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What Vitamins Should I Take While Breastfeeding

Other Vitamins And Supplements To Avoid While Breastfeeding

Should I take prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding, and what foods should I eat?

The fact is, most herbs and supplements havent been extensively studied in breastfeeding moms, so its hard to say with certainty whether theyre safe for you or your baby. In other words? Experts dont know what they dont know.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Why Are Vitamins Important For Your Baby

Vitamins are vital for a babys growth and are a part of the babys daily nutritional requirement . Without vitamins, a baby runs the risk of deficiency diseases that can stunt his growth and delay developmental milestones.

Breast milk is the only source of vitamins to the baby during the first few months. Even after six months, when the baby starts eating solid food, breast milk can still be a significant source of vitamins.

Can I Take 1000 Mcg Of B12 While Breastfeeding

Although prolonged high doses can cause neuropathy in the mother, no negative effects have been reported in infants. Vitamin C has been shown to be safe in high doses, such as 1000mg a day, and does not appear to significantly increase the breastmilk level, unless mom was deficient before taking the supplement.

Recommended Reading: Does Vitamin D Help You Grow Taller

Can A Breastfeeding Mom Take Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 consumption is also important for breastfeeding mothersespecially if the baby is exclusively breastfed. B12 is passed on to the baby through breastmilkbut in very small quantities, and infants require 0.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily up to 6 months old, and 0.5 mcg from 7-12 months old.

Vitamin D Your Baby And You

Pin on Birth &  Pregnancy Group

It is a known fact that human milk is the superior infant food. Human milk is the most complete nutritionally, immunologically, and is the only food designed specifically for your baby. Given that it is expected to be perfect, you may be confused about why your babys doctor is encouraging you to give your breastfed baby vitamin D supplements.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics amended its recommendation regarding vitamin D supplementation of infants and children. The current recommendation reads:

A supplement of 400 IU/day of vitamin D should begin within the first few days of life and continue throughout childhood. Any breastfeeding infant, regardless of whether he or she is being supplemented with formula, should be supplemented with 400 IU of vitamin D. :1142-52)

Why is vitamin D important?

Vitamin D is a key nutrient in the maintenance of bone health in children and adults. Because vitamin D is essential for promoting calcium absorption in the body, vitamin D deficiency is marked by such conditions as rickets , osteomalacia , and can lead to osteoporosis if left unchecked longterm. While researchers are still working to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between low levels of vitamin D and other health issues, anecdotal and epidemiological correlations have been found between vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency and the following:

I spend a lot of time outside. Surely Im not deficient in vitamin D.
Should I supplement my breastfed baby with vitamin D?

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Which Vitamins And Supplements Are Safe To Take While Breastfeeding

Daily multivitamins or prenatal vitamins are often recommended for breastfeeding mothers who arent able to meet their nutritional needs through food alone. But what about standalone vitamins or herbal supplements are they safe for nursing moms?

Ultimately, it depends on what youre thinking about taking. If you and your doctor determine you need more of an individual vitamin or nutrient, supplementing is usually safe, provided you stick with the recommended amount and avoid very high doses, which could have negative health effects .

As for herbs or other supplements? Though herbal products may be natural, that doesnt necessarily make them safe. Most herbal supplements havent been well researched in pregnant or breastfeeding women and nursing babies, so experts don’t know for sure what the effects or risks might be.

And, unlike pharmaceuticals, the Food and Drug Administration doesnt require supplements be tested or proven safe before they go to market. For these reasons, youre generally better off playing it safe and steering clear altogether.

If you must take an herbal or homeopathic supplement, talk with your doctor first and err on the side of caution. Take the smallest dose you can, and take the supplement immediately after nursing to minimize the amount of the supplement that could potentially end up in your breast milk, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics .

What Vitamins Should My Baby And I Be Taking While Breastfeeding

By Maze Cord Blood on August 13, 2015

Breastfeeding mothers should continue to take whatever prenatal vitamin supplement they took while they were pregnant. Many mothers choose to stop their prenatal once their baby is a year old and eating more solids, and switch to a regular womans multivitamin. You should think about what vitamins you are getting through your diet when deciding whether to stop taking a prenatal vitamin and switch a regular vitamin. When you are breastfeeding, you have the same need for extra vitamins as you did while you were pregnant. You should also pay careful attention to your vitamin D levels, as well as your iron levels while pregnant, and while breastfeeding. It is important to maintain those levels during pregnancy, not only to keep you and the baby healthy, but to ensure you levels will be steady after you give birth.

Read Also: What Vitamins Should A 47 Year Old Woman Take

How Long Should I Take Vitamin D

Theres really no definite time frame to take vitamins, as long as youre staying within healthy limits. Depending on your sun exposure and regular diet, taking a vitamin D supplement could be a great habit to keep up post-pregnancy and breastfeeding. Once weaning is complete, consider checking your vitamin D levels through a simple lab test to see if you need continued supplementation. If you take a multivitamin already, find out how much vitamin D it contains, and supplement with an extra vitamin D gummy if necessary. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.

