Everyone must always take care of our diet, but there are stages such as pregnancy or breastfeeding, where it becomes more necessary if healthy food is possible, especially in times of such heat.
Breast milk is the best food you can give your baby, and although it is proven that all women have tasty and nutritious milk for their children, the mother’s diet influences the quality of their liquid and the micronutrient content. We explain it to you in detail!
Most prominent micronutrients in breast milk
The type of vitamins and minerals contained in breast milk are very varied, ranging from substances such as copper, fluoride, iodine or selenium, to vitamins such as A, C, D, E and K and vitamins of group B.
All these micronutrients are essential for the proper functioning of all systems of the human body, from the operation of the brain to the growth of bones.
Next, we analyze in detail some of the most critical micronutrients present in breast milk and what they bring to the baby:
Vitamin A is essential for the sight and growth of bones. It protects the baby from infections and promotes the growth and health of the cells.
Vitamin C helps create and strengthen red blood cells, bones, and tissues; It strengthens the immune system and prevents infections.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb minerals such as calcium and strengthens teeth, bones and the immune system.
According to experts, breastfeeding babies should take 400 IU of vitamin D every day, and part of it will be obtained through breast milk (the rest through supplements and exposure to the sun).
Vitamin E minimizes the production of free radicals that damage cells. Strengthens the immune system, DNA repair, and metabolic processes.
The Iron helps the production of blood cells by the baby. The concentration of iron in breast milk is low, but it is usually sufficient to meet the needs of the newborn, even if the mother has low levels.
For this reason, it is not necessary to supplement breast milk with iron supplements for the baby, although it is recommended to introduce iron-rich foods when the baby begins to take complementary food.
Magnesium helps keep bones healthy and regulates heart rate. Also, it favors the immune system and the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles.
Potassium: helps balance water in the body, essential for maintaining blood pressure, along with sodium. Potassium also promotes the functioning of the muscles and the rhythm of the heart.
Zinc: is necessary for more than 70 enzymes that help with digestion and metabolism. It is also essential for growth.
Iodine: it is an essential mineral for the organism, and indispensable for the correct functioning of the thyroid hormones. During lactation, it becomes even more relevant because the iodine that the baby receives through breast milk is dependent on the amount that the mother gets.
Maternal diet and multivitamins
As we mentioned at the beginning, although it is important to always watch over our diet, there are two significant moments in the life of women where we must put more effort, if possible, in taking care of our food: pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Carrying a healthy and balanced diet during breastfeeding, and keeping yourself properly hydrated is very important for both you and your baby.
In general, and unless the doctor tells us otherwise, vitamin supplements during breastfeeding are not necessary, as long as we have a correct and varied diet.
However, in the case of iodine, we must make an exception, because although the WHO considers that Spain is not a country at risk of iodine deficiency, in practice, it has been seen that there are many children with low levels, and this affects their psychomotor and intellectual development.
For this reason, based on the available studies, it is recommended that women take an iodine supplement throughout breastfeeding. The Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Pediatric Association establishes that such supplementation would be as follows:
“Iodine requirements in the nursing woman are estimated at 250-300 μg / day, since salt intake may be reduced during this period (iodized salt is the recommended source of iodine for everyone), it is advisable to supplement of 200 μg of iodine per day in the form of potassium iodide, during the period of lactation, whether a single child is breastfed or twin or sibling (tandem lactation) “.