29 answers

Newborns and Poly-Vi-Sol

During one of the pediatrician appointments I had after my daughter was born (Dec. 27th), he suggested that since my baby is exclusively breast fed, I give her Poly-Vi-Sol vitamin D drops. And I said, I never gave these to my son (almost 3) and he told me that doctors just discovered that breast fed babies don't get enough vitamin D. So, I bought some but have been reluctant to give it to her. I just can't wrap my head around it... I mean, breast milk is the most complete food you can give your baby. That is the whole reason I'm nursing. I don't want to give her little tummy something artificial and manufactured in a factory. Maybe when she is a picky toddler and not eating enough from all the food groups, I will give her vitamin supplements. Seems like there is constantly some new safety/nutrition standard for kids every few months. My son was breast fed and never vitamin D drops and he is just fine. Anyone else feel this way. I was reading that this stuff tastes horrible too. I want to add too, that I get alot of sunlight in my house, so my kids are getting some vitamin D the natural way. I also take prenatal vitamins and drink a glass (or 2) of milk and drink orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D everyday.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the info. Lots of stuff I didn't know. Guess I'll try the vitamin with her and see how she takes it, but I want to research it more first. Just trying to wrap my head around it all.... been told one thing for so long and now you have to do something else instead. Plus I'm always hearing on the news how one thing that was supposed to be good for you isn't (and vice versa), then it's changed again. BUt in the end... I'm sticking with my 'mom' instinct.

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Haven't read the other responses yet, but I'm right there with you T.. The pedi for my first daughter (we lived in another state) said the Vit D was just needed for dark-skinned babies as they're at more risk for getting rickets (we're white). Now, 2 years later, my new pedi said I should be giving my newborn the vit D drops, and I am also exclusively breastfeeding. I agree that they say breastmilk is the most complete so I am not giving them to her and I think she'll be fine.

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Yep my pediatrician told me the same thing and my daughter is 7.5 yrs old. So its not new. Breast milk is missing something that they need to have and thats where the vitamin comes in. Nothing is perfect. Neither breast milk or formula.

I start giving my son these vitamins since he was 1 week, I trust his dr. with my life, so he told me to get them, and I did, he took them daily until he was 6 months and then we changed them to tri-vi-sol...

he actually liked the flavor of po li vi sol, i have apicky eater and he loved them...

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Unfortunately, I have to disagree with some of the advice on here. Breastmilk is not complete; the one thing it is usually lacking is Vitamin D (because most of us mamas don't produce enough and aren't taking enough to pass it along to our little ones). As for your house having a lot of sun, most windows are meant to block a great proportion of UV rays, which is essential for Vit D production; and milk and OJ don't have that much useful Vit D. And while you're getting vitamin D from prenatals, the transfer to breastmilk isn't that great. And you have to be really careful with sun exposure, of course (baby skin, especially, is so sensitive... but sun is good for us humans, too... tough balance). All combined, though, it's hard to say how much Vit D your baby girl is getting (although it's very likely very far below the recommended daily 400 IU... so make of that whatever you will).

I am a HUGE proponent of trusting your gut when it comes to parenting, and believe me when I say I went through a similar dilemma when my daughter was born back in August (she is also breastfed exclusively, and I hate the idea of putting anything artificial into her little system). From my experience and research, however, I knew that she wasn't going to get enough vit D. We waited until she was a couple weeks old before trying the Poly-Vi-Sol. Bad idea. To this day, that has been the only thing that has made her vomit. Every time, explosive vomiting (which is so scary and sad when it's such a tiny little baby!). We decided to look into D-only drops (minus the other vitamins in the Poly-Vi-Sol... and yes, Enfamil makes a version with fewer vitamins--Tri-Vi-Sol maybe???-- and a D-only version--D-Vi-Sol, I think... but I don't know too much about either of those, specifically... sorry). So, we went with Carlson Ddrops (bought from Amazon for $14 or 15 for a "year" supply--365 drops), which have worked for us. The D is from lanolin, apparently, and the only other ingredient is fractionated coconut oil. One drop onto the nipple, and baby has her day's supply (although the whole 'getting the drop onto the nipple and coordinating getting a mouth on there right afterward' thing is not always so easy, but it happens eventually, haha). Anyhow, it may not be the perfect solution, but it was the best we could come up with here.

Hope you figure out what's best for you and yours, and congratulations on your wee one!!

