Vitamin C For Breastfeeding Mothers – Everything You Need to Know

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Vitamin C For Breastfeeding Mothers

Staying healthy during breastfeeding is vital for women and newborn babies. Women need to eat a healthy and nutrition-rich diet. During breastfeeding, it is recommended to increase Vitamin C in the diet of lactating women. A mother who eats a balanced diet and consumes sufficient Vitamin C is likely to nourish their babies. But how much of Vitamin C  must be included in the diet for all breastfeeding mothers?

As with every nutrient, excess intake of vitamin C may not be very healthy for both mother and the baby. The right amount of vitamin C, though, has its own advantages. We explain how much vitamin C during breastfeeding is ideal, how to identify deficiency of this vitamin in a breastfeeding mother and many other vital aspects of this important nutrient.

In This Article

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and contains antioxidants that are essential for lactating women. It is found in vegetables and fruits. This essential vitamin aids in improving iron absorption and helps in healing tissue damage and wounds. Since the human body doesn’t synthesize vitamins by itself, it is vital to supplement the diet with essential vitamins.

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency in Breastfeeding Mothers

Vitamin C Deficiency

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin C while breastfeeding.

  • Scurvy, characterized by connective tissue weakness and collagen, which cause spots on the skin.
  • Swelling and bleeding of the gums
  • Loss of teeth
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle fatigue and feeling unwell
  • Anemia and difficulty in wound healing.
  • Excessive weight gain

Top 6 Benefits of Adequate Vitamin C Intake For Breastfeeding Mothers

Benefits of Vitamin C For Breastfeeding Mothers

Vitamin C supplements help women in so many ways while breastfeeding. Here are some of the important benefits of vitamin C during breastfeeding.

1. Increases Milk Supply

An increase in Vitamin C intake during breastfeeding can help to increase milk supply. Many mothers experience a steady flow of milk after consuming Vitamin C. So if you don’t have enough milk supply, consult a pediatrician or certified doctor for Vitamin C supplementation.

[Read : Low Milk Supply]

2. Boosts Immunity Levels

Breastfeeding women become sick because of nutrition deficiency and constant feeding to little ones. However, if you regularly take Vitamin C in your diet, your body can combat infection and boost immunity. Moreover, regular Vitamin C also benefits the growing baby and improves their immunity too.

3. Promotes Healthy Skin

Vitamin C significantly improves skin textures and prevents sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, regular intake of Vitamin C during breastfeeding can help reduce dark spots and ageing effects due to constant exposure to the sun. It is also helpful to reduce the dryness of the skin.

4. Protects Against Infection

Women who consume Vitamin C while nursing their baby receive better protection against infection from deadly viruses, bacteria and protozoa. These microbes can cause s illnesses such as the common cold, pneumonia, amoebic dysentery and malaria.

[Read : Can I Breastfeed When I Have Cold And Flu?]

5. Improves Iron Absorption

Vitamin C is also helpful in improving the absorption of iron, promoting the production of red blood cells in the body.

6. Strengthens Bones and Teeth

Vitamin C helps in strengthening bones and teeth. So, breastfeeding mothers don’t need to worry about bone injury and tooth problems.

A breastfeeding mother doesn’t need to take Vitamin C supplements unless prescribed by their doctor. It is recommended to have 120 mg of Vitamin C daily during breastfeeding. However, some doctors often recommend breastfeeding mothers who are above 18 years old increase Vitamin C intake by up to 1000 mg daily while breastfeeding.

Vitamin C supplement is helpful to keep women healthy and increase milk supply in women. Moreover, regular intake of vitamins can also benefit growing toddlers and build immunity.

In addition to Vitamin supplements, nursing women must maintain a balanced diet to improve their health. It helps supply vital elements responsible for cell growth and tissue healing.

Top Dietary Sources of Vitamin C

Dietary Sources of Vitamin C

Some of the best dietary sources of Vitamin C are as follows:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Peppers
  • Berries
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Orange
  • Guava
  • Potatoes

These are some excellent sources of vitamin C. By adding these vital supplements to your diet, you can meet the daily requirement of Vitamin C.

Can You Take Vitamin C Supplements During Breastfeeding?

women eating supplements

A recent study on lactating mothers who administered a higher dose of Vitamin C in a diet of around 250-1000 mg/L found that the milk concentration is around 100-120 mg/L.

However, if women exceed the dose of Vitamin C, around 4000mg/L per day is likely to affect milk concentration. Hence, it is recommended to consult with a certified doctor before consuming Vitamin supplements while breastfeeding.

In addition, if a nursing mother has low Vitamin C or suffers from a deficiency of Vitamin C, she needs to consult with doctors before increasing her intake of Vitamin supplements. The doctors will guide properly about the accurate dose of Vitamin C.

Are There Any Side Effects of Excessive Intake of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C intake doesn’t cause any side effects as long as you are consuming in moderate quantities. However, if you exceed the recommended dosage, then it may cause several side effects, as mentioned below:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heart burning sensation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney stones
  • Tissue damage
  • Hair loss

Doctors may recommend increasing the intake of Vitamin C to improve milk concentration and deal with health issues. Moreover, it is helpful to keep your babies healthy and your teeth and bones stronger. Women who consume Vitamin C are likely to heal from injuries faster. Also, a balanced diet with an accurate amount of Vitamin C is helpful for women to nourish their babies properly.

However, ensure not to exceed the recommended dose of Vitamin C as it may invite side effects and can cause other health issues.

Taking a sufficient amount of Vitamin C supplement during breastfeeding can help prevent several diseases and provide various health benefits. Therefore, taking postnatal multivitamins during breastfeeding is advised to fulfil your body’s requirements. It would be great if you could add natural dietary sources to your diet along with supplements. Always consult with your doctors before starting supplements to avoid any health issues.

[Read : Healthy Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers]

FAQ’s

1. Does Smoking Reduce the Amount of Vitamin C in Breast Milk?

Yes, several studies show that smoking can affect the Vitamin C level in the body and reduce antioxidants in breast milk. This is why it is often advised to stop smoking while breastfeeding your babies.

2. Can Vitamin C in Breast Milk Reduce Your Baby’s Chances of Developing Allergies?

Like adults need vitamin C to improve their health, babies require Vitamin C for better immunity and health and to keep them away from diseases such as scurvy. Babies who are breastfed by mothers having a balanced diet and excellent amount of Vitamin C are likely to have less tendency of allergy development. But nursing mothers who have hypersensitivity may have babies with vitamin C deficiency. Hence, babies are prone to allergies.

3. Will Vitamin C Decrease Your Milk Supply?

Vitamin C is highly recommended to mothers to increase milk supply. It also helps in nourishing babies and prevents allergy risk. However, if women are consuming vitamin C in higher quantities than the recommended dosage, they may face a decrease in milk supply. That’s why it is recommended to consult with doctors before adding supplements to the daily diet of nursing women.

Read Also: Vitamin D For Breastfeeding Mothers – Everything You Need to Know

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Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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