You want your baby to have everything they need to be healthy and happy. You research the best formulas and what is nutritionally appropriate for each developmental stage. But there’s a good chance you haven’t heard that most babies and toddlers are deficient in one very important vitamin: vitamin D. In fact, American Academy of Pediatrics studies show that nearly four of every ten toddlers are vitamin D deficient. That’s why they recommend that all babies receive routine vitamin D supplementation (400 IU per day; 600 IU per day for toddlers) for proper bone growth and development.

Here’s why: When sunlight hits the skin, specifically UVB rays, the body begins to go through a natural chemical reaction that turns a prohormone on the skin into vitamin D. But if you live in far in the north or in an urban area where the buildings block the light or your baby or toddler spend a lot of time indoors, it can put them at risk for deficiency.

Many believe that their newborn is getting enough of the vitamin through breast milk. But unfortunately, babies who are exclusively breastfed are even more likely to be deficient. This is because breastmilk only contains about 50 IU per quart if the mom has sufficient vitamin D in her diet. And even formula-fed babies might not be getting enough of the vitamin. Though many formulas are fortified with vitamin D, babies need to drink 34 ounces of it to get enough. According to the CDC only one in five babies on formula are getting the recommended 400 IU that pediatricians call for.

Why does your baby need vitamin D?

Vitamin D not only helps the body absorb calcium, ensuring bone health and density, but it also helps regulate the immune system. Without it, the bones and teeth may not develop properly. A deficiency causes the bones to break easily, delay growth and cause cavities or other issues with the teeth.

Infants and toddlers who are severely deficient in vitamin D may have some serious health concerns like rickets. Rickets affects the development of the bones causing stunted growth, wide bones, and soft skulls.

How do you give vitamin D to babies?

Luckily, there are ways to get vitamin D into your child’s system easily.

If the child is still breastfeeding exclusively, increase your own vitamin D intake to increase the amount of the vitamin available in your breastmilk. Studies have shown that women consuming 6,400 IU per day will give breastmilk enough vitamin D for the baby’s needs.

Liquid supplements are also a great way to make sure your baby is getting the recommended 400 IU per day. Drops are an easy way to administer the vitamin. You simply place the dropper in the baby’s mouth and squeeze gently, providing just the right amount. As your baby hits the 12-month mark, they might need more. Toddlers need about 600 IU each day.

The Mommy’s Bliss Vitamin D Organic Drops are an excellent option for moms looking for a safe and organic way to make sure your baby is getting enough vitamin D. It’s only one drop, once a day. As always, it is free of additives, chemicals, and parabens.