According to the Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Breastmilk contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals except Vitamin D and fluoride.”
What is fluoride and is it necessary?
According to Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Starting at 6 months of age, children who are breastfeeding and not drinking any water (with fluoride) need 0.25 mg of fluoride drops each day to prevent tooth decay.”
According to Ask Dr. Sears: Fluoride is a naturally-occurring trace mineral, but unlike other minerals found in water, “it has a narrow risk/benefit ratio. This means that just the right amount of fluoride helps the teeth and too much harms the teeth, causing a condition called fluorosis.”
According to the 1992 U.S. Census, of cities that add fluoride to the public water supply, most use fluorosilicic acid, a by-product of a phosphate fertilizer.
According to Dr. Ruth Lawrence, author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, via Kellymom.org: “evidence supports the contention that there is adequate fluoride in human milk, and fluorosis from excessive amounts is a concern.”
Before considering supplemental fluoride, find out the amount of fluoride you and your baby are already exposed to via the fluoridated water you drink, fluoride added to toothpaste, foods made with fluoridated water, fluoride sprayed on crops, etc. It adds up.
Do breastfed babies need Vitamin D supplements?
According to Seattle Children’s Hospital: Babies “need to receive 400 IU per day of vitamin D” via over-the-counter drops until they can drink “at least 32 oz of formula or cow’s milk per day.”
In my earlier article, “Are breastfed babies in Seattle getting enough Vitamin D?,” I pointed out that the Vitamin D in breast milk, although typically less than the amount in fortified formula, is highly bioavailable. Breast milk contains substances that facilitate and enhance the absorption of nutrients. Even if your baby can drink the recommended 32 ounces(!) per day of enriched formula or cow’s milk, there’s no guarantee her body can utilize the supplemental form of Vitamin D.
Mothers and babies both require regular exposure to the UVB radiation in sunlight for synthesis of their own Vitamin D hormone (it’s not really a vitamin). This is the most effective way to get the appropriate form of Vitamin D that we need.
Discussion: Do you think Seattle is breastfeeding-friendly?
Follow on Facebook: Seattle Breastfeeding Examiner
Breastfeeding Blog: Breastfeeding Happiness