Vitamin D and babies: What moms should know

Babies need a vitamin D supplement in order to grow big and strong, so the Mayo Clinic recently provided some helpful guidelines for new mothers to follow.

The amount of vitamin D babies need depends on how much breast milk, formula or cow's milk parents feed them daily.

For moms who give newborns breast milk or partial breast milk: The Mayo Clinic suggests 400 international units (IU) of liquid vitamin D per day (but not much more). Babies just a few days old can safely digest the 400 IU dose.

As the baby gets older, vitamin D should be given daily until mothers wean their children off breast milk, or until the baby's diet includes 32 ounces a day of vitamin D-fortified formula.

Once the child turns one year old, he may begin drinking whole cow's milk.

Breast milk alone may not give babies enough vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus. A lack of vitamin D could open doors to rickets, and soft, weak bones as babies develop.

For mothers who give their babies less than 32 ounces of vitamin D-fortified formula: The Mayo Clinic suggests 400 IU of liquid vitamin D per day, starting at just a few days after birth.

The vitamin D supplement should be given to infants until they drink at least 32 ounces of formula per day.

Before you know it, your healthy baby will start eating solid foods. At that point, vitamin D supplements can be replaced with foods like fish (cod, herring, catfish, salmon), spinach, white beans, oatmeal and eggs.

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