Jana Zwilling

Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Exclusive breastfeeding has been proven to be the best sole source of nutrition for infants until six months of age when supplemental foods may be added. Controversies have arisen regarding the necessity for vitamin D supplementation prior to six months of age in exclusively breastfed infants. There are inconsistent practices and information provided to parents regarding the need to provide vitamin D supplementation to their infants. Therefore, the puqJose of this project was to determine the cmTent evidence for vitamin D supplementation in exclusively breastfed infants in the first six months of life. Current evidence supports supplementing exclusively breastfed infants with vitamin D regardless of skin color, latitude, or maternal vitamin D status.

A comprehensive review of the literature was completed to determine the current evidence for vitamin D supplementation in infants. Six areas were investigated including: health problems associated with low intake of vitamin D, cmTent guidelines for vitamin D intake, the composition of breastmilk, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of vitamin D, and the appropriateness of supplementation and current healthcare provider practices. The main focus of this project was primarily on practice discrepancies amongst health care providers regarding the recommendation of vitamin D supplementation. At the culmination of this project, local providers were educated about current evidence and guidelines srnTounding vitamin D supplementation and breastfed infants in an attempt to influence standards of practice