Why do you need postnatal vitamins? Well, when you’re pregnant, your baby is your body’s priority. You’re channeling all of the good stuff into their growth and development.
And following birth (and beyond, if you’re breastfeeding), it’s not uncommon for your vitamin reserves to be a bit depleted.
Ultimately, you may need some extra TLC to help your body adjust to life as a mama – which is why doctors recommend taking postnatal vitamins.
In this article: 📝
- Are prenatal and postnatal vitamins the same?
- When should I start taking postnatal vitamins?
- What vitamins should I take postpartum?
- What vitamins should breastfeeding moms take?
- What about your milk supply?
Are prenatal and postnatal vitamins the same?
Yep, they’re essentially the same, but they’re taken for different reasons.
Prenatal vitamins can be a great support for a mama-to-be when growing a baby. They’re focused on your baby’s developmental needs, and because your body prioritizes their development, you can be sure baby is getting everything they need.
Many doctors even advise taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before TTC to make sure your body’s ready for pregnancy.
After meeting your little one, you need to rebuild your vitamin stores (especially if you’re breastfeeding). This is where postnatal vitamins come in. Most postnatal vitamins have the same or similar dosages as their prenatal counterparts.
When should I start taking postnatal vitamins?
You can switch to postnatal vitamins as soon as you’ve had your baby.
However, if you were taking a regular prenatal vitamin during pregnancy, and you’ve got some left, you can keep taking them before switching to a postnatal vitamin. That’s totally fine.
It’s recommended that you take postnatal vitamins for as long as you’re breastfeeding. If you’re not breastfeeding, you should aim to take postnatal vitamins for around six months postpartum to help replenish your vitamin stores.
What vitamins should I take postpartum?
Key vitamins like folate, calcium, and vitamin B6 are vital because they help promote a healthy body. And, if you’re breastfeeding, your doctor may recommend taking even higher levels of these vitamins to support your baby’s continued growth and development.
So, what do you need to look out for with postnatal vitamins? Ideally, you’ll see a long list of health-boosting vitamins and minerals on the packaging, but these are the main ones you need to know:
**Iron: Some mamas can be iron-deficient or even anemic immediately after having their baby. Your OB should check your levels and advise if you need to up your iron intake.
Vitamin C: After giving birth, your body needs to do some serious healing. Vitamin C can help support this, no matter if baby arrived vaginally or via c-section.
Vitamin D: Your skin naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. But babies, with their delicate skin, aren’t ready for sunbathing just yet. So, if you’re breastfeeding, you must get enough vitamin D for both of you.
Calcium: This vitamin helps strengthen teeth and bones. And it’s needed for the heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot, too.
DHA omega-3 fatty acids: This helps boost your baby’s brain development.
Choline: Doctors believe this essential nutrient is important for the nervous system.
B vitamins (including B6): These vitamins help create a stronger immune system and better circulation.
Postnatal vitamins usually come in tablets or capsules. Tablets tend to be a bit cheaper, while capsules are often easier for your body to absorb.
It’s also worth noting that some capsules can contain pork or beef gelatin, so check the ingredients if you’re worried. Plant-based capsules are out there, but they can be a bit harder to find. Some health food stores may stock organic postnatal vitamins, so shop around.
The cost per dose and packet can vary depending on the brand and amount of vitamins. In general, postnatal vitamins can range from between $10 and $45.
What vitamins should breastfeeding moms take?
Vitamins crucial for breastfeeding include calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), choline, and iodine. The best postnatal vitamins for breastfeeding should contain all these extra vitamins and nutrients.
Meanwhile, in addition to taking postnatal supplements, you should also try and eat a balanced diet. Chips, candy, and your fave fast foods are fine now and again (we all need a little pick-me-up from time to time). But a regular, healthy diet is so important when your body is recovering and nourishing someone else at the same time.
Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, while healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocado also offer a great source of vitamins and nutrients.
And remember, if you’re breastfeeding, you need about 400-500 extra calories a day.
What about your milk supply?
You may find you need (or want) a little extra help with your milk supply. The good news is there are postnatal supplements designed to help increase milk production.
These supplements usually contain fenugreek and fennel seed – herbs that have been used for centuries to improve breast milk supply. Why not chat to other breastfeeding mamas on Peanut to see what supplements or recipes they recommend?
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