4 Most Important Postnatal Vitamins For Breastfeeding Moms | Hea Boosters
Pregnancy often depletes several nutrients in your body, therefore, it is important to replenish those after you have given birth. This is important because breastfeeding also places high demands on the body, and decreased micronutrient stores can heighten vitamin deficiencies in both you and your child.
However, due to our hectic lifestyles and busy schedules, preparing and planning meals with all the nutrients is difficult. Therefore, adding a few postnatal vitamins will help you achieve those daily vitamin requirements too.
Here are 4 important postnatal vitamins for breastfeeding moms:
1. Vitamin C & Iron:
Vitamin C, (also called ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant and increases your body’s ability to absorb natural and supplementary iron which is extremely important for expectant and new mothers alike. While iron is more of a mineral than a vitamin, it is worth mentioning here since it is critical for the formation of haemoglobin which is the oxygen-carrying molecule in your blood.
New moms are often deficient in iron, especially if they have been anaemic during their pregnancy. This mineral is equally important for the proper development and thyroid function of your baby as well. When you are breastfeeding, your body dips into your iron reserves and prioritises your baby’s need for iron over yours. This can leave you feeling weak, tired, and fatigued.
Breastfeeding moms need around 21 mg of iron per day, which can be achieved by 100 grams of fortified cereal (which contains 24 milligrams of iron - 114% of the daily requirement.) Alternatively, 100 grams of spinach contains 2.7 micrograms of iron, equal to 12% of your daily requirement. While you can always rely on natural sources too, taking a postnatal vitamin C supplement along with your iron intake will help you in covering your daily requirement, will strengthen your immune system and prevent you from experiencing nutrition deficiencies.
2. Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that the body requires for many processes including building and maintaining strong bones. It also plays a critical role in the immune system, digestion, and heart function and helps in developing the strong teeth and bones of your baby. Breastfeeding moms need around 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.
A cup (237 ml) typically contains 2.6-2.9 micrograms of vitamin D. A cup of fortified soy milk can fulfil 26% - 29% of the daily requirement. A cup (237 ml) of orange juice can start your day off with up to 2.5 micrograms of vitamin D. This is approximately 25% of the daily requirement.
3. Vitamin B12:
Postnatal vitamin B12 supplements are recommended for all mothers, especially those who stick to vegetarian, vegan and macrobiotic diets. This is because plant-based foods do not contain this vitamin that is vital for nerve tissue health, brain function, creation of DNA, synthesis of fatty acids and energy production, absorption of folic acid and the making of red blood cells.
Aside from affecting the above-mentioned processes, not consuming enough vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) in your diet can seriously impact the nutrient quality of your breast milk and reduce the amount of vitamin B12 your baby is consuming. Breastfeeding moms need 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B12. An egg/100 g of paneer contains 0.6 micrograms of B12, which fulfils 40% of the required daily value. 200 ml of fortified soya milk is a good option for vegans providing 0.8 micrograms of B12, (53.3% of the daily value).
4. Vitamin B9 or Folate:
Folate, commonly referred to as vitamin B9, plays an important role in producing red blood cells and helps in fetal growth and development. It is also inextricably involved in the metabolism of food and the production of energy in the body. The requirement of folate for breastfeeding moms is 300 micrograms per day.
100 grams of spinach have 194 micrograms of folic acid, which is equivalent to 64% of the daily requirement. 100 grams of sprouted beans have 61 micrograms, which makes 20% of your daily requirement. One medium-sized orange has 74 micrograms of folate, which is equal to 24% of your daily requirement. Postnatal vitamin supplements containing folate can also help you fulfil 100% of your daily requirement of this nutrient.
Keeping a variety of anti-inflammatory and healing foods as the cornerstones of your diet, will ensure that you'll naturally consume these vital nutrients in every meal. However, it can feel overwhelming to have to plan your meals around the daily need for vitamins that your body demands when you are breastfeeding.
Do not be afraid to supplement your diet if this is how you are feeling. Postnatal vitamin supplements really come in handy here and are often a simple way of ensuring that both you and your baby have everything you need to fulfil your nutritional requirements.
Importance of vitamin D during breastfeeding:
Supplementation with micronutrients for breastfeeding: