There are trends in health care. Some are beneficial and some are not. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be give vitamin D drops. My initial reaction is breastmilk is the perfect food and babies don’t need anything else! But let us be honest, we live in a malnourished culture with processed food and poor guts and we want to give our kids the absolute best. So I decided to look closer into giving vitamin D to babies.

This is what I found. The level of vitamin D a baby has at birth is directly related to the level the mom had in pregnancy.  So the best way to insure your baby starts with a good vitamin D level is for the mom to have it in pregnancy. Also, the amount of vitamin D breastfed babies have long term is directly related to the mom’s vitamin D level. So again, the best way for baby to have a high enough vitamin D level is for the mom to have a healthy level.

I am not saying it is never a good idea to give vitamin D drops to babies, but it would not be my first choice. A better plan than giving vitamin D drops to breastfed babies would be:

  1. Every pregnant woman should have her vitamin D level checked and address this if it is low. If they were low in pregnancy then their vitamin D level should be checked postpartum as well.

  2. If a baby is at high risk of low vitamin D then they should be checked. High risk babies are:

  • Babies who have very little exposure to light (such as those who are born in the winter or in areas where there is less sunlight).

  • Babies who have darker skin and so need more sunlight to absorb and activate vitamin D.

  • Babies whose mothers were very low in vitamin D.

If you are interested in getting your vitamin D level check with a dried blood spot test you can do it at home with this kit.

My favorite way for Moms to increase vitamin D levels is to get it from cod liver oil. Use my amazon affiliate link to get high quality cod liver oil. Green Pasture Blue Ice Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend – 120 Capsules

Another great option for raising vitamin D is by using a UV sun light. In a short amount of time every day UV lamps have been shown to raise vitamin D levels. This is safe for both baby and mom.  I liked this one: Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal, Portable Light Therapy Energy Lamp

When a baby gets vitamin D from breast milk or sunlight, either natural or from a UV light, their body knows how much to make and how to best use it. When it is from a synthetic supplement, unless the baby’s level is being checked it is hard to know how much they need.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is well known for its role of working  with calcium to promote healthy bones and prevent rickets.

Vitamin D is also crucial for the immune system as it effects the innate and adaptive immune responses in the body. Deficiency in vitamin D is connected to increased autoimmune disease and infections.

Vitamin D levels are also connected to depression. This can be especially important for the mom to monitor in the postpartum.

Should you give your baby a vitamin D supplement? Well, if they are really low and at risk then yes, for a short time. But routinely it would be better for mom’s level to be up and baby gets it through breast milk and sunlight, either natural or from a UV lamp. Vitamin D from these sources is a two for one deal; both the mom and baby benefit.


Vitamin D activity of breast milk in women randomly assigned to vitamin D3 supplementation during pregnancy.

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