Did you know there are vitamins you can take after you have your baby that are different than prenatal vitamins? Many moms aren’t aware that there are postnatal vitamins to help with lactation and getting key nutrients to your newborn, as well as, replenishing your stores.
It is important to continue taking vitamins after your baby is born (even if you’re not breastfeeding). So, let’s get to reviewing the best postnatal vitamins available today.
What Are Postnatal Vitamins?
Postnatal vitamins contain key nutrients like iron, folate, vitamin D, omega 3, and choline. They also have increased amounts of specific vitamins to help you and your baby recover and thrive post-delivery.
There are often vitamins or herbs included that may help promote a healthy milk supply too. Breastfeeding vitamins, non-breastfeeding vitamins, and general vitamins post-pregnancy can aid in your recovery.
You’ll want to pick the one that is right for you given your nursing and recovery situation.
What’s The Difference Between Prenatal & Postnatal Vitamins?
While you can certainly finish off a bottle of prenatal vitamins if you have them, it is best to switch to a quality postnatal vitamin after the delivery of your baby because they are specifically formulated to help a new mom recover, replenish vitamin and nutrient stores, and help a developing newborn if you are breastfeeding.
Prenatal vitamins contain a basic array of vitamins including iron and folate, but these amounts may not be enough for you and your nursing baby after delivery. Your vitamin may not include Vitamin D and Omega 3 either.
It is important to look at your prenatal vitamins if you do plan to continue taking those long-term while breastfeeding to ensure they contain all the important ingredients.
What Are The Benefits of Postnatal Vitamins?
Key benefits to postnatal vitamins include:
- Preventing prolonged postpartum hair loss – some is considered normal due to hormone changes but can often be minimized or even prevented with the right vitamin mix of biotin, vitamins A, C, D, E, protein, iron, folate, and zinc
- Aiding in healthy breast milk production
- Replenishing iron, calcium, and other vitamin stores
- Preventing postpartum depression (DHA/omega 3 specifically)
- Aiding baby’s brain development (DHA/omega 3 and choline)
- Increasing energy (vitamin D, B12, and iron)
- Optimizing thyroid function (iodine)
- Aiding overall hormone balancing
Are Vitamins Necessary for Postpartum Moms?
If you are eating a very healthy diet, with only homegrown organic fruits, vegetables, and pasture-raised or wild-caught protein, you may not need postnatal vitamins. In fact, eating healthy is really the best way to get all the nutrients you need because your body can best absorb vitamins and minerals in this way.
But, because we live in a society where it is very difficult to consume a diet like this 100% of the time, it is best to find a whole food or quality postnatal vitamin to supplement with. Even organic vegetables and fruits that we buy at the grocery store lose their good probiotics while they’re waiting to be purchased, which means we lose out on good gut health potential.
In addition to the time in the womb, a baby’s gut health is established in the first 2-3 years of life, and breastfeeding has a very positive effect on this, which is why we want to make sure we are consuming the healthiest foods and taking a quality postnatal vitamin. As we’ve learned in more recent years, our gut health plays a vital role in our immune system, staving off diseases and obesity, and many other health factors.
Which Vitamins Are Important for Postpartum Recovery?
Carrying a baby and delivering a baby require a lot of emotional, physical, and mental work on your behalf. While there is no greater job in the world than being a mother, it can leave you feeling utterly exhausted in the postpartum phase.
Some people refer to the first 6 weeks as “survival mode”. Everyone has their own definition of the postpartum phase but I like to think of it as from the time of delivery through one year.
While your hormones might start regulating at around 3 months with proper care, you are still healing and physically vulnerable for at least a year after. In addition to getting adequate sleep, there are key vitamins that you can be sure are included in your postnatal vitamin.
These will aid in your recovery and restore your body’s vitamin and mineral stores. This is especially important if you’re breastfeeding as you are still providing your baby with his or her sole source of nutrition which means all of these same vitamins and minerals are coming from you one way or another!
Here is a list of the most important vitamins for postpartum recovery.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B12
- DHA/Omega 3
The best postnatal vitamins will be from whole food, real food sources. The least amount of processing is best, and they should be third-party tested to ensure the ingredients are what is listed on the label. Avoid just reading the front of vitamin labels to avoid marketing hype.
Pay close attention to the back of the container to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need from the best sources.
