It is officially August and the kick off to National Breastfeeding Awareness Month has begun. During this time, we celebrate our mothers and educate on the importance of breastfeeding.
Breast milk is natures gift to a newborn baby. It is enriched with protein that assists with baby’s growth, complex sugars that promote good bacteria, enzymes that’s good for the immune system and digestion, hormones, long chain fatty acids, antibodies that protect against illness and nutrients that feeds the cells. Colostrum, which is produced during the early stages of breastfeeding, is filled with higher levels of white blood cells and antibodies; acting like a natural vaccine and the ultimate protectant for the newborn child. Breastfeeding also reduces the rate of postpartum blood loss and promotes a faster return to pre pregnancy weight.
Do Breastfeeding Mothers Need to Take a Prenatal Vitamin?
Women’s prenatal vitamins with DHA are essential while breastfeeding, ensuring that lactating mothers get their recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, and the baby gets exactly what their developing body’s need. A balanced diet with ample amounts of water, fresh juices, vitamins and exercise is a recipe for good health and rich breast milk. Although a mother may argue and say that she’s getting all the nutrition she needs from food, prenatal vitamins for women offer a peace of mind, knowing that any possible nutritional gaps in the diet are filled.
The Benefits of DHA in Prenatal Vitamins
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a type of fatty acid that makes up Omega 3, along with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and can be taken as a prenatal while breastfeeding. It cannot be manufactured in the body and must be consumed from external sources. DHA builds healthy fetal tissue throughout the body during development and after birth. Studies have shown that mothers who have a high level of DHA during pregnancy, have fewer premature labors, higher birthweight, and the child has a quicker onset of visual and cognitive development.
It is important for all expectant and lactating mothers to supplement with DHA to ensure their child’s healthy brain development. Supplementation may vary depending on the mother’s unique needs. Noor’s Prenatal DHA + Ginger is pure sourced DHA blended with an array of nutrients like Folic Acid and Iron. Along with the powerful effects of ginger, to ease stomach upset. A prenatal vitamin with DHA from other trusted brands like Nordic Naturals and GNC women’s prenatal formula, are all excellent choices when searching for a good quality vitamin.
DHA is also essential for optimal vision. It is found in the highest concentration in the retina, which is the part of the eye that’s responsible for visual recognition.
Tips on Promoting More Milk Flow
Other than the essential prenatal vitamins, drink ample amounts of water and fresh juices, as fluids help to increase milk volume. Other tips include safe lactating herbs like Red Raspberry Leaf, Milk Thistle and Fenugreek Seeds. All three herbs promote rich milk flow and add extra nutrients to you and the baby’s diet. I personally drank Red Raspberry tea during and after pregnancy, and was able to breastfeed my son for over 3 years! I drank 16oz of water 3 times a day and my breastmilk were always full and rich.
All in all, national breastfeeding month is a month of awareness. Breastfeeding your baby is of most importance, but is just as important for the mother as well. Preventing infection, providing essential nutrients and supporting healthy development, is what a mother provides through breastfeeding her newborn child. Prenatal vitamins are not just fit for pregnant women, they can also be used as breastfeeding vitamins. When you think about, the baby is still fully dependant on the mother for its food source; first from the umbilical cord in the womb, now the breast through lactation.
If you are a new mother and would like more information, talk to your family doctor and/or obstetrician about local resources and support groups.