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Thread: sun exposure for vitamin D?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    436

    Question sun exposure for vitamin D?

    I'm trying to decide whether to give my 4.5 month old son the vitamin D drops prescribed by my pediatrician. My previous pediatrician actually first prescribed them at 2 months, but because they had floride and the AAP recommends no floride until 6 months, I didn't give them. Now the new pediatrician says she usually likes to start the drops at 4 months, with the floride. I have the drops (actually vitamins D,C and A with floride), but somehow I always "forget" to give them...I can get them over the counter without floride (TriViSol), but that version has iron as well.

    I'd much rather my son get his vitamin D from sun exposure. So we asked the pediatrician about that, and she said NO sun exposure, and also NO sunscreen (except rarely, perhaps for a day at the beach). We take him outside in the baby bjorn all the time, with a hat, but his cheeks do get some exposure and sometime get a little ruddy. So now we're struggling to keep him completely sheltered from the sun (difficult in a bjorn!). However, that way he doesn't get any vitamin D. The guidelines I've read advise getting about 2hours a week or 17 minutes a day without a hat! He is not getting that much as he always has a hat. We do leave hands exposed and some sun always makes it to his face, but it's very limited.

    How have the rest of you resolved this dilemma? I've read the recommended LLL and kellymom pages but they still leave me in doubt as to what to do.

    Annie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    59

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    First of all, I beieve there is a TriViSol w/o iron. I'm not a doctor, but I disagree with the "no sun at all" recommendation. I think (and studies about vit. D preventing several forms of cancer and depression support) that some sun is healthy and our bodies are designed to need it. I live in New England. In the winter, I took Maya out with sunglasses on and a warm hat. She got sun exposure on the rest of her face. Now that it's warmer, I'm taking her out with a sunhat on. She's getting exposure on part of her face and her hands and feet when it's warm enough to take off her socks. I take her out for at least half an hour whenever it's not raining, so I figure that's plenty of sun exposure. If she's only going to be out for a short time (say 15 min.), I leave off the hat. (My daughter is 9 months, by the way.)

    Also, if you figure out the amount of time your son is outside w/o a hat (going to and from the car running errands, for example), that alone may be 2 hours. That plus the time his hands and part of his face are exposed during your walks is probably plenty.


    Jennifer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    Your ped actually told you that your child should NEVER be exposed to sunlight, OR wear sunscreen? What, does she think mothers with young children are supposed to be nocturnal creatures? Or just stuck in the house with the blinds closed all day long? I'm baffled.

    I refused the vitamin drops when my son was an infant. Our pediatrician at that time prescribed them routinely at (I think) the 4mo well-child visit. I had read that exclusively breastfed infants do not need vitamin supplements, and so I told the doctor politely that I probably would not fill the prescription. He very condescendingly said, "It's either give these drops or give him a little formula every day," and that's when I knew we were going to change doctors. (Guess he didn't understand that "give your baby formula" is fightin' words to many breastfeeding mothers.)

    I think how much sun exposure and when to use sunscreen depends a lot on where you live and how easily your baby may sunburn. But it's my understanding that a few minutes a day of sunlight on hands and face is all that is needed for the body to produce adequate vitamin D. I wouldn't stress about it hugely -- get outdoors for your own mental health, and don't let your baby sunburn, and I'm sure he'll be fine. I've read that the increase in childhood rickets (caused by lack of vitamin D) in recent years primarily comes from certain populations who either don't get ANY sunlight (northern latitudes, very modest dress) or who eat very strict vegan diets and rarely to outside. It really isn't a mainstream health problem, although the pharmaceuticals have done a good job convincing docs that it's a major health threat.

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    I believe that if your getting enough vitamin D in your diet, your baby would getting enough of it as well though BF. I can't believe the pediatrician told you not to go outside! I've never met anyone that was sunburned from being in the sun for 10 or 15 mins. Some fresh air and a little sun goes a long way, so put a hat on your babe and go for walk!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1,813

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    Well, I'm not a Dr. but I do try to keep up informed on a lot a of health issues, I'm the annoying patient that ask to much and even questioned them. Anyway, the no sunscreen rule for the first few months was and old way for the Drs to try to avoid that the parents overexpose the babies to the sun, they thought if they didn't put sunscreen they wouldn't take them out and exposed them for too long. Well, they notice that it really didn't work and parents kept overexposing the babies and WITHOUT sunscreen. So they decide to lift that rule, so it's o.k. to use sunscreen now. The only concern now it's an allergic reaction to the lotion, but that can happen with anything and even in an adult, it will be wise to try the lotion in small area of your baby skin before lathering all over. Go enjoyed the sun with your little one but do it responsibly, and don't forget to use sunscreen on yourself too. Summer it's just around the corner!! Yeii!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    It sounds like your pediatrican has scared you into believing that vit d is an absolute necessity for your baby. Unfortunately the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that ALL babies, regardless of ethnicity or geographic location receive Vit D supplements. The truth of the matter though is that Vit D deficency is extremely rare. Perhaps the above poster was on to something when she mentioned no sun/no sunscreen -- perhaps we saw a rise in Vit D deficiencies when this blanket recommendation came out. I don't know, I'm just speculating.

    Kellymom.com has great info on this and if you still aren't convinced, try Askdrsears.com and follow Kellymom.com's citations for her information. Her info is based on evidence. I'd like to see what the AAP based their recommendation on. I'm extremely skeptical of blanket recommendations. Babies are individuals and each situation is unique. Personally, I'd look to your own personal situation when trying to decide.

    That said, none of my children have ever received Vit D supplements (or vitamin any supplements for that matter).

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    436

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    Hmm, interesting! Thanks for the info on vit D. My ped is reasonably supportive of breastsfeeding (especially since it's "going well"), and definitely encourages us to take the baby outside, but she'd prefer in a stroller with a large sunshade. Our baby LOVES going outside -- we've been taking him out since he was a week old, even in the winter. But we prefer the bjorn to the stroller (except for shopping errands) and he seems to enjoy the view. I don't mind a little face and hand exposure, but I guess the danger would be going for long hikes in the bjorn without protection, esepcially now that the weather is so nice!

    So here's another question -- does anyone know of any natural sunscreen, without the usual chemicals? Someone mentioned to me that they exist, but I'm not sure what they would be.

    Also, what's the deal on floride? Do they need it, after 6 months?

    Annie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: sun exposure for vitamin D?

    In my humble opinion, I think the AAP is nuts on this issue! I mean, obviously the vitamin D our bodies naturally make is going to be better than the fake stuff...if the supplemented vitamins were so great, they'd tell us we didn't need to eat anything, just supplement our vitamins with pills to get what we need! Anyhow, as far as fluoride is concerned, I've never given any of my children supplements of fluoride and they have had wonderful teeth thus far. We don't have fluoride in our well water (or at least I assume we don't) as we live out of town, but they brush their teeth well, visit the dentist very regularly for fluoride treatments, and everything is great. I've read that too much fluoride is also not good, so how do you know when they could be getting to the point of too much?? It is confusing being a mother sometimes, we want to do what is best, but all the information seems so conflicting sometimes! Hope this helps a bit, but I think that if you have your baby out in the sun sometimes, his vitamin D is probably going to be fine...when my first dd was little, the doctor told me I could use zinc oxide for some sun protection but I'll be watching for some other natural sunscreen from others on this post! Thanks for asking such a great question!

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