Pregnancy essentials: breastfeeding and the importance of vitamin D for your baby

Breastfeeding and vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for your baby both before and after birth to support their healthy bone growth and development. During the first six to eight weeks of life, the vitamin D levels of an infant are dependent on the mother’s vitamin D status at birth.1 Following this time, breastfed infants are generally reliant on sunlight exposure for adequate vitamin D as breast milk does not provide enough vitamin D on its own. 2 This appears to be particularly true for breastfeeding mothers who have limited sun exposure and/or inadequate vitamin D intake and especially if they have darker skin tones.3 This is because people with darker skin require longer sun exposure times to receive adequate vitamin D, which may not be achievable.

Do I need a vitamin D supplement if I’m breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding is highly recommended as a source of necessary nutrients and provides many other advantages, lactating women and nursing infants may benefit from additional vitamin D, particularly where sunlight exposure is limited and for those at risk of vitamin D insufficiency. This includes mothers who:

  • Live in more southerly locations of Australia, especially during winter
  • Have darkly pigmented skin and/or
  • Wear concealing clothing e.g. cover up for religious or cultural reasons 4
  • Avoid the sun

Breastfed infants may also require vitamin D supplementation if they are born to a mother who is at risk of insufficiency especially those who are dark‐skinned or veiled.5

Ostelin Pregnancy Essentials contains high strength vitamin D in combination with other important nutrients including omega 3 DHA, iodine and folic acid to support the health of both mother and baby prior to conception and during pregnancy and lactation. Ostelin Vitamin D Liquid Kids may be suitable for the prevention and/or treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in infants who are at an increased risk.