- Vitamins During Breastfeeding: Your Postnatal Guide
- Can You Take Standard “Hair, Skin, and Nails” Products While Breastfeeding?
- How Much Vitamin C is Safe While Breastfeeding?
- Can Breastfeeding Cause Vitamin Deficiency in the Mother?
- Is Vitamin E Safe for Breastfeeding?
- Can I Take Vitamin B12 While Breastfeeding?
- Can I Take Vitamin D and Calcium While Breastfeeding?
- How Long Should I Take Postnatal Vitamins?
- Breastfeeding mothers should focus on a nutritious diet to meet their and their baby’s needs.
- Consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or beauty products while breastfeeding.
- Adequate intake of vitamin C through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for immune function during breastfeeding.
- A well-balanced diet can usually meet the increased nutrient requirements of breastfeeding mothers, but deficiencies can be identified and corrected through consultation with a healthcare professional.
- Vitamin E, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D are important nutrients for breastfeeding mothers, and supplementation may be necessary depending on individual needs. Consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice.
Congratulations on the safe arrival of your new bub! If you are breastfeeding, you will want to ensure you are meeting the nutritional needs required to support you and your baby during this crucial phase of development. Distilling fact from fiction on this topic can be a time-consuming minefield and let’s face it, you’re tired! Most mothers want to know which vitamins are beneficial and most importantly, safe to take while breastfeeding. In this article, we answer common questions about supplement use during the postnatal period and breastfeeding, including vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E and B12.
Can You Take Standard “Hair, Skin, and Nails” Products While Breastfeeding?
Most women are eager to regain their healthy hair, glowing skin and strong nails after the birth of their baby. Products promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails are readily available and suitable for general use but may contain ingredients unsuitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, before taking any supplements, it’s important to check that the ingredients and the quantity of each are safe for use during breastfeeding. Many products can be transferred through breast milk so it’s best to consult your healthcare professional before use.
How Much Vitamin C is Safe While Breastfeeding?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays a crucial role in immune system function. Vitamin C is water soluble and easily excreted by the body, so risks associated with higher doses are minimal. However, vitamin C cannot be stored in the body so regular dietary intake is essential. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables should supply the basic vitamin C requirements of 120 mg per day for breastfeeding women according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As well as supporting your baby’s development, vitamin C may help to resolve mastitis infections. Mastitis is a disease that occurs when a milk duct is blocked and does not clear out on its own. Staphylococcus aureus causes the most chronic type of mastitis, and there have been studies that show that vitamin C (at doses 3000-5000 mg daily) limits Staphylococcus aureus, therefore working against mastitis. If you are concerned that you are not meeting your vitamin C requirements during breastfeeding, consider a high quality prenatal daily supplement.
Can Breastfeeding Cause Vitamin Deficiency in the Mother?
A mother’s nutrient requirements increase for the duration she breastfeeds her infant. However, a diet rich in fresh vegetables, unprocessed meat, whole grains, healthy fats, nuts and fruit, will help to meet these increased demands. A comprehensive blood test and subsequent consultation with a healthcare professional will help identify any deficiencies. Fortunately, solutions are easy to access and implement in order to correct any imbalances, ensuring that the needs of mother and baby are met.
Is Vitamin E Safe for Breastfeeding?
Vitamin E is a powerful fat soluble antioxidant which protects cells from damage and is readily found in breast milk especially colostrum. Supply of vitamin E to the infant is dependent on the mother’s dietary intake. During breastfeeding, 100 IU daily of natural vitamin E is recommended. While the majority of women can get what they need through foods such as avocado, sunflower seeds, whole grains, wheat germ oil etc, supplementation is also a safe option. One study found that a 100 IU/day dose of vitamin E combined with 500 mg/day of vitamin C improved the antioxidant capacity of breast milk indirectly.
Can I Take Vitamin B12 While Breastfeeding?
Healthy neurological functionality and the creation of red blood cells depend on adequate levels of vitamin B12. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 2.8 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 per day for lactating women. The majority of women may fulfil this need by eating a diet that is well-balanced and includes animal products including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. However, mums who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet may be more susceptible to deficiencies and should consider taking a B12 supplement. As usual, consult your healthcare professional to determine your needs.
Can I Take Vitamin D and Calcium While Breastfeeding?
Calcium and vitamin D are vital for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, nervous system and immune function. These nutrients are critical for you and your growing infant. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advise nursing mothers to consume 600 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium daily. Many breastfeeding women could require supplements, particularly if their meals are lacking in these nutrients or if they don’t receive sufficient direct sun exposure.
With direct exposure to skin, the body will produce its own vitamin D but depending on your lifestyle and where you live, it may not be achievable. (Note: the use of sunscreen will block the body’s ability to make vitamin D!)
Dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods and tahini are good sources of calcium, but again, if your diet is an unreliable source then supplementation may be a convenient solution. Consult your healthcare professional for the right products and doses to suit your needs.
How Long Should I Take Postnatal Vitamins?
The purpose of postnatal supplementation is to help replenish any nutrient deficits caused by 9 months of pregnancy, and also supply nourishment (postpartum) to a rapidly growing infant! The duration of your postpartum supplement use will depend on your needs and that of your baby. Essential nutrients that are commonly low in breastfeeding mothers include DHA, folate, choline, iodine, selenium, calcium, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin B12, to name a few.
It’s important to remember every woman has her own biological makeup, lifestyle and needs, so try to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, customise the dietary changes and supplementation so that you can stick to it! At Perdays strongly advocate consulting a qualified healthcare practitioner before changing or starting your supplement regime.
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-  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25915716/