[Btw, I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert, but for whatever it's worth, I did my undergrad thesis on Vitamin D, which is how I know some of this... plus, having my own baby bee and being similarly uncomfortable with putting any chemicals into her system, I've done some research since then as well... then again, most anyone can google, I guess! :) ]

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Haven't read the other responses yet, but I'm right there with you T.. The pedi for my first daughter (we lived in another state) said the Vit D was just needed for dark-skinned babies as they're at more risk for getting rickets (we're white). Now, 2 years later, my new pedi said I should be giving my newborn the vit D drops, and I am also exclusively breastfeeding. I agree that they say breastmilk is the most complete so I am not giving them to her and I think she'll be fine.

1 mom found this helpful

I appreciate your concern, but understand that your Doctor has advised you to do this for your CHILD'S benefit.

They attend advanced school for YEARS and follow that with YEARS of training. The internet is not a substitute for their wisdom.

You should consult your doctor again before you make a decision against their medical advise.

Best to you and your kids.

1 mom found this helpful

We bought it to give to our twins, and they both spit it out disgusted. It stained every piece of cloth it touched, so we never gave it again. I asked their pediatrician about it. In his opinion we didn't need to supplement if I was getting enough vitamin D. He also said the research results are based on skin type because different skin absorbs different amounts of Vitamin D. So, depending on the color of your skin you will produce more or less of it. He told us lighter skin types don't need to worry as much but darker skin does. But, to avoid confusion the recommendation is that all babies need it. I know, this sounds weird, but I trusted my doctor when he said we didn't need to give it to our babies. I don't plan on giving to my next one due this summer.

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The issue is that we are ALL deficient in vitamin D especially this time of year because we don't get very much sun exposure. Vitamin D doesn't really exist in foods, so the options are get her outside in sunshine every day (without sun screen) or give her the supplement. Your older kids ARE taking a vitamin D supplement, it's just in their milk (it's not naturally there... it's added, just like the drops), and it's added to formula as well which is why this is only an issue for breast fed babies.


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Go with your gut! You have all the checks in the blocks, Mama. Don't worry about those drops!

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If you eat a healthy diet, there is no need to give these to your child. There is concern for those who nurse who are extremely poor and cannot afford a healthy diet. A person/baby can get their daily recommended dose of Vit D with just 20 mins in the sun daily. The reason they recommend this is to prevent ricketts. It is not a necessary thing if you eat correctly.

1 mom found this helpful

Almost all Americans are deficient in vitamin D. That's why they suggest you giving it to your baby. Your baby won't get all the vitamin D that's in your body. Orange juice and Milk actually have very little useful vitamin D in it. Milk is not a very good source of Vitamin D, actually. Orange juice has synthetic Vitamin D.You don't synthetic vitamins for your baby, and you shouldn't want it for you!! The very best way, is to allow your baby sunscreen free, full sunlight. Very carefully and just a minute or two at a time. The reason why people never used to be Vitamin D deficient, is because doctors told patients to sit in the sun to heal. (and people spent more time outside.) You yourself need time in the full sun (NOT shade, or partial sun like in your house) with no sunscreen. The only way to get sufficient vitamin D, is to be sunscreen free. You can do this without getting burned, if you are doing it for short periods of time.

Hi T.....the pediatrician also recommended these drops for our daughter for the same reasons and I had the same exact reaction as you. Initially, we didn't give them to her, but I started reading more about vitamin D and I do think there may be some truth to what pediatricians are now saying. My mother was also recently diagnosed with a pretty severe vitamin D deficiency (and we live in CA), so I do know it isn't total BS that it can cause problems. At the same time, I'm pretty sure one of the formula companies manufactures Poly-Vi-Sol, so someone is making money.

All that said, at around three months, we did decide to start giving our daughter the drops. They smell pretty gross and stain everything, but she is fine taking it. I say do what you're most comfortable with!

This isn't really new advice - just new in the US. They've been doing this in Switzerland for more than 7 years. If drinking a glass or 2 of milk may not put enough vitamin D in your body for you and your child. You could try taking a vitamin D supplement yourself, or, better yet, take a supplement of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. You need all 3 of these to maintain healthy bones for yourself - you need at least 1200mg calcium daily ( an 8 oz glass of milk = 300mg) while breastfeeding to take care of yourself and your child. If you're not getting enough calcium now, your body will take it out of your bones, increasing your risk of osteoporosis dramatically.

I fell for the same thing with my first. Read the ingredients on the bottle- there's one ingredient (cannot remember the name), that is a preservative, I believe, and not healthy for anyone, let alone babies. I think I read that it's the same stuff in antifreeze, but I cannot remember. Look it up for yourself.

I just read an article before my 2nd was born 9 months ago, that said as long as the mother takes 6000 IU of Vitamin D daily, the baby will get it from her milk. I have been doing that with my baby, and he's been very healthy.

Trust your gut. Your baby gets all she needs from you. you don't need to give her vitamins. You're doing a great job, Mama.

