The composition of the milk is variable and depending on mother’s nutrition, which is most notably evident in the vitamin constituents.
At a conference held by the US National Institute of Health on the subject: “Dietary Supplement Use in Women: Current Status and Future Directions”, conclusions have been drawn on nutritional needs of pregnant women, as well as lactating mothers.
As generally accepted, the recommendations are of exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of baby’s life, providing that the maternal diet and reserves are adequate and sufficient quantity is transferred to the baby. The composition of the milk is variable and depending on mother’s nutrition, which is most notably evident in the vitamin constituents.
Nutritional needs during lactation are stated to be considerably greater that those of pregnancy.
The reason behind this is that in the first 4 to 6 months of their life the infants double their birth weight, gained during the 9 months of pregnancy. The milk secreted in these 4 months represents an amount of energy roughly equivalent to the total energy cost of pregnancy. Also nutrient density of the maternal diet assumes great importance during lactation because the estimated increase in energy needs is less than estimated increases in needs for other nutrients. Additionally, it has been concluded that for certain micronutrients there is greater need during breastfeeding compared to the pregnancy period, like vitamin C, vitamins B1, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, choline, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, etc.
We can conclude that healthy nutrition providing high nutrient density is very important during breastfeeding, both for the mother to prevent depletion, and for the baby to provide proper growth and development.
Including a daily food supplement aimed for lactating mothers is not a substituent to a healthy diet, but it is a reliable source of support during this important period of yours and your baby’s life.
Mary Frances Picciano(2003)Pregnancy and Lactation: Physiological Adjustments, Nutritional Requirements and the Role of Dietary Supplements. The Journal of Nutrition. vol. 133 no. 6.p. 1997S-2002S