August was National Breastfeeding Month. If you’re a new mom or will be soon, it’s the perfect time to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding and what vitamins and minerals you may need to supplement if you’re planning to breastfeed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics contends that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your infant and recommends doing so for at least a year.

Why? Breast milk contains just the right combination of protein, carbs and fats as well as essential vitamins and minerals to boost your baby’s immune system.

If you are considering breastfeeding, here are three supplements you may want to consider.

Vitamin D

The latest research shows that many people are deficient in vitamin D, which is important to support healthy bone development and a strong immune system.

The National Institutes for Health recommend that pregnant and lactating women get 600 IU of vitamin D per day, though some experts fear this isn’t enough and encourage higher doses. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

See also Supplements to Support a Healthy Pregnancy

Vitamin B12

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a breastfeeding mom is deficient in B12 her infant may become deficient. On the other hand, infants who drink breast milk from moms who are getting enough of this important nutrient should be getting enough as well.

Breastfeeding mothers need 2.8 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day.

For both Vitamin B12 and D, try: New Chapter Perfect Postnatal™ Multivitamin Tablets with 2000 IU of vitamin D per serving, as well as vitamins A, B-vitamins and minerals including zinc.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek has been used for centuries by women to help increase milk production. The seeds are rich in vitamin C, B vitamins and beta carotene, which are all known to help women produce breast milk.

Some women have found their milk supply increase as soon as 1-3 days after starting to supplement with fenugreek.

Try: Gaia Herbs Fenugreek Seed Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps

Take 2-3 capsules twice daily after meals, or as directed by a health professional.

 

Karen MorseKaren Morse, MPH, is a freelance health and nutrition writer. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates, exploring nearby hiking trails and cooking up fresh, seasonal eats in the kitchen. Her work has appeared in Clean Eating, Weight Watchers, YouBeauty.com and others.