Breastfeeding Calcium Needs

Breastfeeding, Calcium and You

Women and Calcium

When breastfeeding, calcium is an important mineral, but it is not the only one a mother should consider. Too much calcium, especially in the form of supplements, competes with other minerals and is not a good idea.

Calcium requirements for women have long been the emphasis of supplement companies and conventional wisdom surrounding bone health. Bones, however, are made up of more than 12 minerals, all of which are important. Exclusively focusing on calcium for women, whilst ignoring all the other nutrients needed for good health, is missing the big picture.

Breastfeeding and Vitamins

If you are breastfeeding, calcium should be only one part of the story. The best diet for a nursing mother should be varied, full of fresh, brightly colored vegetables and fruits, high quality protein and healthy fats.

During lactation, mothers can meet their need for calcium, plus other important minerals and vitamins, by consuming rich bone broths and unprocessed salt.

High quality salt (like Himalayan salt) contains ionic trace minerals that are vital for good health, but often missing from foods grown in depleted soil. Good foods for lactation include nutrient dense, whole foods and a diet that excludes junk food and processed fats.

What Are Calcium Foods?

Raw milk and dairy products from pasture fed, healthy cows are a good source of calcium.

More important than meeting daily calcium needs and therefore sufficient calcium in breastmilk, is the matter of absorption. When breastfeeding, calcium rich foods should be consumed with adequate amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D3 and K2. Without these vitamins, the mineral cannot be utilized.

Small fatty fish like anchovies, sardines and whitebait are rich in calcium and other minerals, plus vitamins A, D and B12.

A diet full of dark green, leafy vegetables, including spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens and collard greens, as well as sesame seeds should supply a good amount of the calcium needed during breastfeeding, especially if they are organic.

Calcium from food sources are usually better absorbed than calcium from a nursing supplement, so including these foods in the diet for a lactating mother is a good way to ensure adequate daily calcium for women who are breastfeeding.

By Gizelle Bichard

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