Mothers who exclusively breastfeed baby should have to take dietary supplements but exclusively breastfed babies do not need multivitamins. Mother's diet should include all nutrients. Calcium and iron supplements are must for a nursing mother; otherwise she will be having deficiency.
Should exclusively breastfed babies be given vitamin or iron supplements?
Exclusively breastfed babies do not need multivitamins and vitamin C drops. It is important that the mother eats well and includes leafy vegetables in her diet. If the mother's diet is not very healthy, vitamins and iron supplements may be given to her instead of the baby. However, once the baby starts on solids (around the age of 4-6 months), many doctors recommend that the baby's diet be supplemented with iron, calcium and vitamin drops.
Does the mother need to take any supplements?
During the time that the mother is breastfeeding, she is not only eating for herself but also providing nutrition for the baby. A baby's need for calcium is significant in the early months - for teething and bone development of the entire body. If the mother does not take enough calcium in her foods and dietary supplements, she will begin to lose her own calcium (from teeth and bones) that will get passed on to the baby through breastmilk. This is why most doctors recommend iron and calcium supplements to the nursing mother. This becomes even more important if the mother is pregnant again.
Should these supplements be taken at the same time?
Doctors generally advise that iron should be taken after meals because it is quite strong and requires some amount of vitamin C for better absorption (contained in all citric fruits and many vegetables). If calcium is taken at the same time as iron, calcium slows down the absorption of iron. Therefore, in order to get the highest absorption of both these supplements, it is better that iron is taken right after meals and calcium is taken between meals.
Are supplements required if mothers eat a diet rich in vitamins, iron and calcium?
Supplements are essential even if mothers are eating a well balanced diet which is rich in vitamins, iron and calcium. The diet that is rich in all the essential nutrients and vitamin is good to have but taking supplements can help to prevent the deficiency of nutrients in mothers. As mentioned above supplements are necessary to meet the breastfeeding needs. If supplements are not taken, the body of a breastfeeding mother will get overworked and exhausted for meeting the breastfeeding needs and at the same time she may face nutritional deficiencies.
For how long should mothers continue to take vitamin supplements?
Breastfeeding mothers should take the supplements that are prescribed by the doctor. They should continue taking the supplements for the time period that is recommended by their doctor.
Is it safe to take other vitamin supplements for breastfeeding mothers?
Taking other vitamin supplements is absolutely safe as such supplements do not affect breastmilk production in mothers. Although, it is safe to take such supplements is necessary to get the safety concerns related to the intake of these supplement clarified from the doctor. As aforesaid, to be on a safer side, it is necessary for breastfeeding mothers to let the doctor know about the kind of other supplements that they are taking so that the doctor can give his or her recommendations. It is always safe to stick to the advice of doctor.
So, women must note that it is not only important to take care of the diet and health during pregnancy but also post pregnancy. In fact, breastfeeding mothers need to take extra care of their diet as they need more calories than they needed during their pregnancy period. Therefore, intake of nutritious diet along with vitamin, iron and calcium supplements is very important.