Is Breastmilk Deficient in Vitamin D?

Breastmilk does have vitamin D. Low amounts of it that do not meet the RDA. Some call it “deficient”. This is misleading.

Vitamin D is actually a prohormone, not a vitamin. Our skin synthesizes it when it is exposed to sunlight. It was never intended to be absorbed through diet, therefore it is not passed through breastmilk in any substantial quantity. Or any milk, for that matter. Breastmilk is not “deficient” in vitamin D because it is not SUPPOSED to contain large amounts of D.

Our lifestyle is deficient in sunlight, and therefore our bodies are deficient in D. Because we avoid sunlight, live sedentary lives indoors and slather on sunscreen when we go outside, many people are D deficient. This can cause rickets which are weakened bones (vitamin D is needed by the body for the body to use calcium properly) as well as other health issues.

The body stores vitamin D , and when mom is pregnant she passes the vitamin D stores on to baby, so babies are born with enough D to last through the winter without much sunlight. If mom’s D deficient, baby will be born D deficient or with lower stores of D and will need vitamin D drops. (NOT multivitamin drops)

Whether you supplement with D depends on this:

1- Do you live in a climate that gets enough sunlight?

2- Do you regularly expose your baby to sunlight without a hat or sunscreen? Is it safe to do so? (in Florida, for example, it may be too easy for baby to get a sunburn. Or in very northern climates it may be too cold to expose baby to enough sunlight with enough skin being bare. (Sunlight through windows doesn’t work.)

3- Were you regularly exposed to sunlight throughout your pregnancy?

4- People with darker skin have a harder time with vitamin D synthesis than people with lighter skin, so this needs to be taken into account as well.

There are a variety of “Just D” drops for breastfeeding babies that do not have the additional vitamins commonly found in the often-prescribed multi-vitamins.  Read the ingredients, as some of these still have unnecessary ingredients that your baby may be sensitive to.

  6 comments for “Is Breastmilk Deficient in Vitamin D?

  1. Whitney
    May 5, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Thank you so much for posting this! It is so frustrating when I hear people say, and when I read in articles that breastmilk “lacks” vitamin D and to make sure to give baby the supplement. Like regardless of the fact that we’ve been nursing our young for centuries, mother nature somehow forgot to throw vitamin D in there. lol

  2. Desiree
    May 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Having breastfed both of my children I was always told breastmilk is vitamin D deficient and needed to give a supplement. I always argued with them because WHY would breastmilk NOT have vitamin D.

  3. Krista
    May 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I was a little perplexed when my child’s pediatrician told me to pick up some vitamin drops that contained extra D in them. I thought breastmilk had all the nutrients a baby needs, you hear that constantly. I decided against getting the drops.

  4. Noemi
    July 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I had plms with my Vitamin D and Iron.. i went dr and WIC both said my body not working well iron and Vitmain D even my 1yr old baby they test his vitamin by draw blood said HIs iron is REALLY low iron and viamin D.. Well i dont drink MILK AT ALL.. we do eat lots mean and veg plus fruit.. Drink lots water.. So now we both on vitamin plus still breastfeeding see wht up.. I wish i can buy “Making Mama’s Milk & More” Since it private seller wish accept foodstamp.. want know wht ingrdent or how make it.. it have all vitamin in there.. oh well.. once my son decide weaned then pretty sure both of us back normal healthy

  5. Meagan
    June 26, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Can you write one on iron levels and supplements,next ;)?

  6. FTM
    August 22, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Wow, so glad I read this.. the only drops I could find to give my 3 week old had artificial strawberry flavor and carmel color added, not to mention how many sugars where probably hidden within… He hasn’t even had a real strawberry yet, why would i want to feed him the fake one?! I couldn’t bring myself to feed it to him and I was so worried that I might be depriving him of a much needed vitamin..

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