Mom's Diet Impacts Breastmilk Nutrient Levels

Christina Sherry

This article, entitled "Mom's Diet Impacts Breastmilk Nutrient Levels," is presented by Similac.

After the birth of a baby, there’s a lot of attention on what he or she should be eating, but moms may not realize how important it is for them to continue eating well during this critical time, especially if they are breastfeeding. Some women may find it difficult to eat a well-balanced diet while adjusting to caring for a newborn. New research found that the average breastfeeding mom’s diet doesn’t provide the desired levels of key nutrients naturally found in breast milk.

The study shows that the average diet of a lactating woman may not be enough to meet the needs for some important nutrients such as:

  • DHA: (docosahexaenoic acid) a fatty acid essential for a baby’s brain development
  • Lutein: a component in breast milk that supports eye health
  • Vitamin E: an important antioxidant to support developing cells

Many leading dietary organizations say it’s ideal for pregnant and lactating women to consume at least 200 milligrams of DHA and 19 milligrams of vitamin E per day. A desired level of lutein is estimated to be 4-7 milligrams, based on recommended vegetable servings from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As an example, to achieve the desired levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E in their diets, women would need to eat three 4 ounce servings of salmon a week as a source of DHA, 1 ounce of almonds or peanuts a day as a source of vitamin E and 2 cups of cooked broccoli a day as a source of lutein.

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