Going from pre- to postpartum mode may be the time to bury those unwanted maternity sweaters, but it may not be the time to throw your prenatal supplements to the back of the medicine cabinet. In the few weeks after birth, your nutrition will fuel the new demands of mama-hood and breastfeeding. One perk is that now, with the decreasing progesterone levels, you may not feel those not-so-fun symptoms like reflux and fish breath that prenatal vitamins caused during pregnancy.
Because your body just spent nearly 10 months using your vitamin and mineral stores for the growing baby that was inside of you, and your body will continue to do that for the duration of breastfeeding, supplements are a good way to guarantee that that extra boost. While I always like getting nutrients from food, chances are your diet is taking a backseat to your new baby and her needs. So, until you are back on your nutrition routine, a supplement is worthwhile.
Here’s three things you need to know about postnatal supplements:
- There isn’t a huge difference between prenatal and postnatal supplements. It is perfectly suitable to continue with the supplements that you took during pregnancy. Once the bottle empties, you can re-order the prenatals or switch to a postnatal supplement. Be sure to scan the label and look for calcium, vitamin D, iron, B vitamins and DHA. My top post-partum supplement picks include Nature Made Postnatal Multi + DHA, Mega Food Baby & Me 2 and Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega 3-s.
- Some supplements are more anecdotal than scientific. Often, new moms want to know what they can eat, or take, to feel more energized, increase their milk supply and prevent the dreaded hair loss. Many postnatal supplements add extra biotin and nutrients like Fenugreek and oats, and claim that their products prevent hair loss and boost milk supply. And, there are tons of women who swear by these products. While there may not be anything harmful about these supplements and their claims, there also isn’t much science and evidence to back them.
- You can’t fix hormonal changes, but you can try to control them. Most of the post partum hair loss is a result of hormonal changes that nutrition cannot fix. But, iron and biotin can help combat this because getting enough of these nutrients can help hair look healthier, thicker and shinier, and not getting enough can make hair look drier, thinner and more brittle. When it comes to increasing milk supply, the best thing you can do is keep your baby close, and nurse or pump more frequently, as tiresome as that sounds!
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