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Most Breastfed Babies Are Vitamin D Deficient

Update Date: Jan 10, 2017 09:20 AM EST
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Most Breastfed Babies Are Vitamin D Deficient
A study finds that most breastfed babies are Vitamin D deficient and learned that most mothers prefer to take the Vitamin D supplements to boost the concentration of Vitamin D in their breastmilk. (Photo : Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Deficiency in Vitamin D is a global health concern and babies are particularly prone to this. A recent study has found out that most breastfed babies have Vitamin D deficiencies. This is because breastmilk has a low concentration of Vitamin D that does not meet the recommended daily dose for infants.

In order to understand why most breastfed babies are Vitamin D deficient, researchers surveyed 140 mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies and 44 mothers who both breastfed and give formula milk to their babies.

The mothers were asked about their preference in supplementing Vitamin D for their babies to meet the recommended daily dosage. They were also asked to rank factors like convenience, safety, cost, and being natural in choosing options for supplementation.

The study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, found out that only 55 percent of the mothers supplemented their babies with Vitamin D and only 42 percent of infants received the recommend daily dosage of Vitamin D. Almost 73 percent of the mothers reported to have been advised by their clinicians to give their babies Vitamin D supplements and these mothers are the ones most likely to have given their babies Vitamin D supplements.

In regards to maternal preference, 88 percent of the mothers preferred taking the Vitamin D supplements themselves rather than giving it to their babies and 55 percent preferred daily supplementation to monthly supplementation.

In choosing Vitamin D supplements, mothers rated safety the highest and cost the lowest. Mothers reasoned the lack of knowledge about supplementation, belief that breastfed milk is an adequate source of Vitamin D, and inconvenience or their babies disliking the taste of the supplement as why their babies are Vitamin D deficient.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed, partially breastfed, and bottle-fed infants are supplemented with Vitamin D at 400 IU/d. However, most mothers are not informed or are not following the recommendation.

The researchers recommend taking into consideration maternal preference when supplementing Vitamin D to address the Vitamin D deficiencies in babies. They also recommend that since most mothers preferred taking the supplements themselves that taking Vitamin D supplements be part of the maternal routine.

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