Summary Of Use During Lactation

Breastfeeding Edition: What vitamins you should take when breastfeeding

Vitamin C is a normal component of human milk and is a key milk antioxidant. The recommended vitamin C intake in lactating women is 120 mg daily, and for infants aged 6 months or less is 40 mg daily. High daily doses up to 1000 mg increase milk levels, but not enough to cause a health concern for the breastfed infant and is not a reason to discontinue breastfeeding. Nursing mothers may need to supplement their diet to achieve the recommended intake or to correct a known deficiency. Maternal doses of vitamin C in prenatal vitamins at or near the recommended intake do not alter milk levels.

Donor milk subjected to Holder pasteurization has lower vitamin C levels than levels reported in fresh milk and lower than unpasteurized milk. Holder pasteurization does not reduce biochemical signals of donor milk lipid oxidation status. However, the relative antioxidant contribution of donor milk vitamin C content compared to vitamin E after pasteurization has not been studied. The flash-heat method of treating breastmilk to reduce HIV transmission does not change the milk vitamin C content.

Freezing freshly expressed mature milk from hospitalized mothers of term and preterm infants does not change milk vitamin C levels for at least 3 months of freezer storage. After 6 to 12 months of freezing , vitamin C levels can decrease by 15 to 30%. Storage at -80 degrees C preserves vitamin C levels for up to 8 months, with 15% loss by 12 months.

Read Also: How To Check Vitamin D Levels At Home

Specific Groups At Increased Risk

Some mother and infant groups have been shown to be at increased risk, including:

  • Babies of mothers with darker skin types
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Babies born in the winter months and not exposed to the sun
  • Babies and mothers who wear concealing clothing, preventing skin exposure to sunlight
  • Babies and mothers who spend a lot of time indoors or use sun creams, reducing exposure to sunlight
  • Babies of obese mothers
  • Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes.

Nutrient Breakdown For Common Postnatal Supplements

Nutrient requirements for lactating mothers are unique. However, there are large differences between the postnatal supplements that are on the market. When deciding which supplement will be the most helpful for you, it is important to consider ones own usual diet and needs. If possible, working with a dietitian can help women identify any gaps in their nutrition. The following table shows examples of various nutrient breakdowns of postnatal supplements, as compared to the recommended dietary guidelines outlined above.

Also Check: Does Orange Juice Have Vitamin D Or C

Sunlight And Vitamin D

The main source is Ultraviolet B sunlight exposure more than 90% of mankinds vitamin D supply is derived from exposure UVB in sunlight. Deficiency of vitamin D in the UK is predominantly caused by poor weather, increasing use of high factor sunscreen , and latitude: those born north of approximately Birmingham are unlikely to be able to reach sufficient exposure.

Sunlight exposure needed is 2 hours per day , 20-30 minutes a day if the face, arms and neck are exposed without sunscreen. Sun protection factor in excess of 8 prevents absorption of the UVB sufficient to make vitamin D. Need increases for those with darker skins. In all cases it is important to avoid sunburn, particularly in babies.

Vitamin D And Breastfeeding

designsbyjalias: How Long Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins ...

This information can also be viewed as a PDF by clicking here.

The information provided is taken from various reference sources. It is provided as a guideline. No responsibility can be taken by the author or the Breastfeeding Network for the way in which the information is used. Clinical decisions remain the responsibility of medical and breastfeeding practitioners. The data presented here is intended to provide some immediate information but cannot replace input from professionals.

In 2012 the Chief Medical Officer in the UK made recommendations about supplementing all pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children with Vitamin D. There seems to remain a lot of confusion as to who should take these supplements, why this is necessary and how to obtain them. The recommendations were updated in July 2016 in line with the SACN recommendations on vitamin D and health.

Read Also: What Are The Best Vitamins For Seniors

Why Taking Prenatals While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby. Not only does breastfeeding provide essential vitamins and minerals, but it also protects the newborn against infections.

Mothers health is crucial for babys health and not just during pregnancy, but even after the baby is born. That is why it is vital to adopt healthy lifestyle choices, and a well balanced diet is one of them.

Instead of junk food and sugar laden foods, post pregnancy one should strive to healthy meals, more fruits, vegetables and eggs. A healthy diet is vital for every person, even more so when you are taking care of your little one.

If you find it difficult to have heavy meals, holding baby with one hand or when they expect most of your attention, healthy snacks in regular interval can help while you breastfeed.

However, sometimes young mothers still can not obtain required amount of nutrients through diet alone. That is why prenatal vitamins are prescribed or the supplements step in for healthy lactation period.

Nutrient Requirements During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

The nutritional requirements of some key essential nutrients for pregnant and lactating women are outlined below.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is needed for vision, immune function and proper cellular differentiation and signaling.1 The recommended dietary intake of Vitamin A for lactating women ages 19-50 is 1300 mcg, which is substantially higher than the recommended intake for pregnant women which is 770 mcg.2This is to compensate for the relatively high amount of Vitamin A that is secreted into breast milk.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant.3 The recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin E for lactating women ages 14-50 is 19 mg, as compared to 15 mg for pregnant women.2Similar to Vitamin A, this increased requirement is to compensate for the Vitamin E that is secreted into breast milk.

