Your body goes through a lot of changes before, during, and after pregnancy. The way that your body uses vitamins and minerals also changes.
After giving birth, the body needs to replenish its nutrient stores. In addition, you would also need a lot of additional vitamins and minerals especially if you plan to breastfeed your newborn.
Different nutrients are required for your recovery as well as for healthy breast milk. Here, we will discuss what types of vitamins and minerals are necessary for breastfeeding mothers.
We will also discuss the best postnatal vitamins when breastfeeding, as well as some pros and cons.
Table of Contents
- What are the Nutrients Necessary for Breastfeeding Mothers?
- What are the Best Postnatal Vitamins When Breastfeeding?
What are the Nutrients Necessary for Breastfeeding Mothers?
While we need certain vitamins and minerals for good general health, requirements may increase once you have given birth. This is both to benefit you and the baby when you are breastfeeding.
According to the CDC, breastfeeding mothers and babies need higher levels than normal of the nutrients mentioned below to ensure proper infant health and development.
When breastfeeding, it is important for consume to consume almost double the recommended daily amount of iodine required.
This translates to around 290 micrograms of iodine compared to just 150 micrograms needed daily for women who are not pregnant.
Iodine is needed in higher numbers for women after pregnancy to prevent iodine deficiency among infants who are being breastfed.
This is especially important as deficiency of this specific nutrient has been linked to problems regarding cognitive and psychomotor functions.
Iron can be acquired by babies through breast milk. However, the amount can be a bit insignificant, even more so if the mother is not taking in enough of this nutrient for herself.
Babies have enough iron in their bodies for at least six months. After this age, the baby’s diet must be supplemented by iron-enriched foods along with regular breast milk.
Iron helps the blood transport more oxygen throughout the body. It also helps in the baby’s brain development as it ages.
The CDC recommends 9 to 10 milligrams of iron a day for breastfeeding mothers not only for their health but also for the baby’s.
Mothers are expected to get around 2.8 to 5.5 micrograms of Vitamin B12 daily. This is to ensure that both the mother and the baby do not become deficient in this vitamin.
Vitamin B12 is an essential component of the baby’s development. This vitamin aids in both brain development as well as the production of red blood cells.
The dangers of lacking Vitamin B12 for infants include anemia, delays in brain development, abnormal skin and hair development, or poor motor control.
Risks of Vitamin B12 deficiency in infants are worsened if the mother is deficient in this very important vitamin as well. As such, supplementing your diet with Vitamin B12, among others, is a must.
The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that mothers take around 16 milligrams of Vitamin D daily to ensure that their breast milk is sufficiently enhanced.
As an alternative to this high dose of supplementation, pediatricians would also recommend daily exposure to sunlight, preferably in the early morning.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient responsible for the development of healthy bones. This is also a good measure against rickets, a disorder commonly found in infants lacking in Vitamin D.
The CDC states that babies require 1 milligram of Vitamin D per day. This can be done both through sunlight exposure as well as from breast milk.
Studies have shown that Vitamin K is needed for babies, and breast milk from mothers who have supplementary Vitamin K added to their diets can transfer this nutrient to their child.
However, this amount may be lacking for some babies. With this, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends a one-time injection of Vitamin K immediately after birth.
Vitamin K is required for healthy blood. It is essential for blood clotting and for blood to operate normally. Babies can get Vitamin K both from breast milk as well as the aforementioned Vitamin K dose to prevent any deficiencies.
Babies who are deficient in this nutrient may suffer from Vitamin K deficiency bleeding, a potentially dangerous condition that can lead to brain damage or death.
Other Nutrient Needs
Folic acid is yet another nutrient that breastfeeding mothers should get. According to the National Institute of Health, breastfeeding mothers should get 500 micrograms of folic acid a day.
Vitamin C and Calcium as well as selenium are also needed to ensure that breast milk contains most of the nutrients necessary for the baby’s growth and development.
While most of these nutrients can be found through natural food sources, using supplements ensures that you are getting the recommended daily requirement of nutrient intake for breastfeeding mothers.
As such, it is important to know about the best postnatal vitamins when breastfeeding. These can also help the mother to recover from the trauma and nutrient depletion experienced during childbirth.
Aside from nutrient supplementation, mothers who intend to breastfeed also need to eat more. This translates to around 300 to 400 more calories than what you usually consume, according to CDC recommendations.
What are the Best Postnatal Vitamins When Breastfeeding?
There are a lot of postnatal vitamin products that are available in the market today. There are both advantages and disadvantages to these products, and sorting through all of them can be difficult.
We have looked at some of the most popular and highly reviewed products so that we can provide you with the best options if you are looking towards taking vitamins to improve the quality of your breast milk.
With this, here are the best postnatal vitamins when breastfeeding based on our extensive research.
1. Nature Made Postnatal Multivitamin + DHA
Nature Made Postnatal Multivitamin + DHA is specially formulated with everything that breastfeeding mothers need to fortify their breast milk.
The product contains higher amounts of Vitamins A, C, D, and E as these are the nutrients depleted during childbirth.
Aside from these, Nature Made’s Postnatal Vitamins contains 200mg of DHA as well as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, iodine, and many other necessary vitamins and minerals for both mother and child.
