Discover why Vitamin D is important to your baby's healthy development and how much he needs.
Why is Vitamin D important to your baby's healthy development?
In addition to contributing to the healthy formation and maintenance of bones and teeth, Vitamin D protects your baby against rickets, a disease that affects the way bones grow and develop. It enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption and utilization.
How much Vitamin D does your baby need?
Breast milk offers the best nutrition for your baby. However, the average Vitamin D content of breast milk is low (<25 - 78 IU/L)* and may not be adequate to meet your baby's needs. As such, the Canadian Paediatric Society, Health Canada and the Dietitians of Canada recommend that all breastfed, healthy term babies in Canada receive a daily Vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU. They further recommend that you commence with this daily Vitamin D supplement at birth and continue until your baby's diet provides at least 400 IU per day of Vitamin D from other dietary sources, or until he is 1 year old.Enfamil® D-Vi-Sol® provides 400 IU of vitamin D.
Babies in northern communities (north of 55° latitude, which is about the level of Edmonton) or who have other risk factors (such as dark skin) should get 800 IU per day between October and April, when there is less sunlight.
*Range of Vitamin D levels in breast milk, measured in lactating women taking a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Do formula-fed babies require additional Vitamin D?
Infant formula contains many nutrients such as DHA and Vitamin D that are vital to your baby's healthy development, therefore formula-fed babies may be getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. However, a baby would need to drink about 4 X 250 mL (8 fl oz) bottles of formula per day to get the recommended 400 IU of Vitamin D. Formula-fed babies in northern communities should receive a supplement of 400 IU per day during October to April to ensure they receive enough Vitamin D.
Food sources of vitamin D
Not all foods are a good source of vitamin D. The table below provides a list of the most common Canadian dietary sources of vitamin D.
|Food||International Units of Vitamin D|
|Egg yolk, 1||25 IU|
|All cow’s milk (fortified), 250 mL*†||88 IU|
|Infant formula (fortified), 250 mL||100 IU|
|Margarine (fortified), 1 tsp||25 IU|
|Salmon, cooked, 1 oz||103 IU|
*Cow’s milk is not recommended before 9-12 months of age. †Value obtained from average vitamin D content of 3.3%, 2% and 1% cow’s milk.