Vitamin D

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is necessary to facilitate proper blood clotting. Similar to Vitamin D, breast milk contains inadequate levels of Vitamin K for infants. Thus, all newborns are given a Vitamin K injection at birth to prevent hemorrhage. Breastfeeding mothers do not require additional supplementation of Vitamin K the recommended dietary amount for both lactating and pregnant women ages 19-50 is 90 mcg.2

Vitamin C





Vitamin B12


The recommended dietary allowance of zinc in lactating women is 12 mg, and 11 mg in pregnant women.2 This is to compensate for the zinc that is secreted in breast milk.



Read Also: When Should You Take Prenatal Vitamins

Smoking And Vitamin C

Smoking while breastfeeding reduces the amount of vitamin C in a mothers breast milk. Smoking causes a baby extra oxidative stress so anything that reduces antioxidants e.g. beta carotene, vitamins C and E can cause more peroxidation 6. The fact sheet by the Office of Dietary Supplements 2019 explains that a smoker needs additional vitamin C:

Excerpt from

individuals who smoke require 35 mg/day more vitamin C than non-smokers.

Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega

Nutritional Supplements While Breastfeeding – New Moms

These postnatal omega-3 soft gels are beneficial for metabolism, mood, and brain development. Suitable for sensitive stomachs, theyre easy to absorb and taste good. The soft gels are produced ethically and sustainably without the use of artificial colors or preservatives.

Note that this supplement solely contains omega-3 and vitamin D3. Its not a multivitamin, so you may need to take an additional supplement to meet other postpartum nutrient needs.

Recommended Reading: When To Take Vitamin D Morning Or Night

Can You Pass Alcohol Or Street Drugs To Your Baby Through Breast Milk

Yes. Dont drink alcohol when youre breastfeeding. Alcohol includes beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor. If you do drink alcohol, dont have more than two drinks a week. Wait at least 2 hours after each drink before you breastfeed.

You also can pass street drugs, like heroin and cocaine, to your baby through breast milk. Tell your health care provider if you need help to quit using street drugs.

If youre breastfeeding, dont use . Its not safe for your baby. You may pass THC and other chemicals from marijuana to your baby through breast milk. If you breastfeed your baby and smoke marijuana, your baby may be at increased risk for problems with brain development. Marijuana also may affect the amount and quality of breast milk you make. Even if marijuana is legal to use in your state, dont use it when youre breastfeeding.

Vitamins And Other Nutritional Supplements

Vitamins and Other Nutritional Supplements for Baby

Advertisements, family members and even health professionals often urge mothers to add something to babys perfect diet of human milk. According to the our comprehensive guidebook, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, if a breastfeeding mother is getting an adequate supply of vitamins in her diet, her milk will contain adequate nutrients in the perfect balance for her baby. If your baby is healthy and doing well, there is no need for vitamins, iron, or other supplements in the early months . Furthermore, many mothers have found that vitamin or fluoride supplements may cause fussiness or colic in their infants. By treating each mother and baby as a unique pair, unnecessary supplementation can often be avoided.

Concerns are sometimes raised about the breastfed babys need for these specific nutrients:

Vitamin D read our post on vitamin D

If there is concern about your babys iron levels, your healthcare provider can perform a simple haemoglobin test. If necessary, it is easy to offer the baby foods which are naturally rich in iron. However, iron drops and iron-fortified foods sometimes cause digestive upsets when given to babies and can actually reduce the efficiency of iron absorption. You might find our post on solids useful.

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Should I Take Calcium & Vitamin D Pills While Breastfeeding

Even women who are malnourished can successfully breastfeed a baby because of the body’s inherent abilities to support life, according to UpToDate, a resource devoted to clinicians. At the same time, a balanced diet that includes healthy nutrients, coupled with vitamin and mineral supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D, adequate fluid intake and weight management provides mother and baby with the proper nourishment for growth. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements while breastfeeding, to make sure you don’t take something that could harm your baby.

Prioritizing Nutrition While Breastfeeding

The Best Prenatal Vitamins

Because a breastfeeding woman is supporting two peoples health needs, proper nutrition needs to be a priority. Most women can supply key health needs through a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods. But in the event of a deficiency or a restrictive diet that might limit food groups, supplements can be a great way to close the gaps. Lactating women that are concerned about nutritional needs should speak with a physician.

Also Check: How Much Vitamin C For Children

Can I Take Multivitamin And Prenatal Vitamin Both

Regular multivitamins are created to supply the body with various nutrients, but they are not specifically made for pregnant women and new mothers.

That is the main difference between multivitamin and prenatal vitamins. But if you are not taking prenatal vitamin, multivitamin still can help you out.

However, avoid taking both regular multivitamin and prenatal vitamin at the same time to be safe from overdose and side effects.


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