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Can You Take Supplements While Breastfeeding?


Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to nourish your baby, providing them with essential nutrients and minerals needed to grow. But if you have a deficiency, can you take supplements while breastfeeding? The answer depends on the supplement in question. To help, we’ve compiled a list of supplements that are safe while breastfeeding and supplements to avoid.


Benefits of Supplements While Breastfeeding

Supplements can help compensate for nutrient deficiencies and ensure that you and your baby receive all the essential vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. Some of the key benefits of taking supplements while breastfeeding include:


  • Ensure adequate nutrient intake
  • Replenish nutrient deficiencies
  • Supplement vegan or vegetarian diets
  • Support your baby’s growth
  • Strengthen postpartum recovery


However, while there are plenty of benefits to taking supplements during breastfeeding, that doesn’t mean you should head to your nearest drug store and start shopping. It’s important to understand that each supplement’s safety differs during breastfeeding. You should also work with your doctor to determine if you have any nutrient deficiencies to begin with. If not, supplements may be unnecessary.


Supplements That Are Safe When Breastfeeding

Hundreds of different supplements on the market are claiming to increase your milk supply or provide your baby with brain-boosting benefits. While some vitamins and minerals are key to your newborn’s development, not all supplements have the research to support their claims. To ensure you stay safe and avoid potentially dangerous substances, consider the following supplements that are safe to take during breastfeeding.



Multivitamins are generally safe to take during breastfeeding, and they can help fill the gaps of any minerals or vitamins that you may be missing in your diet. However, not all multivitamins are the same. Talk to your doctor for a recommendation that’s safe to take while breastfeeding.


Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are essential to a healthy pregnancy and can continue providing your baby with benefits during breastfeeding. Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid during breastfeeding can help support healthy development, but always speak with your doctor beforehand.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a critical vitamin that aids in developing neural tube systems, among other things. That’s why getting enough vitamin B12 during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is so important. Strong deficiencies could lead to developmental issues or anemia, so talk to your doctor about testing and taking a supplement. You should get about 2.8mcg daily through foods, which is often difficult for vegetarians or vegans. Talk to your doctor about supplementing if you’re worried you may have a deficiency.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another important vitamin to prioritize during pregnancy and breastfeeding. You can usually get the daily recommended amount of 120 mg through food, but if not, taking a supplement is important. Always check with your doctor first, as too much vitamin C may cause upset stomachs.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps improve calcium absorption and strengthens your baby’s skeletal development. If you don’t get enough through food, vitamin D is safe to take while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor to determine how much you need before starting any supplements on your own.



Calcium supports a strong bone mass, which can actually be strained during breastfeeding. Taking calcium supplements is safe, and your body needs about 1,000 mg daily while breastfeeding. Just confirm with your doctor regarding how much you need and which supplement brands are best for absorption.


Vitamin K

Many newborns receive a vitamin K shot immediately following birth, but you can also take supplements while breastfeeding. However, you may not need excess vitamin K, so undergo a nutrient screening before you go out and buy a ton of new supplements.



If you’re taking a prenatal or postnatal supplement, chances are it includes choline. Choline is an important supplement to take during lactation; breastfeeding mothers need about 550 mg daily. Talk to your doctor about supplements if you’re not already taking a pre- or postnatal vitamin.



Biotin is a nutrient that’s said to help with hair, skin, and nail health. Although some indications show that taking a biotin supplement can help, it’s best to only take it if you have a vitamin B7 deficiency. However, many women tend to have depleted biotin (vitamin B7) levels while breastfeeding, so your doctor may recommend taking one. Always double-check before taking biotin, and never exceed the daily recommended value of 35 mcg. You can also find natural sources of biotin in beef, eggs, and salmon,



Iron is another essential mineral that your body needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. You should be getting about 120 mg daily. Talk to your doctor about getting tested for iron deficiencies during breastfeeding and which brands are the best for absorption.



Magnesium is one of the body’s essential vitamins, but many people have a deficiency. However, it plays a vital role in supporting hundreds of different biochemicals in the body, so it’s important that you get the daily recommended dose of between 310 mg and 320 mg. Magnesium supplements are safe to take when breastfeeding within these ranges, but if you don’t have a deficiency, it’s not necessary.



Omega-3 fatty acids can play an important role in brain development, even from a young age. However, many prenatal vitamins don’t contain enough DHA and EPA (the two fatty acids in omega-3s), so a supplement may be recommended. Breastfeeding women should aim to get about 250-375 mg daily but always confirm with your doctor first.



Zinc is another mineral that can help your body thrive, but breastfeeding depletes it. You should be getting about 12mg daily, so talk to your doctor about supplementing options if your diet lacks enough natural zinc sources.


Supplements to Avoid While Breastfeeding

There are also a few supplements to avoid while breastfeeding, as their safety has not yet been studied enough. Remember, the FDA doesn’t require that supplements be tested like other medications, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Some of the supplements to avoid during breastfeeding include:



The use of collagen and collagen supplements has increased over the past few years, but is it safe to take while breastfeeding? Unfortunately, there’s not enough research about whether it has adverse effects during breastfeeding, so it’s best to wait until you’ve weaned your baby to resume any collagen supplements.



This popular cold and flu herbal remedy is believed to help with immune response. However, it hasn’t been studied enough to assess its safety in newborns. Continue eating healthy; your breast milk will give your baby plenty of immune-boosting powers.



Elderberry is another popular cold and flu remedy. It’s often taken at the first sign of symptoms or as a preventative daily vitamin. However, it’s best to avoid it during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as its effects on newborns haven’t been studied enough.


Ginkgo Biloba

There are several benefits to taking ginkgo biloba, but it has been deemed unsafe to take while breastfeeding. Ginkgo biloba should not be consumed by children, so discontinue use well before pregnancy and throughout your breastfeeding years.


Kava Kava

Kava kava is an herbal remedy that’s sometimes used to help promote relaxation. It may be in tea or supplement form, but it can have negative effects on your baby, including central nervous depression or skin discoloration. It should be avoided completely during breastfeeding.



There are hundreds of different health benefits of turmeric, but cooking with it is a bit different than taking turmeric capsules. Feel free to use it as a spice but avoid taking it as a supplement while breastfeeding.



Getting enough sleep while nursing can be difficult, especially if your newborn’s sleep schedule is off. However, melatonin hasn’t been researched enough to determine its safety during breastfeeding, so it’s best to try some deep relaxation techniques and other effective sleep strategies instead.


While eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with whole fruits and vegetables will provide you with a dense variety of nutrients and minerals, sometimes supplements are needed. Always speak with your doctor before you take anything—regardless of if it’s an over-the-counter medication, herbal supplement, or prescription. To help support a healthy breastfeeding journey, don’t forget to get your insurance-covered breast pump from Byram Healthcare. We carry some popular brands, such as Medela, Spectra, Elvie, Willow, and more. Byram also partners with leading insurance providers to help simplify the ordering process. Contact one of our specialists today to learn more or get started on your order.