two years. But a recent study claims that even this nourishing superfood lacks a vital nutrient: vitamin D.
Pediatricians recommend that mothers should exclusively breastfeed babies for at least six months. But findings suggested that if this mode of feeding is strictly followed, millions of children all over the world are deprived of an important nutrient. According to a recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, breast milk lacks vitamin D, responsible for the intestinal absorption of important micronutrients and minerals.
Vitamin D Benefits
In lieu of the naturally-sourced vitamin D from breast milk, mothers are typically advised to give their babies vitamin D supplements. Of the surveyed mothers, less than half or 42 percent of breastfeeding mothers said they gave their babies the right amount of vitamin D. Around 55 percent of them supplemented them with vitamin D, although not the recommended dose.
The recommended dosage of vitamin D that should be given to babies is 400 IU (international units). But mothers may opt to take vitamin D supplements themselves between 4,000 and 6,000 IU.
Vitamin D Supplements
Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Tom Thacher, as reported by Reuters, said that many parents are unaware of the proper thing to do. In some cases, breast-fed children are not given the recommended Vitamin D supplements. The Mayo Clinic partly funded the study through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).
“Many mothers were not aware of the need for vitamin D supplementation or their physician had not recommended supplementation. Others believed that breast milk had all the needed nutrition, and some mentioned the inconvenience of giving a supplement or their poor experience of giving a supplement to previous children,” Thacher was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Vitamin D is responsible for better absorption of calcium. It is important in order for the human body to continuously build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D, according to nutritionists, is also important in the baby’s overall health and immune system.