The Best Postnatal Vitamins for Breastfeeding Moms
Now that you have all that important information about the reasons to invest in postnatal vitamins and how important they are to your postpartum recovery, let’s review the best postnatal vitamins available.
This will allow you to make an informed decision on which postnatal vitamins are best for you. First, I will start with the list of the best postnatal vitamins for breastfeeding moms.
This postnatal vitamin is specifically designed for postpartum moms to promote energy, mood, and lactation support. It is made with real food ingredients and is fermented with probiotics to maximize absorption. It is a 3 in 1 multi-vitamin, multi-mineral, and multi-herb formula.
The New Chapter whole food multivitamin for postnatal also includes clean, pure, whole-food ingredients including organic superfoods such as turmeric, oats, and kelp. This brand is third-party tested to ensure accurate labeling and ingredients.
It does not contain DHA, so you’ll want to supplement with a separate Omega 3 supplement to help prevent postpartum depression and help your baby’s brain development.
The Pink Stork postnatal vitamin is a comprehensive postnatal vitamin with vital nutrients for postpartum health and lactation support. It supports postpartum wellness, immunity, milk production, energy levels, and more. It includes many of the essentials including folate, vegetarian DHA (from algae), B Vitamins, iron, and zinc.
This supplement is free from gluten, wheat, dairy, sugars/sweeteners, soy, GMOs, and is third-party tested. This is a woman-owned company and is also run by women in case you’re fond of supporting women-owned small businesses.
The MegaFood postnatal multivitamin supports optimal nutrition for mom after birth with key nutrients like vitamins C, D3, and E, plus minerals like iodine and chromium to meet changing nutritional demands while breastfeeding. This is third party tested and contains only non-GMO ingredients and is certified dairy and soy-free.
This is my most highly recommended postnatal multivitamin for breastfeeding moms because it includes minerals such as choline and herbs like moringa. Both are great for milk supply, mom, and baby. Although it does not contain DHA/Omega 3, you can easily add an Omega 3 supplement to have a complete postnatal multivitamin experience.
Top Postnatal Vitamins for Moms Who Are Not Breastfeeding
Although still labeled as for breastfeeding moms, the postnatal vitamins recommended here are primarily for the general restoration of your vitamin stores and mood support. It is not generally recommended that moms take one of these supplements in conjunction with the above as that may be too many herbs/vitamins to absorb and utilize by the body.
Also, there may be herbs in the below supplements that can cause a decrease in milk supply depending on what it is.
This postnatal vitamin supplement contains a hormone and mood support blend of vitamins and herbs including vitamin D, ashwagandha, chamomile, DHA, saffron, and more. It supports balanced postpartum emotions, cortisol levels, and mood stability.
This supplement is free from gluten, wheat, dairy, sugars/sweeteners, soy, GMOs, and is third-party tested.
This postnatal vitamin was designed by a neurologist to help moms thrive after the birth of their baby. Breastfeeding or not, you will want to pair it with their Omega 3 supplement to help prevent postpartum depression.
These vitamins are gluten-free and free of soy, yeast, fish/shellfish, sugar, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, nuts, GMOs, and dairy/lactose.
The Mommy’s Bliss vitamins offer postnatal support energy and recovery. They include biotin and collagen which help with postpartum energy, healing, joint health, hair health, skin health, and nail health.
They include a special blend of antioxidant vitamins & zinc to support your immunity and maintain your daily nutrients so you and your little one can thrive. These gummies are free of gluten, soy, dairy, and artificial flavors and colors.
The Best Postnatal Vitamins for Preventing Hair Loss
Your hair and nails probably felt and looked great in pregnancy. Then, all of a sudden your hair may start falling out in certain places during postpartum recovery.
For some women, this happens immediately, and for others, it may take a couple of months. For me, it was around month three or four postpartum that I noticed my hairline was missing some hair.
This is somewhat normal, but can actually be minimized if we ensure we are taking a quality postnatal vitamin and eating healthy foods. Postpartum hair loss is caused by hormone fluctuations and sudden changes in our body’s functions.
Thankfully, it is temporary! We can be sure that we are giving our body the best postnatal vitamins to help prevent hair loss.
Check your postnatal vitamin to ensure it includes the following key nutrients for your body. If it doesn’t, you can supplement with a separate vitamin.
