If you’ve just given birth, you need good nutrition to support your recovery. If you are breastfeeding, what you eat will have a direct impact on the health and growth of the baby. To support baby’s growth and development, breastfeeding mothers often need higher doses of many nutrients than they need during pregnancy. It is essential that you have an optimal nutritional intake if you want to feel your best and have the energy to take good care of your baby.
Vitamin A is important for immunity, healthy vision, and tissue growth. It can help the baby stay healthy if you are breastfeeding. Access to vitamin A through breast milk is important in the first few months when the baby is growing rapidly. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in many foods, such as leafy green vegetables, fish oils, beef liver, and eggs.
Technically, iron may not be a vitamin, but it is essential to your postpartum recovery. It replenishes the iron you lost during childbirth. If you are breastfeeding, your iron stores are needed to supply your baby with iron for proper development. Some good sources of iron include red meat and green leafy vegetables.
If your iron level is extremely low, receiving intravenous injections iron therapy at home with medical professionals is probably your best option. Correcting your low blood iron level can help improve dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and other iron deficiency symptoms.
B complex vitamins
All of the B vitamins work together in a process that affects how your neurotransmitters work. This influences brain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, that affect your mood. Taking a full spectrum of B vitamins can improve your mood and energy.
Vitamin B6 helps regulate your breast milk production. You need B12 for the proper development of red blood cells and brain and nerve cells. Fatigue, depression, headaches and gastrointestinal problems are common with a lack of vitamin B12. Babies who do not have enough vitamin B12 are often more irritable and have a increased risk of stunting. The best sources are animal foods like tuna, liver, beef, and salmon. Vegans should take a B12 supplement.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in foods like citrus fruits. It plays a role in wound healing and infection control. Since it is not stored, you need to get enough of it on a daily basis through the food you eat or supplements. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals. Free radicals appear to play a role in the development of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Delayed wound healing and fatigue are common symptoms of a lack of vitamin C. It also aids iron absorption.
Vitamin D supports the immune system, brain and nervous system. It helps protect cells from oxidative stress and can reduce the risk of anxiety or postpartum depression. Spending enough time in the sun with your baby can provide you with vitamin D, but you can also eat fatty fish like salmon and tuna, as they are good sources of vitamin D. Egg yolks, produce Fortified dairy and orange juice are other good food sources. Vitamin D is needed to help babies absorb calcium and phosphorus and build strong bones.
Vitamin E tends to drop after childbirth, so you may need to supplement this antioxidant. Vitamin E is especially needed in the first two months after childbirth to help boost immune function and develop the lung system in newborn babies. Taking a vitamin E supplement for about six months after birth can provide your baby with needed antioxidant support.
Vitamin K helps form blood clots and stop bleeding. Babies are born with very little vitamin K in their system and your breast milk contains small amounts. That’s why babies are given a one-time intramuscular injection of vitamin K at birth. When vitamin K is given at birth, it protects against bleeding that can occur due to low levels of this essential vitamin.
The postpartum recovery period takes time and you need a balanced diet to help you recover. In some cases, it is difficult to get all the nutrients you need from food and you may need to use a supplement. If a blood test shows that your iron levels are low, you may need to take an iron supplement or arrange for an intravenous iron infusion. Without the above vitamins, your postpartum recovery will be affected and will likely take longer.
Written by Sofia Alves