What Is Vitamin D For Newborns

Supplements For Babies At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency


If your baby is at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, talk to a health professional such as your doctor, midwife or dietitian. Your doctor can prescribe a vitamin D supplement that comes in drops.

Drops can either be:

  • put on your nipple before your baby latches on
  • given directly into your baby’s mouth using a dropper

Are There Any Other Safety Precautions I Should Keep In Mind

Research a product before buying. Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so look for well-known brands, Shu says. And if you have a question about a vitamin D supplement, just check with your pediatrician.

BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

AAP. 2014. American Academy of Pediatrics. Where We Stand: Vitamins.

AAP. 2016. American Academy of Pediatrics. Vitamin D: On the Double. September 2016.

CDC. 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vitamin D.

Zinc Supplements For Babies

Zinc is important to immune function, wound healing, and your baby’s developing senses of smell and taste.

If you exclusively breastfeed your baby, they’ll probably get enough zinc until they’re about 6 months old. After that, the amount of zinc they need increases, so they need to get some from the solid foods they eat, too.

On a vegan or vegetarian diet, this may be difficult, since the most common sources of zinc are meat and dairy products. If you’re worried your baby may not be getting enough zinc, talk to their doctor about ways to increase zinc in their diet.

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How Do We Get Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes from different sources:

  • Sunlight: Vitamin D is formed naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight. Because Canada is located so far north, sunlight isnt enough at certain times of the year. Also, darker skin, sunscreen and clothing, which protect babies from the harmful effects of the sun, wont allow vitamin D to be formed.

  • Foods: In Canada, vitamin D is added to cows milk and margarine during production. Some plant-based beverages may have vitamin D added. Some foods fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and whitefish, and egg yolksare also sources of vitamin D.

  • Vitamin supplement: For babies, it comes in liquid form and is given daily with a dropper. Its important to give your baby a supplement that is meant for babies. Read the instructions carefully to be sure you give your baby the right amount. If you are unsure, talk to your pharmacist.

How Much Vitamin D Do Breastfed Babies Need

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If youre breastfeeding, your newborn babys main source of vitamin D will come from your breast milk. So if you are deficient in Vitamin D, it can cause a vitamin D deficiency in your baby. Naturally, the vitamin D content of breast milk is low *, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a vitamin D supplement if youre breastfeeding, as well as giving your baby a daily liquid vitamin D supplement until their diet provides at least 400 IU of vitamin D per day.

*Range of vitamin D levels in breast milk, measured in lactating women taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.

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How Much Vitamin D Should Babies Have

Article at a glance:

Vitamin D is vital for growth, development and immune balance Babies are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency because they must avoid full sun exposure Advice from UK Department of Health is that all children aged 0-4 should be given a daily supplement of 400 IU vitamin D Vitamin D is best supplemented as D3 the form naturally made in the skin following sun exposure

Why do babies need to supplement vitamin D?

The main source of vitamin D is not food, but sunlight. And babies under the age of 6 months are advised to stay out of the sun completely so this puts them at particularly high risk of vitamin D deficiency. Babies under 6 months, and in fact all children under 4, are considered at higher risk and advised to supplement regularly.

Vitamin D is crucial for infants, not just to grow healthy bones and prevent the bone-softening disease rickets, but also for normal physical and brain development, immune balance, heart health and even to support optimal levels of friendly bacteria. Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies both of which are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions and plays a crucial role in immune balance. There may even be links between vitamin D deficiency and risk of developing autoimmune problems such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Do breastfed babies need vitamin D?

How about formula fed infants?

Do Babies Need Iron Supplements

While babies are born with enough

As your little one grows and begins eating solid foods, consult with your doctor about how long to keep up this supplementation. You can find iron in beans, lean meats, spinach, eggs and dried fruits. Cereals and some pastas are also fortified with iron, as are some snacks like granola bars or crackers. Check the nutrition label as those amounts vary per product. Consider incorporating these food choices into your childs diet as they transition to solid foods.

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Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to your newborns health. Babies who dont get enough vitamin D can develop Rickets. Rickets is a disease that softens your bones. Young children who dont have enough vitamin D can end up with bowed legs as they grow, delays in crawling and walking, and soft skulls. In recent years, rickets has become more and more of a problem in young children. Doctors are trying to combat this by recommending vitamin D drops.

