Is It Safe to Consume Flaxseed While Breastfeeding?
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- Video: Is It Safe to Have Flaxseed While Breastfeeding?
- Can Breastfeeding Mothers Consume Flaxseed?
- Does Flaxseed Aid in Breast Milk Supply?
- What Are the Effects of Consuming Flaxseed While Nursing?
- How to Include Flaxseed in Your Breastfeeding Diet?
- Precautions to Take While Consuming Flaxseed During Breastfeeding
Many new mothers who have just started nursing may find that breastfeeding is not an easy job. Latching issues, sore nipples, and mastitis (inflammation of the breast tissue due to infection, resulting in pain and swelling) are a few of the worries that plague new mothers. To add to this list is the precaution of what to eat and what to avoid while breastfeeding. Many new mothers are suggested by almost anyone and everyone about what to eat and avoid during breastfeeding, which may leave them confused and stressed. One such particular food that women are not sure of consuming in their breastfeeding stage is flaxseed. The confusion over the consumption of flaxseed while breastfeeding is not new, but certainly unexplored. This is why we suggest reading the following post to quip yourself with the knowledge that will safeguard your health.
Video: Is It Safe to Have Flaxseed While Breastfeeding?
Flaxseeds are reddish or golden yellow in colour. They have been used to alleviate the symptoms of constipation for centuries. Over the past decade, flaxseeds have become an important health food with a niche market of its own. The health benefits associated with the crop have made it a popular addition to diets in the form of supplements or as a key ingredient in many food recipes.
Can Breastfeeding Mothers Consume Flaxseed?
It is to be noted that the safety and efficacy of consumption of flaxseed in lactating women is not very researched – the data is limited. Although flaxseed is well tolerated in adults, it can be good for breastfeeding mothers only if consumed in moderation. The oil of flaxseeds during breastfeeding can be used. If you are planning to consume flaxseed for lactation or even just for health purposes, it is better to consult a doctor first.
Does Flaxseed Aid in Breast Milk Supply?
Flaxseed is known to be an excellent laxative due to the presence of non-absorbable fibres in them. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, ALA (Alpha-Lipoic Acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). While there is little data on the benefits of flaxseed for breastfeeding mothers, consuming them in healthy amounts is considered safe for breastfeeding women.
It is essential to understand that the concept of eating flaxseed to boost breast milk production is still ambiguous. While it is known that omega-3 fatty acids are very crucial for augmenting breast milk supply, there is no direct and clear link between the consumption of flaxseed or its oil and increased breast milk supply. Flaxseed, on the other hand, is known to contain phytoestrogens which, when consumed in large quantities, can disrupt normal hormonal function. This could reduce the quality or quantity of breast milk and hinder adrenal function. Flaxseed during lactation is also known to affect the lipid profile, sexual function in adulthood, and adipose tissue, perhaps due to hyperleptinemia and hyperestrogenism at weaning.
Since the take on the effects of consuming flaxseed on milk supply is ambiguous, it is better for you to consult a lactation expert and your medical expert before you start taking any type of supplements.
What Are the Effects of Consuming Flaxseed While Nursing?
If you are wondering if you can eat flaxseed while breastfeeding, we have listed below some effects of flaxseed on mother and infant:
On the Mother
Flaxseed and oil can have the following effects on a lactating mother:
- It can increase the ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), which partially converts to omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential to breast milk production.
- Women with low fatty acids, whose milk supply is impacted, may see an increase in supply with regulated use of flaxseed oil.
- Flaxseed oil while breastfeeding does not counter the low intake of docosahexaenoic acid in mothers. This DHA cannot be synthesised by our bodies but is crucial for foetal brain and immunity development.
- Flaxseed oil can cause blood thinning, and this might lead to excessive bleeding after injuries. It might decrease the risk of bleeding or lower blood pressure.
- Flaxseed oil is also not advised for diabetic women as it can spike blood sugar levels. As they have high fibre content, they are considered a low glycaemic food, which means consuming them won’t spike blood sugar levels and, instead, cause them to rise steadily, promoting blood sugar control.
On the Baby
- Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are effective anti-inflammatory fats that the body needs to maintain good brain and heart health.
- They are also packed with lignans which scavenge free radicals and protect the baby’s body from damage.
- Flaxseed is a good source of thiamine, Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, Vitamin B5, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium, which are essential micronutrients to develop bone, muscle, and heart health in a growing infant.
How to Include Flaxseed in Your Breastfeeding Diet?
Once your doctor gives the go-ahead on your flaxseed consumption, you can try various ways in which you can consume flaxseed (you don’t always have to follow the plain, boring way). Here are some options:
- You can medium roast flaxseed and add it to soups, salads, shakes, healthy smoothies, and even porridge.
- Another way is by drinking the milk of flaxseed as an alternative to dairy. This is especially helpful for those allergic to soy or dairy.
- Cold-pressed flaxseed oil sourced organically can add a new punch to old salad dressings and sauces.
- You can simply munch on a handful of mixed seeds, including flaxseed.
Precautions to Take While Consuming Flaxseed During Breastfeeding
Flaxseed should only be consumed with plenty of water as it can cause constipation. Here are some precautions for lactating moms if they are planning to add flaxseed to their breastfeeding diet:
- Allergic Reactions to Flaxseed: While flaxseed is not a commonly allergenic food, there have been documented cases of allergic reactions to both flaxseed and flaxseed oil. If you’re considering incorporating flaxseed into your diet for the first time, it’s a good idea to be vigilant for any possible allergic reactions.
- Caution for Breastfeeding Mothers with Bleeding Disorders or Blood Thinners: If you are a breastfeeding mother and have any bleeding disorders or are taking blood thinners, it’s advisable to avoid flaxseed as it may have a tendency to slow down blood clotting, which could be a concern in such situations.
- Phytic Acid and Micronutrient Absorption: Flaxseed contains phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient that can interfere with the absorption of important micronutrients like zinc and iron. To ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs, it’s best to avoid excessive consumption of flaxseed.
- Consulting a Doctor for Lactating Mothers on Medications: If you’re a lactating mother and are taking medications for conditions like diabetes or high/low blood pressure, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before incorporating flaxseeds into your diet. Flaxseeds are known to have potential effects on blood sugar levels and blood pressure, the stability of which is very important. Hence, professional guidance can help ensure your health remains stable while consuming them.
1. Can flaxseeds reduce the risk of breast cancer in breastfeeding mothers?
Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and some studies have shown that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help in the reduction of breast cancer risk. Furthermore, some clinical trials have recorded the role of flaxseed could play in decreasing breast cancer risk, especially in postmenopausal women.
2. Does flaxseed reduce the risk of osteoporosis in nursing mothers?
A 2019 research done on animals concluded the potential effect of flaxseeds in reducing the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone mineralisation and density.
The topic of flaxseed and breastfeeding has confused many over whether to include it in the lactation diet or not and to what extent. Flaxseed has a woody or nutty taste and can be included in moderation in your diet in the form of oil, ground flaxseed powder, flaxseed crackers, or even in oatmeal and muesli. You can also add them while cooking dal or add them in curd, etc. Flaxseeds can also be added to bread while baking. However, remember, there is no consensus that flaxseed helps increase breast milk supply. So, please consult your doctor and get expert advice before you decide to try flaxseed or their supplements while lactating.
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