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Vitamins For Breastfeeding Moms: Women Share What Worked For Them
PHOTO BY @Rohappy/iStock
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) website states that “breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure a child’s health and survival.” A mom’s utmost priority is the health of her newborn, and breastfeeding serves as one of the best ways to provide proper nutrition for her child. 

    Breastfeeding puts a lot of responsibility on a mom. More than just having an adequate amount of breast milk, a breastfeeding mom must also take care of her own health and well-being just as much as she did before she gave birth because it will directly affect the health and well-being of her baby. 

    Different moms have different experiences when it comes to breastfeeding. Some breastfeeding journeys are smooth-sailing, while others need a little assistance in the nourishment department — thus, the need for supplements. 

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    How do vitamins and supplements help in breastfeeding?

    According to an article on firstcry.com reviewed by Nutrition Educator Megha Gupta, your milk may possibly lack the essential vitamins that your baby needs. These nutritional requirements include Vitamin K, biotin, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12, and Vitamin A. 

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    The benefits that these vitamins provide contribute highly to the baby’s growth and progress. For instance, Vitamin K is for the bones, and we all know that folic acid is crucial for the baby’s brain development. Vitamin A is for the skin and hair, while Vitamin C is for protection and quick healing, and so forth. 

    But while you can buy these vitamins in bottles over the counter at your local pharmacy, you may alternately be able to derive them from natural foods, such as vegetables, dairy, berries, fruits, and grains. 

    For example, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are good sources of Vitamin K. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are good sources of Vitamin C, and you can get Vitamin A from mangoes and sweet potatoes.

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    Another very popular food supplement among breastfeeding moms is our local malunggay (moringa), which is rich in nutrients and a natural galactagogue and thus increases breast milk supply. 

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    Nicole Reyes, mom to baby Aina, says Megamalunggay is effective in boosting her baby’s immunity. 

    Teresa Dumadag, mom of three boys and author of the book Breastfeeding: A journey worth taking, also used malunggay-based supplements, including Moringana. “I’ve always had enough milk for my two younger kids,’’ she vouches, “I have just weaned the youngest because he was already 5 years old.”

    Breastfeeding advocate and mom of two boys Maria Dana Riza Abarro shared a step-by-step procedure in making her own malunggay capsule on her Facebook page, listing only malunggay leaves as ingredients, and with the help of just a regular blender to grind them before putting them in capsules. According to her post, she has tried many malunggay capsules and have concluded that they are all the same and only vary in prices depending on the company that makes them. 

    Ciara Magallanes, who has been breastfeeding her baby for 3 years and 7 months now, says she’s been taking a number of supplements, including Megamalunggay, Euphoric herbals breastfeeding tea, Milking bombs by ABC, and Puritans Pride Fenugreek. 

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    Another Megamalunggay user, mom of two, Angel Enero, says, “It boosted my milk and energy. I began taking these capsules a few weeks before my delivery date. (I took) Megamangosteen plus Megamalunggay nung nagbe-breastfeed na ako.”

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    Bedalyn Aguas, a mom of five who is breastfeeding her 15-month- old baby boy, prefers to take Mother Nurture Hot Choco and Coffee. “Okay siya,” she shares. “Malakas pa rin milk supply ko ngayon kahit 15 months na anak ko. Di kasi ako pala-inom ng gamot talaga.”

    Other supplements popular in the market are Morelac, Essentials, Proflavanol, Active Calcium, Brewer’s yeast, Iberet with folic, and Materna. 

    Many breastfeeding moms say they had been taking vitamins and supplements before they gave birth, and just continued taking them post-natal at the advice of their doctors. 

    Still, some moms prefer exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) without the aid of supplements, like Ruth Berma, who gave birth to her baby in November last year.  

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    She happily shares, ‘’I’m exclusively breastfeeding at the moment — no vitamins or supplements. Sabaw lang ‘pag meron and lots of water! My milk supply is average.’’

    Breastfeeding can be very challenging for new moms. But worry not, as there are many breastfeeding support groups that you can join to help you tough out this season, such as Breastfeeding Pinays, Arugaan, South PiNanays, and Modern Nanays of Mindanao. You can find them all on Facebook! 

    Taking postnatal supplements and vitamins are not all that necessary if you eat properly as advised by your doctor or nutritionist, or if you are an average eater. However, if you do feel that you need a boost in your milk supply, especially if you are put on a special diet for medical conditions, it is best to seek help from your physician so they can recommend to you what is right and adequate for your baby. 

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