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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revealed that while breast milk is generally considered the best source of nutrition for babies, many are still unaware that it's low in vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from food, and is important for bone development. Children who are severely deficient in vitamin D can develop rickets, a disorder in which the bones weaken which can lead to fractures and skeletal deformities.

According to a study published in April in the journal Pediatrics, about 5-13% of breast-fed babies received vitamin D supplements between 2005 and 2007. These low numbers might stem from the misperception that breast milk contains everything the baby needs, experts say.

One way for nursing moms to ensure that their newborn gets adequate vitamin D in their diet is through supplements such as drops which can be given to breast-fed babies shortly after birth. The AAP recommends all children, including infants, get 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, an amount that is not possible to get from breast milk alone, experts say. And while people can also get vitamin D from sunlight, the AAP advises that infants younger than six months avoid exposure to direct sunlight due to skin cancer risk.

via LiveScience