Some vitamins have a combination of various ones, so be sure you’re not consuming too much of any particular vitamin if you’re supplementing with another vitamin. Combining vitamins with a healthy diet with good protein is the best way to promote hair growth.
Hair is actually the fastest growing tissue in the human body, so you shouldn’t have much of an issue growing it back if you’re properly nourished!
All your body’s cells require vitamin A for growth and that includes your hair. Vitamin A creates sebum which helps it stay moisturized as well.
You can get Vitamin A from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, eggs, yogurt, and cod liver oil.
B vitamins such as biotin are well known for keeping your hair healthy and growing because they carry oxygen and nutrients to your scalp. You can get B vitamins through meat, almonds, whole grains, and dark, leafy greens such as spinach.
Vitamin C is needed to make collagen and helps prevent free radical damage to your hair. It also helps your body absorb iron which is especially important for postpartum moms.
You can find Vitamin C in citrus fruits, peppers, and strawberries.
Low levels of Vitamin D are linked to hair loss, among other things. Vitamin D can be found in food sources such as fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish.
Vitamin D is best created by direct contact from the sun’s rays. A few minutes of sunshine can do your body (and hair) good! You can also supplement with a Vitamin D3 + Vitamin K2 supplement for better absorption.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help prevent hair loss. You can get Vitamin E through spinach, sunflower seeds, avocados, and almonds.
Folate plays a role in healthy cell growth, including your hair. You can find folate in greens, beans, broccoli, citrus fruits, meat, nuts, and poultry.
Iron deficiency is often linked to hair loss especially in women. It is an important mineral for hair growth. Foods high in iron include oysters, spinach, meat, lentils, and eggs.
Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue and growth. You can get zinc from food sources such as beef, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
The following gummy vitamin options contain a variety of the above hair growth vitamins and minerals:
- Pink Stork Postpartum Hair Loss Gummies: Hair Skin and Nails Vitamins, Postnatal Vitamins, Biotin for Hair Regrowth + Strengthening
- Baby Blues Postpartum Hair Loss Vitamins: Passion Fruit Gummies with Biotin, Collagen, & Folate
How Long Should I Take Postnatal Vitamins?
You should take postnatal vitamins as long as you are breastfeeding, and even beyond depending on the length of time that you plan on nursing your baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends mothers take a vitamin as long as their breastfeeding and even longer.
Your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) may recommend that you continue to take your prenatal multivitamin while you are breastfeeding. If you are eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of protein, including low mercury, wild-caught fish at least two times a week, you may recognize that your body is getting plenty of nutrients.
As long as you are breastfeeding though, vitamins are a great idea to help supplement what you may not be getting through your regular diet. If your baby is not nursing as often, is at least one year old, and is getting their nutrients from food sources other than your breast milk primarily, you may try reducing the vitamins you are taking.
However, key vitamins like Vitamin D, iodine, calcium, and Omega 3 are still important to take regularly if you’re not consuming foods with these in them.
Do Postnatal Vitamins Have Side Effects?
Before taking any new vitamin or supplement, be sure you consult with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you to take and will not have any contraindications with medication you may already be taking. Keep in mind, however, they may not be as knowledgeable on the breastfeeding indications (positive or negative) because it is not required for them to have lactation education.
You may experience nausea if you take your vitamins without food or a lot of water or a juice beverage. Try eating protein- like eggs with a piece of whole-grain toast in the morning if you choose to take your vitamins in the morning, or take your vitamins when you eat your lunch.
This can really help avoid nausea or any sick feeling when you consume your vitamins. Sometimes, certain brands of vitamins just don’t agree with our bodies for whatever reason.
If you’ve tried them for a week with food, at different times of the day, and you still can’t tolerate them, try switching brands, and checking the ingredients to ensure there isn’t an ingredient included that you know your body doesn’t tolerate well.
If you think you should be taking a postnatal vitamin (most likely you should be), be sure to select the one that sounds best to you from the selection above.
Even if you eat a relatively healthy diet, every mom can benefit from a boost in their vitamins and minerals after having a baby. After all, that is the time in your life when you’ll feel the greatest shift in hormones (and suddenly).
So, it’s important to find a means to help your body recover optimally. In addition to sleep, managing stress, and eating healthy, you can add a quality multivitamin from this list to not only help you rebalance your body, but also provide the best nutrients for your baby if you are breastfeeding and the best version of yourself if you are breastfeeding or not.