Breastfeeding is a natural gift for you and your baby. It creates a special bond and provides some vital nutrients to infants. The growth and nourishment of your baby during infancy primarily depends on the quantity and quality of your breastmilk. You should focus on keeping your nutritional reservoirs constantly full by eating healthy meals and taking postnatal supplements if required. This will help you to maintain a strong and healthy body that is fit for breastfeeding.
How do vitamins benefit the breastfeeding mother and baby?
Vitamins are essential for,
- Replenishing the various nutritional deficiencies occurred during pregnancy.
- Improving the quality of your breastmilk.
- Keeping you strong and healthy.
- Providing optimal nutrition to your baby for development.
Essential Postnatal vitamins for breastfeeding moms
Breastfeeding increases the demand for certain nutrients in your body. That's why a regular intake of vitamins, minerals, and other important compounds is necessary during breastfeeding.
Following are some of the vital nutrients for breastfeeding moms:
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It prevents rickets and bone weakness. It is important to keep your vitamin D levels within a healthy range. This not only keeps you strong but also ensures a sufficient supply of vitamin D to your baby through breast milk. A study suggests increasing your daily vitamin D intake to 6,400 IU to provide your baby with a sufficient supply.
Iron plays an important role in the neurological development of babies. It is a key component of hemoglobin that functions to deliver oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Many women suffer from iron deficiency (anemia) during pregnancy. This condition generally continues after delivery. It is important to get your iron levels tested after delivery. Consult your physician to determine the required dosage of iron. Take an iron rich diet and supplements. The iron supplements should be taken in combination with vitamin C for maximum absorption, giving an instant boost to your iron levels. Iron-rich foods include seafood, red meat, tofu, broccoli etc. Optimum iron levels in your blood will benefit both you and your breastfed baby. This can be achieved by the intake of an iron rich diet and an appropriate dosage of postnatal iron supplements.
Vitamin B12 is of prime importance as it supports brain development and the production of healthy red blood cells in infants. Inadequate supply of vitamin B12 can lead to complications such as brain damage.
The infants receive Vitamin B12 through breast milk after birth. However, mothers who are deficient in Vitamin B12 fail to deliver this vital nutrient to their babies through their milk. A vegetarian diet can be the reason for this deficiency in mothers. Therefore, it is important to maintain optimal levels of vitamin B12 through your diet and supplementation to make sure that your baby receives nutrient-rich breastmilk.
Calcium is a vital nutrient for bone and teeth development. Low calcium levels can lead to several bone illnesses such as osteoporosis.
Your calcium levels can drop while breastfeeding. Therefore, it is very important to keep your calcium levels up. This can be achieved through a regular intake of calcium-rich diet. Calcium rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. Calcium supplements can be taken to keep your calcium reservoirs filled during breastfeeding.
Iodine is responsible for keeping the thyroid system in perfect shape. Breast milk contains iodine that helps in the development of infants' brain and nervous system. Breast Milk is the primary source of iodine for your baby. Iron deficiency can negatively affect the baby's growth. Therefore an adequate intake of iodine is very important to ensure that your milk has enough iodine for baby's growth and development. Iodine rich foods include iodized salt, fish, dairy products and whole grains foods. According to the recommendation of 'The National Institutes of Health (NIH)' breastfeeding women should get 290 micrograms (mcg)Trusted Source of iodine daily.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
DHA is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fat that plays an important role in the development of infants' brain, eye, and nervous system. This is not produced inside the body. Therefore the intake of DHA rich foods and supplements is required during breastfeeding. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are rich sources of DHA. Consume these at least once or twice a week. Postnatal supplements that contain an adequate amount of DHA can be taken to meet your needs.
Breastfeeding is a natural phenomenon. The mother's body produces milk for the growth and nourishment of the newborn baby. A healthy mom can raise a healthy child. Therefore, it is important to go for a vitamin rich diet and high quality supplements that not only keep you fit but also provide optimal nutrition to your breastfed baby.
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