a woman breastfeeding her child

The top 10 supplements to take while breastfeeding

Vitamin D

Babies whose mothers are deficient in vitamin D are at risk of decreased bone mass and even rickets. (2)

 

If you’ve not been taking vitamin D during your pregnancy, your baby is likely to be born with low levels.

 

Taking vitamin D while breastfeeding is a great way to boost your levels, and baby’s too. (3)

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Vitamin D

Calcium

Thanks to the baby’s increased need for calcium, pregnancy and breastfeeding can slightly deplete a woman’s bones.

 

In fact, women lose up to 5% of their bone mass during breastfeeding. (5)

 

That’s why it’s a good idea to take a daily calcium supplement alongside your healthy diet.

 

You need approximately 1000mg calcium daily while breastfeeding. (6)

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Calcium

Vitamin B12

If you follow a vegan, vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and plan to breastfeed your baby, you should be taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

 

Diets very low in vitamin B12 (such as vegan diets) in breastfeeding mothers have been linked with developmental delays in several studies. (7) (8) (9)

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Vitamin B12

Omega 3

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are important for brain development.

 

Breast milk contains the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, but concentrations of these in breast milk reflect how much the mother is taking in through her diet. (10)

 

Taking a supplement can increase concentration of these important fatty acids in your breast milk. (11)

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Omega 3

Vitamin K

Infants are born low in vitamin K, which is why a vitamin K shot is usually administered shortly after birth.

 

Breastfeeding mothers can also choose to supplement with vitamin K, which has shown to increase concentrations of vitamin K in breast milk. (12) (13)

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Vitamin K

Highly nutritious foods

  1. vegetables
  2. fruit
  3. eggs
  4. leafy greens
  5. nuts
  6. seeds
  7. beans
  8. legumes

Highly nutritious foods

Fruits with a high water content

 

  • watermelon
  • cucumber
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • celery
  • tomato

Fruits with a high water content

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4530286/
  2. https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/vitamind/
  3. https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/vitamind/
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/
  5. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/pregnancy
  6. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/pregnancy
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/683264/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/5352832/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3948463/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501898/
  11. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/first-year-of-life/omega-3-supplements-baby-4582/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11787707/
  13. https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/57036-maternal-supplementation-and-vitamin-k-in-breast-milk
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501899/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29193352/
  16. https://www.safeinbreastfeeding.com/fennel/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501793/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501793/
  19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/lecithin
  20. https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/mastitis/
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501772/
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338995/
  23. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008758.pub2/full
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104202/
  25. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/breastfeeding-and-bottle-feeding/breastfeeding-and-lifestyle/diet/
  26. https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/healthy-diet/alcohol-and-breastfeeding/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218749/#:~:text=Vitamins%20A%2C%20D%2C%20E%2C,similar%20to%20that%20of%20fats.
  28. https://www.livestrong.com/article/373645-recommended-vitamins-while-breastfeeding/
  29. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/fish-and-shellfish-nutrition/
  30. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2018/jul/02/truth-about-breastfeeding-weight-loss-myth-serena-williams
  31. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21349230/
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