There is no consensus on the effect of insufficient maternal diet on lactation, but vitamin D deficiency in the child leads to incomplete growth and osteomalacia. Nutrition guidelines at this stage focus on the baby’s needs, and this vitamin is one of the most important nutrients that should be present in the mother’s diet or taken as a supplement.
Although the body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight, time spent indoors reduces the body’s natural uptake of the vitamin.
Dairy formula products contain vitamin D, and when breastfeeding is relied on in whole or in part for the infant’s distinctive benefits, breast milk becomes the sole source of the vitamin.
Therefore, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that babies take vitamin D supplements while breastfeeding for the first 6 months, after which the baby gets the vitamin from solid foods.
But German studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency usually begins in the mother during pregnancy, and this means a low level in breast milk during lactation. Therefore, mothers are advised to take vitamin D supplements after childbirth and while breastfeeding.
Vitamin D is available in foods that the mother can eat, such as: sardines, canned fish that contains bones, eggs, milk, and mushrooms. Exposing the skin to direct sunlight and not behind glass is the best way to get the vitamin.
In addition to its vital benefit for the baby’s and mother’s bones, vitamin D boosts immunity and helps restore pre-pregnancy weight.