Vitamin D

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D helps your child build strong bones and prevent rickets. Rickets is a condition of softening of the bones that can occur in growing children.

When Does My Child Need Vitamin D? And How Much?

All children need vitamin D beginning shortly after birth.

  • Children younger than 12 months old need 400 IU alert icon of vitamin D each day.
  • Children 12 to 24 months old need 600 IU of vitamin D each day.
Did You Know?

Your child’s age matters when it comes to cow’s milk. For children older than 12 months, plain whole cow’s milk is a great source of vitamin D.

Most cow’s milk sold in stores is fortified with vitamin D. For babies younger than 12 months, cow’s milk is not recommended because it may put your baby at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your baby’s kidneys to handle easily and does not have the right amount of nutrients your baby needs.

How Can I Make Sure My Child is Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Did You Know?

Your child’s age matters when it comes to cow’s milk. For children older than 12 months, plain whole cow’s milk is a great source of vitamin D.

Most cow’s milk sold in stores is fortified with vitamin D. For babies younger than 12 months, cow’s milk is not recommended because it may put your baby at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your baby’s kidneys to handle easily and does not have the right amount of nutrients your baby needs.

For babies who are fed only breast milk or who receive both breast milk and infant formula:

  • Breast milk usually does not provide all the vitamin D a baby needs, so breastfed babies will need a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D per day beginning shortly after birth.

For babies who are receiving only infant formula:

  • Vitamin D supplementation is not needed.
  • Infant formulas are fortified with vitamin D.
  • Learn more about how to choose an infant formula.

For children who have started eating solid foods:

Make sure your child’s diet has foods with vitamin D. Some examples of foods with vitamin D include:

  • Some fishexternal icon (for example, salmon or light canned tuna).
  • Eggs.
  • Vitamin D-fortified alert icon products like plain whole cow’s milk (for children 12 months and older), yogurt, cereals, and some 100% juices.

Vitamin D supplements are another way to help children get enough vitamin D every day. Talk with your doctor or nurse about vitamin D at your child’s next check-up if you have questions.

Learn more about vitamin D and sunlight for your baby.

For more information on vitamin D, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Vitamin D Recommendationexternal icon.