The best postnatal vitamin
While prenatal vitamins are commonly recommended for mothers-to-be, postnatal vitamins are just as essential for new mothers, particularly if they're breastfeeding. Women's health can take a hit after childbirth, especially if their dietary needs aren't being met, and many postnatal vitamins are formulated to replenish energy and breast milk. It's important to know what you're getting in any dietary supplement, and ones designed for postpartum can vary widely in ingredients as well as function.
For all you need to consider to make an informed purchasing decision, read our shopping guide. We've also included our top picks, including Actif's Organic Postnatal Vitamins, which boasts 25 organic ingredients that help increase natural energy for moms and more milk production for babies.
Considerations when choosing postnatal vitamins
Some postnatal vitamins are formulated specifically to help promote lactation and breast milk supply, which many new moms struggle with. Other postnatal vitamins supply key nutrients and/or herbs to support immunity and energy for moms, and also provide nutrients for babies who are being breastfed. Even with postnatal vitamins that aren't designated to boost lactation, some users experience increased milk supply anyway from the nutrients packed into the supplement.
Fenugreek: This herb is thought to increase milk production.
Brewer's yeast: This fungus (safe for consumption) has a history of increasing milk supply. It also contains B vitamins, chromium, iron, selenium, and probiotics.
Vitamin C: A time-tested vitamin that boosts the immune system, which can be down after childbirth, leaving new moms vulnerable to illness.
Vitamin D: Many new moms and babies are deficient in this vitamin that's critical to strong bones and immunity of both mom and baby.
B vitamins: Choosing a supplement containing the spectrum of B vitamins can benefit moms and babies in a host of ways, from increased energy for moms to improved sleep for babies.
DHA: This omega-3 fatty acid is a popular supplement on its own, but as a postnatal vitamin it can help with your baby's neurological development. For new moms, it can help with mood issues like postpartum depression.
Other ingredients may include choline, iodine, and folic acid.
Postnatal vitamins fall into three broad categories: multivitamins, breastfeeding formulas, and omega-3s. Most vitamins are in capsule or tablet form, neither of which have a reputation for being particularly tasty. Gummies are a less common but tastier form of postnatal supplements.
Organic postnatal vitamins are free from agrochemicals like pesticides and are often non-GMO as well. Be sure they're certified organic. These tend also to be free of artificial dyes, flavors, or synthetic fillers. Some may include natural lemon or citrus flavoring.
Sugar-free postnatal vitamins are desirable for women mindful of their sugar intake or who suffer from yeast infections.
Postnatal vitamin prices
Prices for a bottle of postnatal vitamins range anywhere from $10 to $35 per bottle. Organic ones range from $25 to upwards of $35. Bottles on average contain 60 pills, with a recommended dose of two to three pills a day.
Q. Can't I just continue to take my prenatal vitamins after childbirth?
A. Many women continue taking their prenatal vitamins postpartum as recommended by their doctor. Like prenatal vitamins, they contain B vitamin complexes and folic acid. The difference is that postnatal vitamins are geared more toward newborn development and may have ingredients to promote breast milk production.
Q. Can't I get the nutrients I need from my diet alone?
A. You can, but many new moms struggle to regulate their eating with the demands of a newborn. Vitamin D, for instance, is an essential nutrient for newborns, and it's difficult to get sufficient amounts from food alone.
Postnatal vitamins we recommend
Best of the best: Actif Organic Postnatal Vitamins
Our take: A high-quality organic supplement packed with essential nutrients and herbs.
What we like: Promotes both energy and milk production. Free of allergens like gluten, soy, corn, and dairy. Non-GMO. All 25 ingredients are organic.
What we dislike: Pricey.
Best bang for your buck: Milkies Nursing Postnatal Breastfeeding Multivitamin
Our take: A postnatal formula for breastfeeding new mothers.
What we like: Multivitamin containing ample amounts of D and B vitamins. No artificial dyes, colors, or flavors.
What we dislike: Not designed to increase breast milk supply but does so anyway for some users.
Choice 3: Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega-3
Our take: A high-quality fish oil containing the right amount of omega-3s for postpartum.
What we like: Natural lemon flavor masks fish oil taste. Added D3. Reputable brand for purity and potency. Contains DHA and EPA for baby and mom.
What we dislike: Only contains omega-3s and not other nutrients.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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