List of Vitamins and Supplements for Breastfeeding Mothers

List of Vitamins and Supplements for Breastfeeding Mothers

If you eat a reasonably-well well balanced diet, vitamin supplements are not considered needed for breastfeeding mothers.

This is even true for mothers who are eating for 3 during tandem nursing, or while breastfeeding during pregnancy (Nutrition for mama in our Nursing During Pregnancy and Tandem Nursing FAQ).

According to Nutrition During Lactation (Hamosh, 1991):

” The proof does not warrant regular vitamin-mineral supplementation of lactating women … Encourage breast feeding women to follow dietary guidelines that promote a generous consumption of nutrients from vegetables and fruits, whole-grain breads and cereals, calcium-rich dairy items, and protein-rich foods such as meats, fish and vegetables. Such a diet would ordinarily supply an enough amount of necessary nutrients … Motivate enough intake of fluids– specifically water, juice, and milk– to ease natural thirst. It is not essential to encourage fluid consumption above this level … Calcium, multivitamin-mineral supplements, or both may be encouraged when dietary sources are limited and it is unlikely that appropriate dietary practices will or can be followed.”

List of Vitamins and Supplements for Breastfeeding Mothers

What if I do NOT eat a reasonably-well balanced diet?

Except in special scenarios, women in developed nations are not likely to have dietary shortages that will impact their milk.

The Suggested Consumption (RI) for nutrients have a wide safety margin integrated in– if you do not meet the RI for a nutrient, it does not mean that you are deficient. If a mother does not get adequate amounts of specific nutrients (such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12 or iodine) it can decrease nutrient levels in her milk, however this is typically just an issue in areas of poor nutrition. The best solution in such cases is to improve or supplement the mom’s diet. For other nutrients (including folic acid, iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc) milk levels will be fine even if the mom’s consumption is too low.

  • The nutrients most likely to be of concern for a female eating an average (unsupplemented) American diet of 2700 calories per day are calcium and zinc. Nevertheless, your intake of calcium or zinc does not impact breastmilk levels of these minerals, so if supplements are required, they are for your advantage– not baby’s.
    ( Hamosh, 1991; Lawrence & Lawrence, 2005).
  • For moms who are cutting calories:

Moms who get 2200 calories daily may require extra calcium, zinc, magnesium, thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B-6 & vitamin E.

Mothers who get 1800 calories each day may need extra calcium, zinc, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, folic acid, riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorus and iron.

Breastmilk levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and folic acid are great even if your diet wants. If supplements are needed, they are for your benefit– not baby’s.

Levels of B vitamins in breastmilk relate to the mom’s consumption, but a deficiency in the mom major sufficient to affect her breastfed baby is very uncommon in the United States.
( Hamosh, 1991; Lawrence & Lawrence, 2005).

  • Mothers who eat no animal items or are otherwise at risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency have to get sufficient quantities of vitamin B12 from supplements or strengthened foods.
  • Mothers who have little direct exposure to sunshine need to get appropriate amounts of vitamin D from supplements or vitamin D-rich foods.
  • Moms who smoke cigarettes may take advantage of additional iodine.

What if I want to take additional vitamins or other nutritional supplements? Is this safe?

  • The majority of mineral supplements (e.g., iron, calcium, copper, chromium, zinc) taken by the mother do not affect breastmilk levels.
  • Water soluble vitamin supplements (e.g., B vitamins, vitamin C) taken by the mother typically increase breastmilk levels. Breastmilk levels of some water soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, only increase as much as a particular point, then remain constant– even if mommy increases her dose.
  • Fat soluble vitamin supplements (e.g., vitamins A & E) taken by the mom can focus in human milk, and thus excessive quantities might be damaging to a breastfeeding baby.
  • The safety of herbs and other nutritional supplements ought to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis– some are safe and some are not.


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