Babies are naturally at-risk of vitamin D deficiency.
All babies from birth to 12 months are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, whether they are exclusively or partially breastfed. Babies who take more than 500 ml of infant formula daily may not be at risk if their formula has vitamin D. Due to this reason, it’s important to talk to your baby’s doctor about vitamin D supplementation.
Be careful with sunlight exposure.
Now, you must be wondering: isn’t it that sunlight is a good source of vitamin D? Why can’t I bring my baby out in the sun for a little while?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend sunlight exposure to get sufficient vitamin D. Moreover, they highlight that babies younger than 6 months should be kept from direct sunlight as much as possible. Also, please do not apply any sunscreen on their skin.
Once they reach 6 months, you can talk to their doctor about an appropriate sunscreen lotion or cream.
Encourage your baby to exercise.
As mentioned earlier, exercise also helps build strong bones. Hence, as you give your baby calcium-rich foods for bones and perhaps, vitamin D supplementation, consider the following bone-strengthening practices:
- For babies who are not yet walking, encourage them to play actively on the floor.
- For babies who can now walk, allow them 3 hours of physical activity. Don’t worry; they don’t have to consume those 3 hours straight – you can spread them out throughout the day. Include simple, bone-strengthening “workouts” such as climbing and jumping.
Learn more about Baby Nutrition here.