Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Breastfeeding and Vitamin D Deficiency

Both my sister, Shannon, and husband, Nathan, sent me this article today from the New York Times about breastfeeding and vitamin D deficiency. (I think they most both read the NYT daily).

Not to downplay the risk of a vitamin D deficiency, or Rickets, but I found the article to be slightly frustrating and annoying. I realize that I am very pro-breastfeeding (probably to a fault at times), and tend to get my panties in a wad about people saying that breastmilk is not sufficient nourishment for an infant. However, I truly don't think that the "problem" is breastmilk.

Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem in some breastfed babies...not most or all, but some. The real problem isn't that breastmilk is not complete, but that there are other factors that come into play...does the mother have a deficiency, is the baby getting enough exposure to sunlight, does the baby have darker skin that makes it hard to generate vitamin D, does the baby live in a far norther region where there isn't as much sunlight? Really, this is more of a deficiency in exposure to sunlight and in the mother's diet. I really like what Kellymom had to say about this.

I still say breast is best, but will be sure that my babies get some sunlight today. ;)


Haley Frederick said...

Our dietician at work told one of our families whose child had Rickets that breast milk is completely sufficient for the first year, but after that many babies need more vit D than what is in breast milk.

Stephanie said...

I agree that after a year kids need more than just breastmilk. If your child is still nursing at that point they need to be getting a really well-balanced diet, plus plenty of time in the sun (without sunscreen).

Obviously vitamin D dificiency shouldn't be a problem here in Texas, especially since my kiddos are light skinned. If we lived in Wisconsin, or if my kids had dark skin, I would supplement with vitamin D.