If you’re like most new parents, you’re probably bombarded with a never-ending list of things you need to do to keep your baby healthy and safe.
From ensuring they get enough sleep to keeping them away from harmful substances, it’s a full-time job!
But did you know that there’s one crucial element that’s often overlooked when it comes to newborn care? We’re talking about vitamin D, of course!
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is essential for strong bones and teeth, as well as a healthy immune system.
And while babies can get small amounts of vitamin D through fortified formula or breast milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants receive a daily supplement of 400 IU (international units) beginning in the first few days after birth.
So why is vitamin D so important, and how can you make sure your baby is getting enough? Read on to find out!
How Vitamin D Works
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s present in a few foods (including fish, eggs, and mushrooms) and produced naturally by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
Once it’s absorbed, vitamin D travels to the liver and kidneys, where it’s transformed into an active form of the vitamin that our bodies can use.
Active vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium from the foods we eat and regulates how much calcium is present in our blood.
That’s important because calcium is essential for the development of strong bones and teeth—and without enough calcium, babies are at risk for developing rickets, a condition that causes softening and weakening of the bones.
In addition to its role in calcium absorption, vitamin D also strengthens the immune system by helping our bodies produce antimicrobial peptides—compounds that attack bacteria and viruses.
This means that getting enough vitamin D can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing respiratory infections, ear infections, and even bronchiolitis.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Babies
While babies can get small amounts of vitamin D through fortified formula or breast milk, they don’t usually get enough from these sources to meet their needs.
In fact, research shows that as many as 1 in 4 infants worldwide may be deficient in this vital nutrient.
Supplementing with 400 IU of vitamin D per day is an easy way to ensure your baby gets all the sunshine they need—even on those dreary winter days!
And there’s no need to worry about overdosing; unlike other vitamins (such as A and C), it’s extremely difficult to get too much vitamin D from supplements or sunlight exposure.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for all infants—but newborns are especially vulnerable to deficiency due largely to their limited exposure to sunlight. Supplementing with 400 IU per day is an easy way to ensure your baby gets all the sunshine they need—even on those dreary winter days!
And there’s no need to worry about overdosing; unlike other vitamins (such as A and C), it’s extremely difficult to get too much vitamin D from supplements or sunlight exposure. So go ahead and give your little one a dose of sunshine today!
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