The daily requirements of certain nutrients are higher during breastfeeding than during pregnancy. Pregnancy depletes the nutrition stores of several nutrients like folate, vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12 and vitamin D, iron, iodine, zinc and calcium, (1) as well as, fatty acids among other nutrients. (2)
A new mother’s calorie intake should increase by 330-400 calories per day as recommended by UNICEF. These additional calories along with the replenished nutrients ensure enough energy and nourishment to provide milk to a newborn. It also helps with postpartum recovery for the new mother. This World Breastfeeding Week, let us highlight some essential nutrients that you should pay attention to and include in your daily diet while breastfeeding.
Postnatal vitamins & minerals:
As mentioned above, fulfilling your micronutrient requirement post-delivery is extremely important. It supports postpartum recovery while ensuring you have enough stores of nutrients to provide for the newborn infant. Here are the vitamins and minerals that you should exclusively look for in your supplements: folate or vitamin B9, iron, selenium, zinc & calcium. Supplementing will help fill in the nutritional gaps; hence, reducing the risk of deficiencies.
About 86% of Indian women suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which includes new mothers. While breastfeeding, it is even more important to have enough stores of this fat-soluble to provide for your developing infant, especially since vitamin D is involved in crucial functions like developing the skeletal system and absorption of key minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a simpler functional metabolite of the lipid metabolism form of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA plays a crucial role in the later stages of pregnancy and during breastfeeding. DHA comprises of over 90% of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and about 70 % of brain development happens at the fetal stage and later continues up to 2-3 years of life. It also plays a crucial role in the development of the retina and the nervous system. While gestation the infant gets their DHA through the mother’s dietary intake and hence, it needs to be had in adequate amounts.
Unived’s Women’s DHA provides 250mg of pure DHA from an algal oil per serving.
Postpartum DHA is involved in supporting the growth of the child & the mother’s physical & mental health throughout lactation.
Amongst the macronutrients, protein is the most vital nutrient for a breastfeeding mother. It supports a healthy pregnancy and fetal development. At the lactation stage, also supports maternal recovery.
Make sure to meet your daily protein needs either through your diet or supplementation. Vegetarian or vegan mothers should pay special attention to their protein intake while carrying the baby, as well as, while breastfeeding.
Unived’s Pre-Postnatal Protein (VeganMommy) packed with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphatidylcholine, along with 20g of pea protein per serving. It helps build up strength, supports bone and cognitive health & provides energy to ease your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey ensuring minimal risks of deficiencies.
Why should you supplement?
Supplementation ensures bridging the nutritional gaps; thus, resulting in healthy fetal development, infant growth, as well as, a healthy mother. Most, if not all, gynecologists recommend taking prenatal vitamins to ensure adequate vitamin and minerals levels during pregnancy.
Pregnancy and during lactation is not the time to go on a diet. This is the time to focus on eating healthy and consuming enough calories throughout the day. Making healthy food choices will go a long way in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and baby. Also, always inform your healthcare provider of all the supplements that you are taking, so they are aware.
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