16 doctors weighed in:

If I am exclusively breastfeeding, could my baby develop rickets?

16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Vered Lewy-Weiss
Pediatrics - Endocrinology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Vitamin supplement

Recommendations for breast fed infants include supplementing with vitamins, polyvisol, which contains vitamin d also.
Vitamin d doesn't really pass through breast milk, so has to be supplemented to the breast fed infant. Vitamin d deficiency is the most common cause of rickets.

In brief: Vitamin supplement

Recommendations for breast fed infants include supplementing with vitamins, polyvisol, which contains vitamin d also.
Vitamin d doesn't really pass through breast milk, so has to be supplemented to the breast fed infant. Vitamin d deficiency is the most common cause of rickets.
Dr. Vered Lewy-Weiss
Dr. Vered Lewy-Weiss
Thank
Dr. Paul Trani
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Unlikely

Vitamin d is important in the prevention of rickets, but most babies will get some vitamin d from the sun, as well as their diet once they're old enough for food.
Still, there is not vitamin d in breast milk, so it's important for breast-fed babies to get vitamin d supplementation to prevent low levels of vitamin d.

In brief: Unlikely

Vitamin d is important in the prevention of rickets, but most babies will get some vitamin d from the sun, as well as their diet once they're old enough for food.
Still, there is not vitamin d in breast milk, so it's important for breast-fed babies to get vitamin d supplementation to prevent low levels of vitamin d.
Dr. Paul Trani
Dr. Paul Trani
Thank
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Vitamin D guidelines

The american academy of pediatrics recommends infants that are exclusively breastfed, be supplemented with 400 iu (international units) of vitamin d per day.
These supplements are readily available at most grocery stores.

In brief: Vitamin D guidelines

The american academy of pediatrics recommends infants that are exclusively breastfed, be supplemented with 400 iu (international units) of vitamin d per day.
These supplements are readily available at most grocery stores.
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy
Thank
Dr. Jeffrey Min
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Possibly

Rickets can occur to babies due to low amounts of vitamin d.
Most exclusively breastfed babies are usually low in vitamin d due to many mothers being low in vitamin d. Therefore there is a recommendation for all exclusively breastfed babies to take over-the-counter vitamin d supplements (1ml once per day) to avoid rickets and vitamin d deficiency.

In brief: Possibly

Rickets can occur to babies due to low amounts of vitamin d.
Most exclusively breastfed babies are usually low in vitamin d due to many mothers being low in vitamin d. Therefore there is a recommendation for all exclusively breastfed babies to take over-the-counter vitamin d supplements (1ml once per day) to avoid rickets and vitamin d deficiency.
Dr. Jeffrey Min
Dr. Jeffrey Min
Thank
Dr. Jon Ahrendsen
Family Medicine

In brief: Rarely Y, usually no

It is felt the vit d in breastmilk is more bioavailable to the infant then usual vit d in the diet.
And sunlight is not totally bad. Human bodies will make their own vitamin d when exposed to sunlight. No question too much sun is bad for babies and adults, but a little bit is good. Some people thing vitamin d should be thought of as a hormone and not a vitamin since the human body will make it.

In brief: Rarely Y, usually no

It is felt the vit d in breastmilk is more bioavailable to the infant then usual vit d in the diet.
And sunlight is not totally bad. Human bodies will make their own vitamin d when exposed to sunlight. No question too much sun is bad for babies and adults, but a little bit is good. Some people thing vitamin d should be thought of as a hormone and not a vitamin since the human body will make it.
Dr. Jon Ahrendsen
Dr. Jon Ahrendsen
Thank
Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

This is very rare, but can occur if for some reason you are deficient in vitamin d.
A simple vitamin d supplement given to the baby seems to prevent this.

In brief: Yes

This is very rare, but can occur if for some reason you are deficient in vitamin d.
A simple vitamin d supplement given to the baby seems to prevent this.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Dr. Mark Diamond
Thank
Dr. Thomas Seck
Pediatrics

In brief: Very unlikely

Your pediatrician should recommend a vitamin d supplement for the baby.
That will eliminate even the small risk of rickets connected with breastfeeding exclusively. These days we practically eliminate any sunlight from a baby's daily life. Biologically, even babies need sunlight to make sufficient vitamin d. Without that sunlight, supplementation has become important.

