Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Compliance When It Comes to Making Sure Breastfed Babies Get Their Vitamin D: There’s Another Way to Do It

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief       

          We are all aware of the need to supplement breastfed infants with vitamin D, especially in the first six months of life before the introduction of other vitamin D-enriched foods into their diet.  But we are also aware that remembering to give the baby vitamin D each day and making sure the baby easily takes their daily dose of D may be more easily said than done. So what about giving breastfeeding mothers a high dose of vitamin D daily and seeing if that is equivalent to a baby getting their daily requirement?  
       Hollis et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1669) report on a randomized controlled trial of giving a group of lactating mothers 400, 2400 or 6400 IU of vitamin D while their babies got the recommended 400 IU if mothers got 400 IU as well, and other infants got 0 IU with the maternal higher doses.  So what happened?  Were there side effects of the higher doses in the mothers, and did the higher doses result in adequate vitamin D levels in babies even if they were not given their daily 400 IU?  The results may surprise and delight those of you, especially those looking for an alternative strategy to needing to directly supplement your youngest patients who breastfeed.   
      To add further import to the findings of this study, Dr. Lydia Furman (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-2312), a member of our editorial board and an expert on helping mothers with breastfeeding, offers her insight on what we should take away from this study.  After reading the article and commentary that we are early-releasing this week, would you consider trying this strategy?  Keep us abreast of your thoughts by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter or posting your comments on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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