If mothers take high-dose vitamin D supplements, nursing infants may be able to skip recommended vitamin drops, according to new research.
Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that breastfeeding moms give their babies a daily supply of 400 IU of vitamin D as a supplement to the vitamin D they are receiving from breast milk, which usually doesn't contain enough of the vitamin.
In order to draw their conclusions, researchers followed 334 mothers and their infants for six months. Each nursing mother was given different daily doses of vitamin D supplements (400; 2,400; or 6,400 IU). The vitamin D levels of infants were tracked through blood and urine samples.
It was found that when mothers took the highest dosage (6,400 IU), their babies received the required amount of vitamin D.
Experts note that only about one in five babies who receive vitamin drops actually receive the recommended amount of drops.
"For the infant, there is not a benefit or risk to receiving vitamin D through milk instead of via vitamin D drops," said Lydia Furman, M.D., a pediatrician at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University. "Certainly the vitamin drops are not very delicious and sometimes make the baby gag – this is the main benefit I can think of for receiving the vitamin D via mom's breast milk."
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.