Can You Take Vitamins While Breastfeeding? An Expert's Guide

This article explores safety of taking vitamins & supplements while breastfeeding & looks at research on biotin, collagen & other nutrients.

Can You Take Vitamins While Breastfeeding? An Expert's Guide

As a breastfeeding mother, you want to make sure you're getting the right nutrients for both you and your baby. Taking a daily multivitamin is a great way to ensure that you're getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of essential vitamins and minerals. But what about other supplements? Are they safe to take while breastfeeding?In this article, we'll explore the safety of taking vitamins and supplements while breastfeeding. We'll look at the research on biotin, collagen, magnesium, melatonin, turmeric, iron, and vitamin B12. We'll also discuss the importance of getting your nutrients from food sources and when it's safe to take supplements.First, let's start with biotin.

Biotin, or vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in metabolic function and is found in foods such as beef, salmon and eggs. Despite what you may have heard, research shows that taking biotin supplements won't help your hair regain its luster during pregnancy. Supplementing with biotin is generally considered safe if you're having trouble filling up your biotin dose, as long as your doctor gives you the green light first. Just stick with an option that provides the recommended 35 mcg daily and avoid taking very high doses.What about collagen? Are you thinking of trying this modern supplement to improve your skin or nails? Studies have shown that collagen is safe for the general population, but there isn't much research that focuses specifically on breastfeeding or pregnant women.

Therefore, the safest thing is to wait until after weaning.Next up is magnesium. Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 biochemical functions in the body, including the entry of calcium into bones. It's important to make sure you consume the recommended 310 mg (for women ages 19 to 30) and 320 mg (for people age 31 and older) a day while breastfeeding, although women who breastfeed aren't particularly at risk of a deficiency. In addition, supplemental magnesium can be harmful at high doses.

So try to get the mineral from foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, peanut butter, and black beans. If your doctor determines that you're not meeting the requirements, you can discuss options for taking supplements safely.What about melatonin? Do you have trouble following that old advice about sleeping when your baby sleeps (even if you're exhausted)? While melatonin is often used as a sleep aid, try following sleep strategies without supplements to help you fall asleep. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there isn't enough research on melatonin to determine if it's safe for women who breastfeed or for pregnant women.Turmeric is another popular supplement these days. Add a spoonful of ground turmeric to your cooking if you want.

But avoid taking turmeric capsules or supplements to improve your health until after weaning. While culinary doses of the spice are generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, not much is known about the safety or risks of taking turmeric pills.Women are often advised to continue taking prenatal vitamins while they are breastfeeding, and these vitamins usually include a large dose of iron. Iron levels in breast milk aren't affected by the amount of iron in your diet or by the iron supplements you can take. If you follow a reasonably balanced diet, vitamin supplements are not considered necessary for breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding requires you to consume even more micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) than you needed during pregnancy. Your doctor may recommend that you continue taking prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding.However, for most women who breastfeed, prenatal vitamins provide more of some vitamins than they need, such as iron and folic acid. Multivitamins are good insurance against any nutritional deficiency, especially in the busy first weeks of a baby's life when it can be difficult for them to find time to eat properly.If you follow a vegetarian diet, you may need additional vitamin B-12 supplements beyond the amount contained in prenatal vitamins. There is evidence that babies born to mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency have low vitamin B12 stores at birth.

While high doses of vitamin C aren't generally considered harmful, they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Now babies can get all their vitamin D from breast milk; no drops needed with Theranatal Lactation Complete by THERALOGIX from our sponsor. As with other vitamins and minerals, foods (such as oysters, beef, pork, pumpkin seeds, and beans) should be your primary source.In addition, many mothers have found that vitamin or fluoride supplements can cause irritability or cramps in their babies. However, any multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamins should meet your needs according to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Prenatal vitamins contain more iron than most women need during breastfeeding; about 27 milligrams compared to the 9-10 milligrams a day you need. The amount you need to provide your baby with enough vitamin D depends on your BMI; whether you are strict with your daily intake; the quality of the vitamin D supplement; whether you take it with fatty foods; etc.If maternal ingestion of vitamins in high doses results in high levels in breast milk; it must be determined if that higher dose is safe for the infant. Here's more information about the vitamins and supplements that are generally considered safe to take while you're breastfeeding (and what's best to avoid). Remember to always ask your doctor if you have any questions.

The intake of fat-soluble vitamins has a smaller effect on the amounts of fat-soluble vitamins in breast milk; with the exception of vitamins D and E; notes the Linus Pauling Institute. For example; both neurologists and primary care physicians recommend high doses of 400 mg of riboflavin (vitamin B) to prevent migraine (usually in combination with coenzyme Q and magnesium).