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Vitamin D Drops for Your Baby

By Vicki A. Herrman, M.D.

Baby on the bed.

​​​Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin produced by natural exposure to sunlight that helps your new baby with their development and growth of the body and bones by absorbing calcium and phosphorus. Normal development for your baby relies on the sufficient amount of daily vitamin D.

What are vitamin D drops and does my baby need them?

A mother's breast milk is the best source of nutrients for a baby but the amount of vitamin D in breast milk may not be enough which may lead to your baby to have Rickets – a softening and weakening of the bones. Correcting the proper amount of vitamin D will generally solve most Rickets cases. While sun exposure is an important source of vitamin D, it is not recommended for babies younger than 6 months to be exposed to too much sun. This is why liquid vitamin D drops are so beneficial in the early stages of your newborn baby.

Vitamin D drops usage and benefits:

New lifestyle changes for mothers due to concerns with UV ray exposure and risks of cancer over the recent years show the benefits of the liquid drops in helping prevent vitamin D deficiency in infants – especially with mothers that tend to spend less time in the sun and use sunscreen more frequently than mothers in the past.

  • If you're breast-feeding or partially breast-feeding your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests giving your baby 400 international units (IU) of liquid vitamin D a day starting the first few days after birth.
  • Continue giving your baby the drops unless he or she can successfully drink 32 ounces (about 1 liter) per day of vitamin D-fortified formula.
  • Formula generally has vitamin D added in the formula so additional drops would not need to be added as a supplement.
  • Not all formulas are the same (be sure to check the nutrition facts).
  • As your baby becomes older, your baby can meet the daily vitamin D requirements in their solid foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified foods.
  • Most babies will not consistently be able to meet the daily requirements on the solid food alone as they might not like the food or do not eat the food consistently. This is especially true during the early years and having formula to drink with the meal can still be beneficial.

When giving your baby liquid vitamin D drops, it is important to remember an excessive dosage is not beneficial to the baby and can be just as harmful as a deficiency. Be sure to carefully read the instructions that come with the supplement and use only the dropper that's provided. Chewable and gummy vitamins that contain vitamin D are also available for older children.

If you have questions about your baby's need for vitamin D supplements, consult your baby's pediatrician. Be sure to ask your pediatrician before taking any vitamin supplements and learn about the correct amount of dosage for your baby because every baby and child is unique in their growth and development.