"Many breastfeeding mothers consider taking an immune-boosting vitamin with a regular postpartum multivitamin to fill the gap. But is it safe? Read on to learn more."
Should I take vitamins while breastfeeding?
Regular multivitamin and mineral supplements are generally safe, but you must always consult your doctor before starting any supplements. Many doctors recommend that mothers continue taking prenatal vitamins after giving birth to ensure that both mother and baby are getting all the nutrients they need. However, as long as you eat a balanced diet, your baby should get the nutrients they need from breast milk.
A healthy diet is essential when you're pregnant with your baby; now it's even more important that you produce milk for it. But does that mean you should take vitamins? No, not always.
While monitoring intake of nutrients such as calcium, folate, magnesium, vitamin B12, and DHA is important during breastfeeding, not everyone needs supplements.
Like everyone else, breastfeeding mothers should strive to meet their nutritional needs primarily by choosing appropriate meals. Consider lean protein, nutritious grains, low-fat dairy, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, a regular multivitamin (or any prenatal vitamin you take during pregnancy) can serve as an insurance policy to replace nutritional deficiencies. It is also important for breastfeeding mothers who are not getting enough essential nutrients.
Vegetarian or vegan women should take vitamin B12 supplements because this substance is found in animal products.
What's the bottom line? Eating a balanced diet is the best way to meet your nutritional needs. But ideal and reality are not the same. If you cannot get all these vitamins and minerals, talk to your doctor. You and your doctor can decide whether taking vitamins while breastfeeding is right for you.
Exceptional Vitamin D
Because children get vitamin D from breast milk and are rarely exposed to sunlight, many mothers prefer to take vitamin D supplements with 10 micrograms of vitamin D to ensure they are getting enough of the nutrients in their diets. Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and teeth. Our bodies naturally produce vitamins when we are exposed to sunlight. However, exposure of newborns to sunlight is not recommended due to the risk of skin damage.
Because breast milk does not contain enough vitamin D, many newborns require vitamin D supplementation. Infants who are exclusively breastfed need 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Babies who are deficient in this vitamin may develop rickets, so check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is getting enough vitamin D.
Nutrients you should consume daily
1. 3 servings of protein
2. 1500 mg calcium
3. 2 servings of iron-rich foods
4. 3 servings of vitamin C
5. 4-5 servings of vegetables or fruits
6. 3 servings of whole grains/complex carbs
Your goal should be to eat 2-3 omega-3-rich meals per week, as this vitamin is essential for brain development. Wild salmon and sardines are both rich in omega 3.