How Much Vitamin D Does Your Baby Need

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants get at least 400 IU of vitamin D supplementation per day. Infants who are formula fed will usually meet this recommendation. However, if your child is being exclusively breastfed, or even partially breastfed, they may not be getting enough vitamin D. You can purchase vitamin D drops from nearly any pharmacy or grocery store. Drops should be given on a daily basis for babies who are breastfed.

Your childs doctor might ask you to supplement your breastfed babys diet with vitamin D drops. These drops can help protect your child against rickets and sure up their bone health. In addition to the drops, you can ensure your child is getting enough vitamin D by getting enough vitamin D yourself. You can also expose your baby to sunlight in short amounts of sunlight daily. Just be careful not to keep your baby in the sun for too long.

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Vitamin D And Your Baby

Vitamin D helps our bodies use calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.

Low levels of vitamin D in babies/children can cause rickets. Rickets can result in weak bones, delayed walking, bowed legs, and swollen wrists or ankles. If untreated, rickets can lead to failure to grow, deformed or broken bones, pneumonia and seizures.

Every year a number of babies/children in New Zealand are diagnosed with rickets.

When Can Babies Stop Getting Vitamin D Drops

Once your baby is drinking one liter of formula or fortified whole milk every day, they are getting enough vitamin D without drops. For formula-fed infants this could be within a few months of life but for infants who are exclusively breast fed this is not until they reach 1 year of age and are able to start drinking fortified whole milk. Ask your pediatrician when to stop giving your child vitamin D drops.

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What Other Conditions Are Associated With A Deficiency

Since the diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency has been increasing, its role in health and disease has been a focus of much research. Vitamin D deficiency has been proven to cause osteoporosis.

A variety of other conditions are suspected of being linked to vitamin D deficiency, but research is ongoing. These conditions include:

Why Do Babies Need Vitamin D Drops

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You might be wondering, why does my baby need vitamin D drops? Well, vitamin D is essential for babies because it helps the body regulate calcium and phosphate. Working together, calcium, phosphate and vitamin D build bones and help keep teeth and muscles strong and healthy.

When babies donât get enough vitamin D, they could potentially develop rickets, a rare disease that involves softening and weakening of the bones.

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How To Increase Vitamin D Levels Quickly

This nutrient, commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, truly has superpowers. But if you cant get enough of it, your body may react abnormally.

Health Shots got in touch with Deepti Lokeshappa, Senior Consultant Clinical Nutritionist, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, to find quick ways to boost vitamin D levels in the body.

Lokeshappa says, Vitamin D is essential for various processes all through the body, including bone growth and calcification. But in recent times, vitamin D insufficiency has become a widespread issue among people, particularly among the elderly. However, can boost your vitamin D levels quickly by following a few simple tips.

How To Use Baby Vitamin D3

Take vitamin D by mouth as directed. Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken after a meal but may be taken with or without food. Alfacalcidol is usually taken with food. Follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take as directed by your doctor. Your dosage is based on your medical condition, amount of sun exposure, diet, age, and response to treatment.

If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

If you are taking the chewable tablet or wafers, chew the medication thoroughly before swallowing. Do not swallow whole wafers.

If you are taking the rapidly-dissolving tablets, dry your hands before handling the medication. Place each dose on the tongue, allow it to dissolve completely, and then swallow it with saliva or water. You do not need to take this medication with water.

Certain medications can decrease the absorption of vitamin D. Take your doses of these medications as far as possible from your doses of vitamin D . It may be easiest to take vitamin D at bedtime if you are also taking these other medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should wait between doses and for help finding a dosing schedule that will work with all your medications.

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Why Your Breastfed Baby Needs Vitamin D

Youve chosen to breastfeed your baby. After all, its the best choice for feeding your newborn. But youve also been told to add a vitamin D supplement your childs diet. Vitamin D supplements, usually through easy to swallow drops, play an important role in your babys developing health. Infant formula is fortified with vitamin D, but if your child is breastfed, they may not be getting enough of this important vitamin.

Talk To Your Health Care Provider

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Always let your health care provider know what prenatal vitamins you are taking. Consider taking your supplement bottles with you to your first prenatal visit. Prenatal vitamins can be helpful ways of including vital nutrients in your daily meals. Vitamins and minerals are essential to the healthy development of your baby, as well as your own physical health.

