Babies being breastfed may still need vitamin D supplementation, especially if breastfeeding lasts beyond a year, according to a new study from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.
The cross-sectional study involved 2,508 healthy urban children between one and five years, including breastfed children and children being introduced to solid foods in addition to breast milk. Researchers measured their serum vitamin D levels and determined the total duration of breastfeeding and vitamin D supplementation from parents’ responses to surveys.
"The longer the child breastfeeds beyond a year of age, the lower the vitamin D levels go,” the study’s senior author Jonathon Maguire, MD, pediatrician and researcher at St Michael's Hospital told Medscape.com. “That decline is entirely preventable with vitamin D supplementation. Children who are receiving vitamin D supplementation and breastfed over a year of age didn't have that decline in levels.”
"There's nothing wrong with breastfeeding, it's an incredible nutrient," he said. "The issue is about living in northern parts of the world where moms just don't have that much vitamin D themselves." The research was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Recently, researchers have questioned exactly how much vitamin D kids need. Recent work from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh suggests that the current recommended daily allowances of vitamin D for children may still be insufficient.