Maternal vitamin D status: effect on milk vitamin D content and vitamin D status of breastfeeding infants

Adv Nutr. 2012 May 1;3(3):353-61. doi: 10.3945/an.111.000950.


There are increasing reports of rickets and vitamin D deficiency worldwide. Breastfeeding without adequate sunlight exposure and vitamin D supplementation are the major risk factors. In view of the drive to promote and increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding, the relationship among maternal vitamin D status, vitamin D concentration of human milk, and hence vitamin D status of breastfeeding infants deserves reassessment. This review provides current information on the interrelationship between maternal vitamin D status and the vitamin D status of the breastfeeding infant. It also reviews the results of ongoing research on the effect of high-dose maternal vitamin D supplementation alone as a possible option to prevent vitamin D deficiency in the breastfeeding mother-infant dyad.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rickets / etiology
  • Rickets / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Vitamin D