Breast milk lacks vitamin D

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Is there a downside to breastfeeding? A new report from the New York Times might have you thinking so. In a recent article, several studies monitoring a lack of vitamin D in infants might support that breastmilk is not enough to prevent things like rickets in children. The biggest fear is that the deficiency is more common than previously thought and is going undetected. Breastmilk apparently does not necessarily provide enough of the vitamin to children.

Doctors, of course, are rare to say anything at all negative about breastfeeding. Unlike perhaps even fifty years ago, women are being told that they simply must breastfeed, that they are wrong for not doing so, and that breastmilk is the ultimate wonder food for their infants. This may well be true, but the medical profession that's been pushing breastfeeding down our throats has also admitted to knowing there is a probable link between vitamin D deficiency and diseases like diabetes and cancer.

The answer, of course, is not to stop breastfeeding, but rather to augment a child's nutrition by adding vitamin drops, or, my favorite, cod liver oil (yummy!). The other pretty obvious answer is that if a woman is deficient in something, so, too, will be her breastmilk. Mothers should be getting plenty of vitamin D themselves in order to pass on the right amount to their infants. That should be good news to those of us who are committed to breastfeeding exclusively for as long as possible. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and my own pediatrician recommend supplementing with the vitamin D drops.

Thoughts? I for one drink enough milk while pregnant and nursing to keep a small dairy in business. Is it enough? Who knows. Did you supplement breastfeeding with vitamins for your infants or enjoy a little cod liver oil?

Pic by timtom.ch [surfin' USA].

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.