The product comes in soft gel form and has no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
- Good source of DHA
- Contains near to over 100% of the daily recommended intake of around a dozen nutrients
- Soft gels are easy to swallow
- Tastes and smells fishy
- Soft gels can break easily when not handled properly
2. Pink Stork Total Postnatal + DHA
Pink Stork Total Postnatal + DHA contains 20 ingredients scientifically proven to replenish lost nutrients during childbirth, enhancing breast milk, and supporting postpartum recovery.
Nutrients included within each capsule include different types of B Vitamins, biotin, Omega-3 DHA, folate, iron, and many more.
Pink Stork Total Postnatal Vitamins is also non-GMO certified, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free, making it a good choice for those with allergies.
Pink Stork is also led by a woman CEO. Their workforce also comprises almost 80% women. As such, Pink Stork most probably knows what mothers need based solely on the number of women on their team.
- Specially formulated for women, by women
- Good source of vegan DHA
- Can be mixed in with yogurt and drinks
- Some have reported nausea as a side effect
- The taste is not good according to sources (the lemon ones were better)
3. Ritual Essential for Women
Each serving of Ritual Essential for Women contains a megadose of Omega-3 DHA. Each capsule also contains a good amount of Vitamins D3, A, K, C, and about a dozen other nutrients necessary for mothers and their baby’s milk.
Each capsule was specially designed for optimal absorption by the body. The capsules themselves are made from vegan ingredients. The product also has a minty taste so it is pleasant when consumed.
What’s also great about Ritual Essential for Women is that most of their ingredients can be traced to the source, ensuring that you know exactly what you are taking in came from.
The product is also free from most if not all allergens. They also do not use any sweeteners or alcohol in the production of this product.
- Meticulously designed capsules for better absorption and taste
- Third-party tested for safety and consistency
- Contains very high levels of folate, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D3
- Very pricey
- Some may find the combination of mint and fish tastes and smells to be unpalatable
4. Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega-3
Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega-3 comes in soft gel form. Each serving provides a huge dose of Omega-3 fatty acids, comprising 586mg EPA and 456mg DHA.
Aside from this, the product also contains 25 micrograms of Vitamin D3, essential for better quality breast milk.
Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega-3 comes in lemon flavor and is formulated for better absorption by the body. It also does not have a fishy taste or smell.
Nordic Naturals acquires omega-3 fatty acids from fresh, wild-caught fish using ethical and sustainable means. This ensures the quality and overall effectiveness of their products.
- Very good source of Vitamin D3 and DHA
- Award-winning postnatal vitamins
- Sourced through ethical farming methods
- Can cause fishy burps
- Nausea and upset stomach can be side effects
5. ACTIF Postnatal Vitamin
ACTIF Postnatal vitamin is one of the most complete postnatal vitamins needed for breastfeeding mothers. It contains over 25 organic vitamins as well as herbs that can aid in recovery and the production of nutrient-rich breast milk.
Its high-absorption formula can help aid mothers in producing up to 50% more milk. In addition, it can also help improve the mother’s appearance and mood quickly and more effectively.
Each capsule of ACTIF Postnatal Vitamin is non-GMO and is free from yeast, sugar, gluten, preservatives, wheat, and other fillers. It is also BPA-free.
ACTIF Postnatal Vitamin is also guaranteed to be 100% organic and ingredients used were not exposed to any potentially harmful substances such as pesticides or antibiotics.
- Contains a rich mix of organic-sourced vitamins, minerals, and herbs
- Good for improved milk production
- Provides a big dose of essential B Vitamins
- Fenugreek as an ingredient may cause issues for some
- Nausea and hair fall can be side effects
6. MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Postnatal Multivitamin
MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Postnatal Multivitamins are specially formulated by doctors to ensure proper nutrition of mothers and to aid in their recovery. They also help in improving lactation and the quality of breast milk.
This is done due to the addition of nutrients such as folate, iodine, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and chromium, among others, into every tablet.
MegaFood Baby and Me2 Postnatal Multivitamins also contain selenium. Zinc, biotin, as well as moringa leaf and real food blends such as carrots, broccoli, and cabbage.
The product has also been tested to be non-GMO and is made without most ingredients that cause allergies to most people.
- Only product on this list that has moringa leaf and real food as ingredients
- Provides almost 100% of all necessary nutrients for postpartum mothers
- Good for those who require help in breast milk production
- A bit on the expensive side
- DHA is minimal if existing at all
7. Centrum Postnatal Multivitamin Gummies
Centrum Postnatal Multivitamin Gummies is an easy way to consume postnatal vitamins. The product comes in flavored gummy form that can be chewed like candy
Despite this, the gummies do not contain synthetic dyes, artificial flavors or sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup. It is also a gluten-free product.
Centrum Postnatal Multivitamin Gummies contain a good amount of B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, DHA, iodine, biotin, and other essential nutrients for both mother and child.
Each serving of Centrum Postnatal Multivitamin Gummies also contains 50 milligrams of DHA which has been sourced from highly refined fish oils.
- Very cheap, good value for money
- A very trusted brand
- Easy to eat with different flavors to choose from
- Can melt under warm temperatures
- Some may find it a bit too sweet