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Mothers must take vitamin D supplements to protect their newborns from crippling illnesses, a new study warns.
A fifth of American newborns (roughly 800,000 babies a year) are vitamin D deficient, figures show, leaving them at risk of brittle bones and rickets.
Mothers - Order - Infants - Dose - Nutrients
Mothers are urged to breastfeed, if possible, in order to give their infants the maximum dose of nutrients.
But new research by the Mayo Clinic has confirmed what many parents fear: breast milk rarely provides enough vitamin D for newborns.
Experts - Reason - Levels - Nutrients - Babies
Experts insist this should not be a reason to choose bottle-feeding - which is costly, with varying levels of nutrients, and often not easy for babies to digest.
Instead, the researchers say all new mothers should be told to take up a regime of vitamin D supplements - or feed the supplements direct to their child.
Doctors - Vitamin - D - Supplementation - Adherence
Doctors do already recommend daily vitamin D supplementation, but it is not widely-discussed and adherence is poor.
The new research published in the Annals of Family Medicine was an attempt to understand how mothers absorb this advice.
Dr - Tom - D - Thacher - Colleagues
Ultimately, Dr Tom D. Thacher and colleagues concluded the only effective way to eliminate vitamin D deficiency in infants is to make maternal supplement-taking a standard procedure.
The team surveyed 140 mothers with exclusively breastfed infants. They also spoke to 44 who used both breast milk and formula milk.
Half - Infants - Study - Vitamin - D
They found less than half of infants in the study were receiving the recommended daily vitamin D supplementation.
Given a choice, most mothers would prefer to supplement themselves to enrich their breast milk with vitamin D rather than supplement their infants.
Percent - Mothers - Infants - Vitamin - D
Only 55 percent of mothers supplemented their infants with vitamin D, and only 42 percent supplemented with the 400 IU recommended.
Regarding maternal preferences, they found 88 percent of mothers preferred supplementing themselves rather than their infants, and 57 percent preferred daily...
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