Vitamins and Mineral Needs for Nursing Moms
By Julianne DeverauxIf you're like many women, your diet may be less than ideal following the birth of your baby. You're tired, and busy -- who has time to plan well-balanced meals? A nutritious diet, especially if you're breastfeeding, is one of the best things you can do for you and your baby.
The good news is that breastmilk always maintains a certain nutritional quality, even if your diet isn't perfect. But the levels of some vitamins, such as vitamins B6 and C, and minerals, like chromium, in your breastmilk is directly affected by your dietary intake. That's why a nutritious diet is so important and why supplements can be a real asset.
Here's how to make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals you'll need.
Getting what you need from food
Though time and energy may be in short supply, it's still possible to follow a good diet. The basics should include:
Getting what you need from supplements
A vitamin-and-mineral supplement can go a long way in meeting the nutritional demands of breastfeeding. Making nutritious breastmilk will be your body's first priority, and it will use whatever nutrients are available to do so. If your diet isn't providing adequate amounts, a supplement will fill in the gaps.
The key to taking supplements is that you get just the right amount
of vitamins and minerals, but not too much. Large doses of a particular
nutrient can offset the delicate balance in your body and, in some
cases, can actually be harmful.
Most supplements do not produce any side effects if taken in amounts that do not exceed the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). Iron when taken in amounts exceeding normal requirements may cause constipation in adults. If this is the case, take your iron as a separate supplement so you can gradually increase the amount, or break the pill in half, and take it in smaller doses.
Consider these guidelines when choosing a supplement: