Article at a Glance
• Study finds that formula-fed babies under six months old and all breastfed babies need a vitamin D supplement.
• Vitamin D helps strengthen bones, boosts the immune system, and reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
If your baby is breastfed or under the age of six months, then the answer is probably yes.
A recent study found that in the U.S. only 5 to 37 percent of children under the age of one get the recommended amount of vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants get 400 international units a day.
Breastfed babies need a vitamin D supplement because breast milk is low in vitamin D. However, babies who are fed vitamin D fortified formula may also need the supplement. To get the recommended amount, babies need to drink 32 ounces of formula a day. Most babies under 6 months old do not drink that much formula. You can make sure your baby is getting enough vitamin D by using a vitamin D supplement, which is available in inexpensive drops over the counter.
Getting enough vitamin D helps strengthen babies’ bones and boosts their immune system. It can also reduce the chance that your baby will develop cancer, diabetes, or heart disease later in life.