Breastfeeding Moms: Are You Deficient in Key Nutrients? - My Family Travels

Keeping out of the sun is healthy for your skin, but is it healthy for your infants? New research finds that Vitamin D is essential for healthy lactation and healthy babies.

Are breastfeeding mothers getting all the nutrients they need to ensure the optimal health of mom and baby? Surprisingly, for many nursing moms, the answer is likely “no.”  Pediatricians and nutrition experts are now suggesting that nursing mothers use a a supplement designed to address nutritional deficiencies and improve milk production.

Currently emerging evidence suggests that breastfeeding women are at risk for deficiencies in vitamin D, as well as several other important nutrients, when derived from their diet alone. Additionally, mothers themselves are frequently concerned with the quantity and quality of breast milk they produce. Both issues can be safely addressed with nutritional supplements.

Vitamin D's Importance to Mom & Baby Health

Due to concerns about sunburn and skin cancers, we cover up with clothes and sunscreen when outdoors, as advised by doctors. Now, women are discovering that not just breastfeeding mothers and babies, but most women, are low in vitamin D. This puts babies at risk for developing rickets, a disease characterized by weak bones and poor bone development. Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends that all babies diets must be supplemented with Vitamin D. Artificial baby formulas are fortified with higher Vitamin D levels for this very reason, hence the AAP recommendation that breastfed babies also need Vitamin D supplements.

“In the past, babies (and mothers and all humans) had significantly more sun exposure, with the majority of our Vitamin D coming from our skin," says Dr. Kathleen Marinelli, an internationally recognized lactation specialist. "Low levels of vitamin D in mother’s milk were normal, and adequate, because the main source was production in the skin by sunlight, not through diet," adds Dr. Marinelli. "The most exciting recent research shows that by increasing the intake of Vitamin D in a lactating mother, the Vitamin D levels are also increased in her milk.”

Breastfeeding mothers and their babies may also have low levels of other key nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, B-6, Folic Acid, B-12, and Zinc. Although many health care providers recommend that breastfeeding mothers continue to take their prenatal supplements, most prenatals do not contain sufficient levels of these important ingredients.

For these reasons, companies like Fairhaven Health have formulated a product designed to address these very issues in the form of Nursing Blend, a natural, non-prescription breastfeeding supplement.

Nutrients for the Breastfeeding Mother

Fairhaven Health is a leading supplier of natural fertility, pregnancy, and nursing related products.  “There was clearly a need in the market,” says Ethan Lynette of Fairhaven Health. “Several of our customers wanted to continue to use our products, even after they’d had their babies. They requested a supplement to meet their new nutritional needs as breastfeeding moms. We thought it was a great idea.”

To develop the Nursing Blend formula, Fairhaven Health worked with a team of doctors, naturopaths, and nutritionists, including Dr. Marinelli. The result is a unique combination of essential vitamins, minerals, and natural galactagogues (herbs that increase breast milk production) to help ensure optimal nutrition and enhanced milk production. Nursing Blend contains 100 % or more of the RDA recommendations for breastfeeding mothers.

Key nutrients include:

· Vitamin D: Essential for healthy teeth and bone development.

· Vitamin B-6: Metabolizes fat and protein, facilitates cell growth, and supports the nervous and immune systems. B-6 is needed for red and white cell production.

· Folic Acid: Synthesizes DNA and aids in cell division.

· Vitamin B-12: Supports the nervous system and red blood cell production.

· Zinc: Supports a healthy immune system and is essential in wound healing.

Together, the vitamins and minerals in Nursing Blend ensure that both mother and baby are receiving the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

In addition to essential vitamins and minerals, herbal doctors suggest calming herbs to help relax mom and soothe baby. “Many new moms are concerned that they are not producing enough milk.” says Mr. Lynette, “Nursing Blend contains fenugreek and fennel seeds which have been demonstrated to increase milk production.” In addition, calming herbs like anise seed and chamomile enhance the breastfeeding experience which is found to be more productive and enjoyable when both mother and baby are calm and relaxed .

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