During our last visit to the pediatrician, Kingsley was prescribed vitamin supplements. At first I could not comprehend why a thriving, bonny, breastfed baby should require extra vitamins. Wasn’t my milk good enough for our boy? Well apparently not. At least not when it comes to Vitamin D.
Our doctor mandated it: from now, at four months of age, our child is to take a daily dose of 400 international units (IU) of Vitamin D, in the form of a 1ml drop. He took pains to explain why. Living here, in Dubai – the sunniest nation on earth – does not mean that we residents get enough sun exposure to build up critical stores of this super vitamin. And if I cannot do it, what chance a baby?
Indeed there are a few factors that put our breastfed baby at risk for vitamin D deficiency (rickets) are:
- King has very little exposure to sunlight. We live in an urban area where tall buildings and pollution block sunlight. He is always inside during the day (too hot outside; he’ll desiccate like a coconut) and when he is outside, our child is covered and kept out of the sun.
- Breastmilk itself is not the greatest repository of Vitamin D either. The amount in human milk is small: around 100 IU/liter. Some quick math would tell you that this is four time less than is recommended.
So supplement we shall. Drops it is. Rickets it ain’t!!