Be sure to speak with your health care provider about nutrition before you conceive if you are planning to get pregnant in the near future, or as soon as you know you are pregnant.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends Nordic Naturals selection of liquid supplements including:

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When To Start Taking Vitamin D During Pregnancy

Many women who are actively trying for a baby start supplementing their diet before conception, as its advised that women take vitamin D throughout the course of their pregnancy, and when breastfeeding. While supplements can be taken from the first trimester, theres no need to panic if youve just found out youre expecting, and havent been getting your recommended levels of vitamin D. If youre worried, speak to a medical professional, who can advise on making dietary changes safely.

Vitamin D For Children

Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin because it can be made in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Many people assume that we get an adequate amount of vitamin D simply from drinking milk and a little exposure to the outdoors, but research has found this may not be the case.

Certain factors such as lifestyle changes, sunscreen use, and changes in diet have led to the majority of the population showing signs of vitamin D deficiency. The American Academy of Pediatrics increased the amount of vitamin D recommended for children and adolescents in 2014 due to new research on the life-long health benefits of vitamin D.

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Iron Supplements For Babies

Breast milk and formula both contain iron, but about the time your baby starts solid foods, the iron requirement jumps . At that point, it’s important for your baby to have a good source of iron from food. Good sources include pureed meat, iron-fortified cereal, and pureed legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, and pinto beans.

Your baby’s doctor may recommend an iron supplement if your baby doesn’t eat iron-rich foods or if your family is vegan or vegetarian. Babies born prematurely have less stored iron at birth and usually need to take an iron supplement.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed, it’s also recommended to give them an iron supplement once they’re 4 months old, since breast milk contains little iron and your baby’s iron stores will start running low around then. Once your baby starts solid foods at around 6 months old, they may not need an iron supplement anymore. Your baby’s doctor can help determine what your baby needs.

Where Does Vitamin D Come From

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The Sun

Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. It’s hard to get enough vitamin D from the sun, though. Most kids and adults spend lots of time indoors at school and work. When outdoors, it’s important to protect skin to prevent skin cancer and skin damage from too much sun exposure.


Very few foods have vitamin D naturally. The foods with the most are fatty fish , liver, eggs and fish oils. Kids don’t eat these foods a lot. That’s why food companies add vitamin D to milk, yogurt, baby formula, juice, cereal, and other foods.

Adding vitamin D to foods is called “fortifying.” It’s helpful, but it still may not be enough.


To get enough vitamin D, children often need to take a multivitamin with vitamin D or a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is sometimes labeled as vitamin D3.

You can buy vitamin D pills, gummies, chewables, liquids, and sprays in stores without a prescription. Ask your child’s health care provider for advice on choosing the right one.

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A Guide To Vitamin D For Babies

Approved by our Clinical team & vert May 24, 2021

If youre an expectant or new parent, its important to make sure your baby is getting all the nutrients they need. For young babies, breast milk is a great source of essential nutrients, however there are a couple of supplements theyll need as well, including vitamin D.

Why Do Babies Need Vitamin D

Babies need vitamin D for the same reason adults do. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. Both of these are important for keeping the bones, teeth, and muscles healthy.

The best way for adults to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. Between March and October we can spend time outside in the sun this generates vitamin D. Unfortunately, young babies cant get vitamin D through sun exposure because their skin is too sensitive and has to be shielded from UV rays. Read our baby suncare guide for tips to keep them safe in the sun.

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Barriers To Your Baby’s Vitamin D Intake

There are several barriers to your baby getting enough vitamin D at this important time of life.

  • Using sunscreen. Although sunscreen protects against skin cancer, it also prevents your babys skin from making vitamin D.
  • If you and your baby are spending a lot of time indoors.
  • Youre not getting enough vitamin D while breastfeeding your infant.
  • Vitamin D doesnt always pass through breastmilk. Nutritionally, you might think that because youre taking a prenatal or vitamin D supplement, that itll pass through your breastmilk to your baby. But this isnt always the case. Its hard to measure or know how much vitamin D your baby is actually getting.
  • Babies with darker pigmented skin need a lot more sun exposure to develop vitamin D.

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