Postpartum period is the most important phase of a woman’s life when she prepares herself to nourish and feed her newborn. At this time, the most important requirement is a good nutrition, balanced and a rich diet supported by vitamins and essential supplements.
Most women continue taking their prenatal vitamins and minerals which are more than sufficient to take care of your health as well as baby’s nutritional needs. Since post partum nutrition is important for the lactation process, it becomes mandatory to take a few extra supplements while nursing the baby.
Apart from the regular prenatal vitamins these nutritional supplements play an immense role in improving the quality as well as quantity of breast milk that nourishes your baby and keeps him healthy and fit.
Some Important Vitamins For Lactating Women
This is the most important vitamin group necessary for baby’s physical and mental development. B1 or Thiamine and B6 are present in the initial stages after delivery at the time of colostrums production.
However, their levels increase in mature milk, depending on the mother’s intake of food and nourishment. A sharp reduction in the levels of vitamin B is noticed in women who are on oral contraceptives or any other hormonal treatment.
Vitamin B12 and Folate
These are generally found in good quantities in lactating women because of a regular intake of prenatal vitamins and a healthy pregnancy diet. The folate levels drop in women who follow veganism or a strict vegetarian non-meat based diet.
Also, excessive dieting and calorie counting at this stage may pose the risk of nutritional deficiency, which in turn hampers the baby’s nutrition. A supplement is necessary in such cases.
One of the best known vitamins for excellent bone health of mother as well as baby.Vitamin D is naturally present in mother’s milk, if the maternal nutrition is adequate.
In some cases where women are not exposed to sunlight for climatic reasons, their body records drastically low levels of vitamin D. This is sufficed by supplementing the infant with vitamin D drops and increasing the calcium and vitamin D intake of mother.
Iron and Zinc
These are the two most important minerals necessary for baby’s health, immunity and well being. Zinc and Iron levels are high during early lactation phase but drop after sometime. Thus iron and zinc intake can be regularized in lactating mother in the form of capsules and concentrated syrups.
Infants are also prescribed zinc based oral drops for initial supplementation. Iron particularly is high in breast milk till the infant is weaned to solids. Introduction of semi solids reduces the absorption of iron in the infant’s body. At this time iron may be necessary in the form of supplements.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids and DHA
These are the top most nutrients necessary for your baby’s brain and eye development. Women taking a diet rich in fish are likely to have higher levels of fatty acids and DHA.
However, vegetarians and non meat eaters lack them in their body and the same can be supplemented through medicines and health drinks. Apart from fishes and meat, other good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, soya products and other members of legume family.