How important are vitamins to lactating mothers?

Many women think that the need for increased nutrient intake ends with delivery. This is not true. A breast-feeding mother requires quite a high quantity of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. A lactating mother needs to take in an additional 500 calories per day in order to make up for the energy that her body uses to produce milk.

Of all the vitamins and mineral salts, five are most important as far as a lactating mother is concerned. These are calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folate. Vitamin D is extremely important for the well being of the baby. The main source of this Vitamin for a breast fed baby is its mother’s milk. The amount of this crucial vitamin in breast milk is directly proportional to its intake through diet. A mother should also be properly exposed to direct sunlight in order to ensure the production of Vitamin D. Drinking four to six glasses of Vitamin D fortified milk a day is also beneficial. Latest research shows that cow’s milk does not provide the required nutritional boost to lactating women.

Soy beverages that are low in fat are found to be a good nutritional supplement for feeding mothers. A healthy snack in between main meals is a wise move to make during the breast-feeding months. Dried fruits, nuts, seeds and whole-grain cereals all form excellent snack choices. Mini-whole-wheat bagels, graham crackers, all fruits, air-popped popcorn, low-fat milkshakes, low-fat cheese, veggie sticks like carrots and ready-to-eat dry cereals are other healthy snacks that can be tried.

Vitamin supplements will help you to compensate for the nutrient deficiencies caused by your diet. You no longer have to buy the expensive vitamin prenatal pills. A good multivitamin contains calcium, B6, zinc, magnesium and folic acid that are effective for lactating mothers. However, it is always better to eat properly and avoid the intake of supplements.


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