Are you a new mother who is currently breastfeeding a baby? Do you need to improve your breast milk quality? Studies have shown that approximately 80% of American babies start out being breastfed. Many medical experts and health institutions recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.
In this article, we explain the effect of taking omega-3 fatty acids in improving the quality of breast milk and ways how you can take the right amount of omega-3s.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Breastfeeding Moms
Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA or docosahexaenoic acid) are essential nutrients crucial for both maternal and infant health. Studies revealed that the DHA status is directly linked to the length of gestation and fetal growth of the pregnant woman. For the baby, omega-3 fatty acids support brain development, attention, memory, vision, and immunological health conditions.
As an essential omega-3 fatty acid, DHA is most abundant in the brain and retina of the eye. It is also necessary for babies, especially during the first two years of a child’s development. This component is also present in breast milk. However, there are some cases that which many moms don’t have quality breast milk due to their struggles in breastfeeding properly. So, many researchers study the potential effects and benefits of taking omega-3s to improve breast milk quality.
The omega-3 fatty acid or DHA found in breast milk provides numerous health benefits for both mother and baby as they discovered in their research that taking omega-3s can actually help in increasing DHA levels in the breast milk which, in turn, can improve the overall quality of the breast milk.
Here are some research studies about this matter:
- Researchers found that the content of DHA in the breast milk of North American mothers tends to be lower than in many other countries. Scientists believe the reason is that mothers who eat the standard American diet (SAD) have considerably lower amounts of omega-3s than breastmilk made by women in cultures who eat more seafood.
- In a 2006 study of the DHA content of breastmilk of mothers from nine countries, the DHA was highest in breastfeeding mothers in Japan and the Arctic cultures and lowest in Canada and the United States.
- A certain research report shows that breastfeeding mothers who take omega-3 supplements enjoy a higher content of EPA/DHA in their breast milk.
The journal stated that having “a minimum daily DHA intake of 200 mg/day is recommended for pregnant and lactating women to support both maternal and infant health”, and it has been clearly shown that omega-3 supplementation increases mother’s milk DHA content.
How Breastfeeding Moms Can Easily Take Omega-3s
There are many ways breastfeeding moms can easily take adequate amounts of omega-3s. Here are the common ways to consume more omega-3s or DHA:
- Take a gram or 1,000 mg per day of combined EPA/DHA.
- Eat some portions of wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and/or tuna.
- Eat nuts and seeds rich in omega-3s like chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts.
- Consume foods fortified with omega-3s like eggs, milk, soy beverages, and many others.
- Choose trusted brands of omega-3 supplements that contain fish oil and/or vegan algae seafood.
Dr. Ruth Peterson, a health professional from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for babies and mothers. It is the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition, with breastmilk uniquely tailored to meet the health needs of a growing baby.” To improve your breast milk quality, we highly suggest that you eat foods rich in omega-3s and take some omega-3 supplements like our Sakura Omega-3 Dietary Supplement!