The 10 Best Postnatal Vitamins
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in January of 2017. A new mother's body faces a tremendous amount of stress and all sorts of changes, and often needs a little help to get back to a strong and healthy condition. These postnatal vitamins are formulated to combat the emotional roller coaster and physical exhaustion that comes with breastfeeding; can improve the quality of your milk; and may boost your metabolism, energy levels, and immune system. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best postnatal vitamin on Amazon.
May 22, 2019:
Postnatal vitamins are just as important as prenatal ones, for both the health of the mother and baby. In addition to replenishing your body with much needed nutrients, most are designed to either increase the amount of nutrients in your breast milk, increase the amount of milk you produce, or both. While most health specialists generally agree that nursing is beneficial for babies, not every mom wants to do this. If you are part of this group, then you'll want to steer clear of vitamins that are designed to increase lactation, while still ensuring you choose one that contains the necessary vitamins, minerals, and/or supplements to support your mental and physical health. MegaFood Baby & Me, Nordic Naturals Optimal, and New Chapter Prenatal DHA are such options. Nordic Naturals Optimal simply contain omega-3s, and New Chapter Prenatal DHA contains a combination of omegas, plus naturally occurring vitamin D3 and astaxanthin. Omegas are very important before and after giving birth as they have been shown to help reduce post-partum depression. Both of these options are best used as supplements along with multivitamins and can be taken all through the pregnancy, as well, to aid in a baby's fetal brain, eye, immune, and nervous system development. MegaFood Baby & Me already contains most of vitamins a new mother needs to improve her mood and energy levels, and if you won't be breastfeeding, then its lack of DHA shouldn't be a concern. New Chapter Perfect, Pure Co Pure Mom Breastfeeding Supplement, Actif Organic, Mother's Select Plus, Promise Stage Three + DHA, Milkies Nursing, and Pure Essence Mother And Child should all help increase both milk production and the amount of nutrients in it. For those with sensitivities, we recommend New Chapter Perfect, Promise Stage Three + DHA, Actif Organic, all of which are gluten free.
The Importance Of Postnatal Vitamins
This is why it is recommended that breastfeeding mothers supplement their diets with a multi-vitamin.
Breast milk has a near perfect mix of nutrients and vitamins.
The majority of women take some form of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy to help ensure they have a healthy baby, but few place as much importance on consuming postnatal vitamins after giving birth. Many might be surprised to learn then that taking postnatal vitamins can be* just as vital to a baby's health*, especially for moms who choose to breastfeed. They can also significantly help lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression.
Almost every professional in the medical community agrees that breastfeeding is much healthier for the baby then consuming formula. Breast milk has a near perfect mix of nutrients and vitamins. Babies can also digest it more easily than they can formula. In addition to nutrients and vitamins, breast milk contains antibodies to help your little one fight off bacteria and viruses. Research has shown that babies who are fed solely breast milk in their first six months of life are less likely to experience asthma and allergies. They also have less ear infections, bouts of diarrhea, and hospitalizations.
It isn't just babies that benefit from breastfeeding, but mothers, too. Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, so it can help women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster. It also releases oxytocin, a hormone that can reduce uterine bleeding and help it return to its pre-pregnancy size. It even lowers the risk of experiencing certain ovarian and breast cancers.
According to many doctors, eating a well-balanced diet generally isn't enough to provide most breastfeeding mothers with an adequate supply of vitamins and nutrients. This is why it is recommended that breastfeeding mothers supplement their diets with a multi-vitamin. Some women may choose to continue taking their prenatal vitamins after giving birth, but nursing women have different needs than pregnant women. Postnatal vitamins contain unique blends of vitamins and nutrients specifically designed to meet the needs of breastfeeding mothers. Some also contain supplements to promote the production of breast milk, such as fenugreek, coriander, and fennel seeds.
Which Vitamins The Body Needs After Giving Birth
While all vitamins and nutrients can be beneficial for nursing mothers and their babies, a few really stand out as being vital to the health of both mother and child. Vitamin B9 is often lacking in the diets of most western countries. It comes from dark leafy greens, beans and lentils, okra, asparagus, and some other vegetables. B9 has been shown to alleviate postpartum depression symptoms. It also helps in the nervous system development of newborns. During nursing, mothers pass this important vitamin onto their babies.
While all vitamins and nutrients can be beneficial for nursing mothers and their babies, a few really stand out as being vital to the health of both mother and child.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for new mothers, as well. Studies have found a link between omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and and postpartum depression. Docosahexaenoic acid is especially helpful as not only does it help with postpartum depression, but it also aids in the production of breast milk and supports a baby's eyes, brain, and central nervous system development.
Calcium is also an important nutrient after giving birth. Women lose bone density during the initial nursing stages, and calcium can help combat this. Babies also need it to support the development of healthy bones and teeth. It comes from raw vegetables, of which most people eat far too few; dairy products; and many types of nuts.
Supplementing the body with zinc helps to support the immune system and protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It can also help increase energy levels before and after giving birth. Research has shown that babies whose mothers take zinc supplements have less incidences of colic and a stronger immune system. It is found in whole fours, oats, eggs, and meat.
Vitamin A helps with skeletal development and the formation of healthy teeth. It also promotes good vision, healthy skin, and soft tissue growth. Since vitamin A passes from mother to baby through breast milk, many breastfeeding mothers have a significant deficiency unless they supplement their diet with it. Some women may be able to get the majority of their daily requirement by eating a lot of fish, meat, and vegetables, but for most women it helps to take a postnatal vitamin that contains it.
Tips For Fighting Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is quite common after giving birth. In fact, it affects roughly 15 percent of all new mothers. Symptoms of postpartum depression include trouble bonding with your baby, severe mood swings, and difficulty thinking or making decisions. For some, these symptoms can become so severe that they interfere with everyday life. In addition to eating a healthy diet and taking a good postnatal multi-vitamin, there are a few other simple things you can do to help lessen or completely eliminate postpartum depression.
A study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity found that simply walking can do wonders for easing depression.
One of the most important things for new mothers is to set aside some time for themselves. The responsibility of being a new mother can often feel overwhelming. It may seem as if you are always stuck in a chair breastfeeding or soothing your baby. It can also feel as if the constant supply of dirty diapers is never ending. Scheduling a little bit of me time every week can do wonders for your mental well-being. Don't try to deal with all of the stress of motherhood on your own. Take up a friend's or family member's offer of free babysitting. You can use the alone time to take a much needed nap, watch a movie uninterrupted, do some yoga, or just go for a walk.
Speaking of creating some me time and exercising, researchers in Australia found that exercise has a very strong antidepressant effect on women suffering from postpartum depression. You don't even have to waste your me time exercising when you really just want to catch up on your favorite shows. A study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity found that simply walking can do wonders for easing depression. Luckily, it is easy enough to walk and bring baby along at the same time. Put him or her in their stroller and go for a 20 or 30 minute walk around the neighborhood or a park each day.
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