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Vitamin D status of exclusively breastfed infants aged 2–3 months
  1. Clare Rosemary Wall1,
  2. Cameron Charles Grant2,3,
  3. Ianthe Jones1
  1. 1Discipline of Nutrition, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3Department of General Paediatrics, Starship Children's Hospital, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Clare Rosemary Wall, Discipline of Nutrition, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, 85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 1142, New Zealand; c.wall{at}


Background New Zealand in 2008 adopted WHO policy which recommends that all infants are exclusively breast fed until 6 months of age. The benefits of this policy for the infant are undisputed; however, this policy has the potential to adversely impact on infant vitamin D status. A number of countries now recommend that all breastfed infants receive daily vitamin D supplementation of 400 IU to prevent rickets. New Zealand has no policy on the vitamin D supplementation of ‘low-risk’ breastfed infants. There are no data on the vitamin D status of exclusively breastfed infants in the first few months of life in New Zealand.

Aim To describe serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations in exclusively breastfed infants aged 2–3 months.

Design/methods Healthy term exclusively breastfed infants who were receiving no vitamin D supplements were enrolled over a 15-month period. A capillary blood sample was obtained from each infant. Serum 25(OH)D was measured using isotope-dilution liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.

Results 94 infants were enrolled (mean age 10 weeks). Median 25(OH)D concentration was 53 nmol/l (IQR 14–100 nmol/l). 23 (24%) infants had serum 25(OH)D concentration <27.5 nmol/l. Infants enrolled during winter had a median (IQR) 25(OH)D serum concentration of 21 nmol/l (14,31). Infants enrolled during summer had a median (IQR) 25(OH)D concentration of 75 nmol/l (55 100) (winter vs summer, p<0.0001).

Conclusions Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in exclusively breastfed infants in New Zealand. Vitamin D supplementation should be considered as part of New Zealand's child health policy.

  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D
  • Breastfeeding
  • New Zealand

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