For the first few months, breast milk is the only source of nutrients for your baby. All the vitamins are essential for the proper growth of the child and he can get them only via mother’s milk. In this article, we will discuss the importance of every vitamin and different food sources from where the mother can get them. In most of the cases, managing diet according to the nutrients required for the proper growth and development of the child will do the needful but in some cases, you may need to take supplements for some vitamins as prescribed by the doctor.
Essential Vitamins and their sources
All the vitamins play an important role in the growth and development of the child. Hence, a lactating mother should consume all of these.
Read below to learn the benefits of each vitamin and how can you get them from food sources.
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#1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is available in food sources like Fish, eggs, liver, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, cheese, apricots, and mangoes. The mother will need 1,300μg/day to make sure the child is getting enough Vitamin A. It is an important vitamin for the development of the vision. Vitamin A also helps in the healthy development of tissues that include skin and hair. It also improves the immune system of the body.
#2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B1 is available in abundance in Whole grains especially wheat and brown rice; meat, nuts, fish, soy, egg, legumes especially pulses, plant seeds, seed oils, and green peas. You will need 1.4mg/day in your diet. It is essential for proper internal metabolic processes of the cells. It helps in the formation of brain neurons which are responsible for functioning and memory formation. It also helps in creating a compound known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the source of energy for the cells of the body.
#3. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
It is one of those nutrients which you can get only from animal products. It is available in Fish, eggs, meat, shellfish, milk and dairy products. Vegan families often face severe B12 deficiency. This vitamin helps the body to create new patients which are the building blocks of the body. It helps in proper growth of the neurons. It also plays a vital role in the formation of DNA and RNA. You will need 2.8μg/day.
#4. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
You will need 1.6mg/day of Vitamin B2. The main food sources to get it are Whole milk, whole wheat, brown rice, almonds, egg, spinach, soybeans, broccoli, meat, and mushrooms. It helps in absorption of iron in the body thus maintains hemoglobin levels. It also works as an antioxidant.
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#5. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
You will need 17mg/day of Vitamin B3. It is available in Poultry meat, sesame seeds, beetroots, fish, sunflower seeds, peanuts, lentils, Lima beans, milk, and eggs. It is important for the development of nervous systems. It also helps in the production of different glands like the adrenal gland and other stress hormones. It helps in reducing inflammation and improves the immune system as well.
#6. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
It is available in Legumes including pulses, cauliflower, meat, sunflower seeds, fish, avocado, sweet potato, eggs, cheese, and lentils. You will need 7 mg/day of Vitamin B5. It is essential for healthy red blood cells. It also helps in keeping the digestive system healthy. Vitamin B5 helps in repairing the body after injury or surgery as well.
#7. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is available in Fish, fortified cereal, meat, lentils, plums, banana, lentils, carrots, spinach, and potato. You will need 2 mg/day of Vitamin B6. It helps in making neurotransmitters that are responsible for transmitting signals from one neuron to another. It is important for the proper development of the brain and spinal cord. It also helps in creating melatonin hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.
#8. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid/Folate)
You can get Vitamin B9 from Lentils, spinach, asparagus, turnip, beetroot, rice, orange, avocado, milk, and wheat. It is basically available in all green leafy vegetables. You will need 500 μg/ day of Vitamin B9. It helps information on RNA and DNA. It also helps in brain development and proper functioning.
#9. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Available in Guava, Indian gooseberry (Amla), kiwifruit, blackcurrant, orange, strawberries, tomato, broccoli, potato, and spinach, Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds and general repair of your body. It helps in the formation of collagen which is a protein responsible for the formation of skin, hair and blood vessels. It also helps in production go leukocytes commonly known as white blood cells that fight with the infections and pathogens in the body. You will need 120mg/day of Vitamin C.
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#10. Vitamin D
It is available in all fatty fish like tuna and salmon, egg yolk, milk cereal, and bread. You will need 15 μg/day of Vitamin D. It is produced by the liver from Vitamin D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is naturally produced by your skin when it gets exposed to sunlight. It is important for bone mineralization and helps in making bones stronger and harder though absorption of calcium and magnesium.
#11. Vitamin E
You can get Vitamin E from Sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, avocado, and spinach. You will need 19 mg/day. Vitamin E helps in keeping muscles healthy. It also improves cell-mediated immunity and helps in the formation of healthy red blood cells.
#12. Vitamin K
You can get Vitamin K from Spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley, soybean oil, olive oil, cabbage, green lettuce, cauliflower, and grapes. You will need 90 μg/day of Vitamin K. It helps in clotting of blood. It also helps in ensuring healthy bone density. It is also an important nutrient for blood vessels and circular system.
A healthy and balanced diet of breastfeeding mother makes sure that the overall development of the child is on the right track. If there is a deficiency of any nutrient in mother, she should take additional supplements as prescribed by a doctor.
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