In brief: Very unlikely

Your pediatrician should recommend a vitamin d supplement for the baby.
That will eliminate even the small risk of rickets connected with breastfeeding exclusively. These days we practically eliminate any sunlight from a baby's daily life. Biologically, even babies need sunlight to make sufficient vitamin d. Without that sunlight, supplementation has become important.
Dr. Thomas Seck
Dr. Thomas Seck
Thank
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Pediatrics

In brief: YES

To avoid this we recommend 400 international units of vitamin d or 1 ml of d visol or polyvisol daily taken with a feeding for all babies getting less than 32 ounces of formula daily (this includes all exclusively breast fed infants).

In brief: YES

To avoid this we recommend 400 international units of vitamin d or 1 ml of d visol or polyvisol daily taken with a feeding for all babies getting less than 32 ounces of formula daily (this includes all exclusively breast fed infants).
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Thank
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics

In brief: Only if low VitaminD

Generally, a baby can develop rickets if he is very low in vitamin d.
Babies who drink only breast milk should take a vitamin supplement (as instructed or prescribed by the baby's doctor) to be sure they get enough vitamin d. Mom should also be taking vitamin d supplements, unless she gets lot of vitamin d from her daily food and drink.

In brief: Only if low VitaminD

Generally, a baby can develop rickets if he is very low in vitamin d.
Babies who drink only breast milk should take a vitamin supplement (as instructed or prescribed by the baby's doctor) to be sure they get enough vitamin d. Mom should also be taking vitamin d supplements, unless she gets lot of vitamin d from her daily food and drink.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
Thank
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes! Give Vitamin D

Yes. Though breastmilk is the best form of infant nutrition for most babies, it does not excrete vitamin d in significant quantities to prevent a bone mineralization problem called rickets.
I had a patient develop this problem at 18 months of age when he suddenly developed bone pain & swelling. It is a treatable condition, but preferably preventable by taking 400 iu of vitamin d per day.

In brief: Yes! Give Vitamin D

Yes. Though breastmilk is the best form of infant nutrition for most babies, it does not excrete vitamin d in significant quantities to prevent a bone mineralization problem called rickets.
I had a patient develop this problem at 18 months of age when he suddenly developed bone pain & swelling. It is a treatable condition, but preferably preventable by taking 400 iu of vitamin d per day.
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Thank
Dr. Scott Katz
Pediatrics

In brief: Theoretically, Yes

However, rickets can be prevented by supplementing your infant with a vitamin containing 400 iu of vitamin d, and exposing them to sunlight.
Breastfeeding has many benefits, so don't let this fear prevent you from breastfeeding.

In brief: Theoretically, Yes

However, rickets can be prevented by supplementing your infant with a vitamin containing 400 iu of vitamin d, and exposing them to sunlight.
Breastfeeding has many benefits, so don't let this fear prevent you from breastfeeding.
Dr. Scott Katz
Dr. Scott Katz
Thank
Dr. Stefania Lima
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

Quoting the most recent aap policy, "it is now recommended that all infants and children, including adolescents, have a minimum daily intake of 400 iu of vitamin d beginning soon after birth.
The current recommendation replaces the previous recommendation of a minimum daily intake of 200 iu/day of vitamin d supplementation beginning in the first 2 months after birth." that is to prevent rickets.

In brief: Yes

Quoting the most recent aap policy, "it is now recommended that all infants and children, including adolescents, have a minimum daily intake of 400 iu of vitamin d beginning soon after birth.
The current recommendation replaces the previous recommendation of a minimum daily intake of 200 iu/day of vitamin d supplementation beginning in the first 2 months after birth." that is to prevent rickets.
Dr. Stefania Lima
Dr. Stefania Lima
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Dennis Higginbotham
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
27 years in practice
49M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors