Breastfed Infants Need Extra Nutrients
Breastfeeding is by far the best way to nurture babies, but did you know that they too need supplementation? This is actually a medically proven fact according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) . The mother’s milk may be rich in many nutrients but one that is often lacking is Vitamin D. Most lactating mothers are Vitamin D deficient and are hence unable to provide enough of it for the baby through breast milk.
Why is Vitamin D important?
It is responsible for the formation of strong bones and many other healthy needs. Vitamin D deficiency leads to a condition known as rickets in which the legs do not develop normally and the bones on the thighs become bow-shaped. Such a child is unable to walk properly.
What is the solution to Vitamin D deficiency?
Here are two options. The first is exposure to direct sunlight. Infants should have some time to bask in the sun at least once a day. The other option is supplementation as Spiqy suggests. There are many reasons why the latter is more reliable. Cultural and religious beliefs that encourage covered clothing affect the exposure to sunlight for infants. Another challenge is the increase in skin malignancies due to exposure to ultra violet rays. This leaves supplementation as the better option.
One way how the need for Vitamin D in infants could be solved would be for breastfeeding mothers to take high amounts of Vitamin D supplements. The safety of this practice however is yet to be confirmed. The best way to go about it is to give the supplement to the children. The recommended dosage is 400 IU everyday for each infant. This should be started within the first days of life. According to studies, Vitamin D3 supplementation given as an oil emulsion induces significant increase in the levels of Vitamin D in the body.
Other than using medically designed supplements like Vitamin D, there are other ways to supplement breast milk so as to ensure that the baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs. It may be necessary to supplement when the mother may have undergone breast surgery, breast milk insufficient, physical separation or a serious illness is keeping her from breastfeeding the child. When the child is not gaining weight properly, has jaundice, premature or has cleft lip the supplementation may also be necessary. In these cases breastfeeding can be supplemented by using breast milk from another mother, using formula milk or bottled breast milk. Mixing breast milk and formula in the same bottle is also a way of supplementing breast mill. Vitacost.com, the renown supplements and health food store, has a line of products which boost the health of breast milk and increase its nutrient levels. Vitacost promo codes can also be applied for a 10% off discount.