I live in Phoenix, Arizona — one of the top five sunniest cities in the U.S. The sun shines here roughly 310 days per year, so sun protection is kind of a big deal.
As a pasty-white desk jockey, I’ve employed a plethora of sun-defense strategies since moving to “the Valley of the Sun.” From SPF to sunbrellas, I’ve been militant about keeping my skin looking more Edward Cullen and less Lindsay Lohan. That was, until last year, when a prenatal blood test revealed I was low in vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin.
It turns out that between my desk job and my sunblock, I was drastically underexposed to the UV rays required for vitamin D production. Although foods like fatty fish and vitamin D-fortified milk and cereal can help adults meet daily requirements, it’s nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D through diet alone. “Easy enough,” I thought, “I’ll just ease up on the sun protection.”
But vitamin D deficiency isn’t so quickly remedied. It takes months of sun exposure and vitamin supplementation to reverse a significant vitamin deficiency. When another blood test three months postpartum showed that my vitamin D levels were still a little low, I started to worry about my newborn, who was exclusively breastfed.
I casually brought this concern to my pediatrician and was shocked by what I learned: the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends ALL breastfed babies get DAILY vitamin D supplementation starting at birth.
400 IU of liquid vitamin D is the recommended daily dosage for breastfed babies (and formula-fed babies drinking less than 1 liter or 33.8 ounces daily) regardless of the mother’s vitamin D levels. Why? Because not enough vitamin D is transmitted through modern breastmilk to meet the needs of infants, and vitamin D is pivotal in the production of strong bones.
Thankfully, my daughter exhibited no signs of vitamin D deficiency (which, in extreme cases, may include poor growth and delayed teething). Still, I went straight from the pediatrician to the pharmacist and we’ve been supplementing ever since. Our daily routine includes one drop of Mommy’s Bliss Vitamin D Organic Drops before breakfast and 20 minutes of sunshine every day (outdoors and SPF-free).
I don’t know how I missed the memo on vitamin D, but I’m clearly not the only one. Rickets, a softening of the bones during early childhood that can lead to fractures and leg deformity, was most commonly seen in the 19th century but is making something of a comeback due to widespread vitamin D deficiency.
Products like Mommy’s Bliss Vitamin D Organic Drops make it easy to care for a growing infant’s needs: one drop a day and you’re meeting their vitamin D requirements. Getting the word out is the real hurdle — no child should have to suffer for lack of sun.
How do you make sure your kids get enough of the “sunshine vitamin?”
This post is sponsored by Mommy’s Bliss. I received free product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are truthful and my own.