Vitamin C is water soluble and a vital antioxidant that everyone needs. It is found in fruits and vegetables. It keeps cells healthy by protecting them, is helpful when it comes to absorbing iron and also aids in the healing of wounds and tissues. The human body is not able to produce this vitamin, and so we need to look at fruits and vegetables that are rich in it so that we can enjoy its benefits.
Vitamin C is used to treat various ailments such as fatigue, infections and even cancer. A deficiency of this Vitamin leads to scurvy, and when consumed, the kidneys keep a check on the amount in our bodies. Any excessive amounts will be removed from the body.
Benefits of Ascorbic Acid during Breastfeeding
As seen, Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, has many benefits to the human body, and when it comes to breastfeeding, it is no different. Here is how it helps nursing mothers
1. Increase in Milk Supply
While not every nursing mother experiences an increase in her milk supply, some mothers so experience it. Your flow becomes quite steady if you take this supplement regularly as well, so if you are experiencing any difficulties in producing milk for your little one, speak to your doctor about Vitamin C and get his or her advice on if it is alright to give it a shot.
2. Stronger Immune System
Breastfeeding mothers are often afraid of becoming sick as they can pass it on to their little ones, but if you are taking a daily dose of Vitamin C, your body will be able to fight off any infections before they have any time to take root. Not only that, but you will be passing on this benefit to your child as well.
3. Strengthens Teeth and Bones
Nursing mothers do not need the additional worry of teeth problems or worrying about broken or injured bones as this will, without a doubt, hinder their ability to look after their little ones. Vitamin C will help strengthen your teeth and bones, especially when working together with other vitamins like Vitamin D so that you have one less thing to worry about when it comes to nutritional needs.
How Does Vitamin C Affect Breast Milk?
When a mother takes Vitamin C in her diet, there is an increase of the vitamin in her breast milk within thirty minutes of her taking it. Her breast milk supply may increase, and for mothers who are already healthy, it will aid them to provide a steady flow of breast milk. When working together with Vitamin E, Vitamin C can have a very positive effect on breast milk as it improves the antioxidant levels in it, which then get passed on to their babies.
Vitamin C in Diet
Mothers who consume a healthy and balanced diet often get the correct amount of Vitamin C that their bodies need. Some common sources of vitamin C are kiwi, citrus fruits, berries, peppers, tomatoes, leafy vegetables and more. By ensuring to add these into your meals on a daily basis, you will not have to worry about having an insufficient amount of it.
Vitamin C Supplements
For women in developed countries, poor nourishment is not a problem, and often, Vitamin C supplements are not needed unless prescribed by a doctor. However, for women in underdeveloped countries, or even those with low incomes who are unable to maintain a balanced diet, Vitamin C supplements often act as their saving grace as it is an essential vitamin that they need to have to remain healthy and pass along the benefits to their babies.
Does vitamin C pass through breast milk? Is it safe to take vitamin C supplements while breastfeeding?
These are questions that nursing mothers or first-time mothers-to-be often wonder. The answer to both is yes. Vitamin C does pass through breast milk and for mothers who are lacking in vitamin C in their bodies, it is vital that they take the supplements as it is found that the amount of the vitamin doubles in their breast milk when they do so.
According to the RDA, it is recommended that breastfeeding women under the age of 18 should take 115mg of Vitamin C per day, and those who are 19 years and older should take 120mg of the vitamin. The maximum amount that can be taken by breastfeeding women is 1800mg per day for those 18 and younger, while those 19 years and above can take a maximum of 2000mg per day.
If you try to take a dosage any higher than the ones mentioned, there is an extreme likelihood that you will experience some unpleasant side effects.
Side Effects of Excess Vitamin C While Nursing
If the recommended dosage of Vitamin in while nursing is exceeding, you are most likely to experience the following side effects:
- Stomach Cramps
- Heart Burn
- Kidney Stones
Here are some frequently asked questions about Vitamin C and breastfeeding:
1. Can vitamin C help to get rid of mastitis?
Yes, it is highly likely that Vitamin C can be used for getting rid of mastitis. Mastitis is a disease that occurs when a milk duct is blocked and does not clear out on its own. Staphylococcus aureus causes the most chronic type of mastitis, and there have been studies that show that Vitamin C limits Staphylococcus aureus, therefore working against mastitis.
2. Does smoking reduce the amount of vitamin C in breast milk?
Yes, smoking does reduce the amount of Vitamin C in breast milk, so women who smoke will require a higher dosage of Vitamin C per day, at least 35mg more per day.
3. Can vitamin C in breast milk reduce your baby’s chances of developing allergies?
Just like adults, babies also need a certain amount of Vitamin C in their diets to keep them healthy, better help their immunity and prevent them from developing diseases like scurvy. Those babies who have been breastfed by mothers with a good amount of vitamin C in their diet often have a smaller tendency to develop allergies. Mothers with food hypersensitivity will have babies who have low vitamin C in their systems, thereby making them more prone to developing allergies.
4. Will vitamin C decrease your milk supply?
While Vitamin C taken in the recommended amounts can benefit your child, if taken excessively, it could have just the opposite reaction. Vitamin C in some cases can increase the quantity of breast milk produced, but for mothers who are overly sensitive, it may have the opposite effect and decrease the amount of breast milk produced as it can sometimes act as an anti-lactogenic food.
As we have seen, Vitamin C is incredibly beneficial to both you and your child, but taken in very high doses, it can become dangerous to both. When taking Vitamin C, breastfeeding safety is of utmost importance. It is better to get Vitamin C from healthy food sources rather than supplements. However, there may be cases where your doctor feels that you are in need of Vitamin C supplements.
Most often, this will occur in cases of deficiency or if you are suffering from an ailment. When it comes to any medication or supplements, do not try to self-medicate no matter how good something appears as you are not only risking your health, but that of your child’s as well. Always consult with your doctor on the best course of action as your doctor will be able to tell you if it is needed or if it may cause further complications.
Also Read: Exclusive Breastfeeding – Benefits and Tips