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If you don't want to give her the poly vi sol (which has 4 vitamins), you can just get vitamin D drops.

Here is the KellyMom (pretty much the bible of breastfeeding) site on Vitamin D : http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/vitamin-d.html

Basically, baby need 2 hours of sunlight a week on her face for enough Vitamin D. If she's not getting that (which, in the winter, I can't imagine she is), she needs supplementing. I absolutely supplement my son.

A lot of women are vitamin d deficient and it doesn't matter how nutritious breast milk is if you are vit d deficient your breast milk will lack it. That is the reasoning behind vit d supplements for a breastfed baby. You could always have you regular doc do a blood test to test your levels.

Glad you're thinking of trying the drops. I am a pretty crunchy mama, exclusively bfing my 2nd, and I, too, balked at the idea of vitamin drops for babe. But rickets is real, it is happening in Canada in people with severe deficiencies, and then there's been some research (not all conclusive) showing that Vitamin D improves immune systems. My pediatrician agreed that it was a good idea, but also gave me advice for buying a good vitamin (which is good for all vitamins): because there are no regulations for how potent vitamins are, unless a company chooses to manufacture them to USP standards, you can't be certain that you are actually getting the dosage you think you're getting. So choose carefully. She recommended Shaklee vitamins (google them, they're online) because they use all natural ingredients and manufacture to USP standards. I have to admit, I haven't been very good at giving my babe his vitamin D, and haven't even ordered any from this site yet, but your post is reminding me to get on the ball. :)

We had same concerns (and an older son who never took it and turned out fine also) and never really made up our minds. We sort of went in the middle by giving it some of the time, but not being completely religious about giving it. Also, I didn't read the other responses, but I just wanted to be sure you kew that there is also a Tri-vi-sol (with just vitamins A, C, and D) and D-vi-sol (with just vitamin D). I don't see that your baby would need the poly-vi-sol at this point when he is exclusively breastfed as everything other than D he should for sure be getting. And make sure you get the kind without added iron. The poly-vi-sol is a little thicker and my baby is less happy about it now that he's 8 months and they said to get that kind. Actually, he was prescribed a prescription kind at 6 months with fluoride in it since it's not our water, but it was thick and horrible and disgusting. It had so much dye in it I refused to continue trying to give it, and I called the doctor. She said to give poly-vi-sol and give him 2 oz of nursery water a day for the fluoride. But when he was younger, she said to use tri-vi-sol, and I don't see why you couldn't use just D-vi-sol so at least you wouldn't be giving anything other than what is supposedly necessary. Also, I would be less worried about giving it over the spring/summer months if your baby is outside at all.

Both of my kids have had them. My daughter loved them, and my 10 month old son needs his hidden in his food;) Tastes will differ! Start her soon, so she doesn't fight you as she gets older. My kids were both exclusively breast fed until 6 and 4-1/2 months, then breast fed with solid food until a year for my daughter (still nursing my son). My Vitamin D was low when I was tested this past fall, so I'm also taking D supplements. They are researching D big time right now, and there is a distant chance that a lack of it could lead to things way down the line (I'm watching the studies in Australia right now that may link it to food allergies - my 4 year old has a severe peanut allergy). So I'm being safe and dosing us all. My daughter stayed on Polyvisol until she was 3, then "graduated" to "Big girl" Flintstones.

Good luck!

I'm no doctor, but that just seems wrong. And if you get sunlight, I can't imagine why the baby would need more D. I don't think nature really got it that wrong.

Hi T.,
Do not get stuck on the breastfeeding thing...the peds says to this moms of formula fed babies as well. If babies get less than a certain amount of ounces of forumla/brestmilk, then they NEED to be supplemented. Obviously, the younger the baby, the less they drink. I give it to my baby every few days instead of every day. They did not have this recommendation when my son was a baby either and he is five.

This is a really great website. Check it out. Vitamin D is so vital to our health, yet because it is fat soluble, people fear of taking too much. Which would be much more than people think. My sister got her level taken and it was low so her doctor had her take 50,000 iu once a week. and that is not a typo. I give my daughter who is 3, a vitamin d3 supplement of 500iu which is in addition to the vitamin d3 in her multivitamin and she will stay healthy when everybody else around her is sick. I know doctors are often quick to throw medicine at everything, but this is a vitamin, not a medicine so be glad your doctor is working at a natural prevention instead of a synthetic fix.

i really like what meghan k said. and with getting them out in the sun, that is great but if you shower/bathe too soon, you may be washing all that D right off of you. It is made in the oily layer on the skin and then absorbed. If you want to go natural, make sure your kids get vitamin d3 instead of d2. D2 is the synthetic version and d3 is the kind our bodies make and more readily absorbed.

