Vitamin D-3 is the form of vitamin D produced in human skin after it has been exposed to sunlight. Babies frequently do not get enough sun to produce enough to supply their needs. Food sources include eggs, beef liver, cheese and fortified milk, but these foods are not available to very young babies and older babies usually consume insufficient amounts to supply all of their vitamin D needs. Liquid vitamin D-3 drops are available to supplement infants who need extra vitamin D.
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Importance for Infants
The recommended adequate intake of vitamin D for infants, as determined by the Institute of Medicine is 400 IU per day. Infant formulas contain enough vitamin D to supply all of a baby's needs, but breastfed babies can easily become deficient if they do not get a supplement. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving breastfed babies supplemental vitamin D-3 until they are weaned.
Liquid Vitamin D-3
Liquid vitamin D-3 comes in many different varieties, including versions for adults, children and infants. Liquid vitamin D-3 for infants typically comes in a plastic vial with a dropper that precisely measures out a 400 IU dose. Administering liquid vitamin D-3 to a baby is usually easier than attempting to give a tablet or capsule to an infant. Also, the dose provided in an infant liquid vitamin D-3 product is appropriate for children of this age, so no calculations are required to determine the right amount to give your child.
To give your breastfed baby liquid vitamin D-3, make sure to only use the dropper provided in the package. Using other droppers, even those provided with another brand of liquid vitamin D-3, could result in an overdose. Don't give your baby vitamin D-3 if he is currently consuming formula that contains vitamin D. Try to give your baby his liquid vitamin D-3 at the same time every day so that you don't forget and miss a dose. However, if you do miss a dose, simply resume giving vitamin D-3 the next day, since occasionally missing a day will not harm the baby as long as he gets his dose on most days.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be protected from the sun with sunscreen whenever they are outdoors, infants living in low latitudes may still get enough sun exposure to produce sufficient vitamin D-3 so that no supplementation is needed. Breastfeeding mothers who get a lot of sun may also produce sufficient vitamin D-3 to supply the needs of their infants, since the level of vitamin D in breast milk rises with maternal vitamin D levels.