Vitamin D and the Breastfeeding Infant: Family Medicine Clinicians’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices

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Background:The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Academy of Medicine recommend vitamin D supplementation for breastfeeding infants. However, compliance with this recommendation is poor. Maternal supplementation with vitamin D is a safe and effective alternative to achieving vitamin D sufficiency in breastfeeding infants, and mothers have indicated a preference for self-supplementation over infant supplementation.Research aim:We sought to explore Family Medicine clinicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding vitamin D supplementation recommendations for breastfeeding dyads.Methods:Fifty-six Family Medicine clinicians (including faculty physicians, resident physicians, and nurse practitioners/physician assistants) completed an online, anonymous survey regarding their knowledge and practices concerning vitamin D supplementation for breastfeeding infants.Results:The vast majority of clinicians (92.9%) correctly identified the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2008 recommended dose for vitamin D supplementation in breastfeeding infants and estimated recommending vitamin D supplementation of exclusively breastfeeding infants 70.1% of the time. If all options were equivalent, clinicians would prefer to offer maternal or infant supplementation (50%) or maternal supplementation (37.5%) over infant supplementation (12.5%). Most (69.6%) preferred daily over monthly supplementation regimens.Conclusion:Family Medicine clinicians are knowledgeable regarding current recommendations for vitamin D supplementation in breastfeeding infants. They are also open to recommending maternal supplementation or offering parents a choice of maternal or infant vitamin supplementation.

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