Well I am in the camp of no vitamins and that it is not necessary unless there is a severe deficiency. I exclusively bf both my kids. My daughter is 5 my son is 3. when she was born they said nothing about vit D, but after my son was born, they recommended it. When I pushed the Dr on it, she said he would probably be fine especially considering my daughter was fine. rickets is the concern here. Now 3 years later both kids are fine and neither had any supplements of vits. And now I find out I have a severe Vit D deficiency. I probably had it while nursing both kids, and yet they are fine. basically the body puts everything into the baby while pregnant and then into the milk while nursing so it is unlikely the child will have a problem, however you could become deficient if you are not getting enough. Outdoor sunlight is important as I thought I got enough indoors, but not so. I have a neck injury that has kept me pretty limited in getting out and in the sun and I am guessing this is the cause. I have started a supplement myself now, and would say if nothing else, get yourself a good vit D and calcium supplement. But even with my vit D deficiency both of my kids did not get rickets. They are both healthy.

I know you already posted your "so what happened" but I wanted to let you know that I was in a similar situation. We moved to a state, where we don't get natural sunlight everyday. I tried giving my son poly vi sol when he was younger, and he hated it. So I stopped after a year.( at that time we lived in a very sunny state) With my second I was determined in not giving her any supplementations. After further reading on vitamin supplementation for infants, I came to the decision of giving my infant ony vitamin d drops not poly vi sol, which was more like a multivitamin. She takes it very well. I also informed my ped, and she agrees that poly vi sol or tri vi sol is full of vitamins that breatmilk has. So just giving my infant a vitamin supplement that I can't give thru my milk is fine. Hope this helps :)

I never gave them to either of my kids (my youngest is 14 months). It tastes horrible.

I also know I take my kids outside enough that it really is not necessary. I also give them crackers that are loaded with Vitamin D (12 grain from Trader Joes).
I read some of the research, and I just didn't feel it was necessary.

My son is almost 2 and I was told the same thing 2 years ago. He's our 5th and I have exclusively BF all of them and it was only recommended for him. I had the same concerns as you. I spoke at length with his dr about it and she said that as long as I could get him in the sun for 10-15 min/day he would get what he needed without the drops. She recommneded outside time before 10am to avoid the dangerous effects since baby skin is so sensitive, but this was summer sun for us so you might have a little more wiggle room with the times you can get her outside. However, she did tell me that if he had been born in October instead of April (the whole summer was ahead of us) we would have been having a different conversation. Now that the days are getting longer and the suns rays are stronger your daughter should be able to get what she needs. As others have said, go with your mommy instinct.

Yep my pediatrician told me the same thing and my daughter is 7.5 yrs old. So its not new. Breast milk is missing something that they need to have and thats where the vitamin comes in. Nothing is perfect. Neither breast milk or formula.

I would REALLY encourage you to give your baby a WHOLE FOOD supplement/multi-vitamin (ie: Animal Parade) rather than a synthetic one which can actually prevent the absorbtion of certain vitamins & nutrients in your milk.
Good luck!

I start giving my son these vitamins since he was 1 week, I trust his dr. with my life, so he told me to get them, and I did, he took them daily until he was 6 months and then we changed them to tri-vi-sol...

he actually liked the flavor of po li vi sol, i have apicky eater and he loved them...

skip it.

breast milk is complete.

if you are worried about her vitamin D levels- you need to get more V-D into your diet. She'll get it through your breast milk.

Good luck! =D

BTW- 15 minutes of sun exposure is perfectly adequate for vitamin D conversion.... easy enough to do for you and baby.

What your doctor was telling you was based on fact. Breast milk is great but it's not possible for your baby to absorb all of your vitamin D. The majority of babies in third world countries are exclusively breast fed and have numerous vitamin deficiencies. Obviously, you have plenty of good, healthy food here in the states but you also live in PA and just because your house gets some sunlight doesn't really mean that your baby is absorbing the sufficient amount that she needs. Of course, you're the mom and it's your decision but vitamin deficiencies can be serious in a developing baby so if you don't trust your doctor maybe you could get a second opinion?

the thing with vitamin D in breastmilk is, that while its not a ton of it, it 100% accepted and used in your babies body! So the vitamins are NOT necessary unless there is a huge deficiency. Which in the average child there is not. Breastmilk is perfect, and it contains vitamin D that is real, natural, and 100% accepted by your childs body. The Vitamin D drops are very concentrated but only a tiny bit is accepted by the childs body, the rest comes out as waste because its synthetic.

Also, those vitamins are MADE BY FORMULA COMPANIES! So if mom isn't using formula they have to get your money somehow. Skip them, they aren't worth it.

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