Updated: Aug 3, 2020

One of the biggest challenges that breastfeeding women face is overcoming the many common and uncomfortable lactation issues that can occur. In fact, breastfeeding pain and discomfort affect 1 in 3 women, especially in first time mothers. While breastfeeding challenges can happen to anyone, those who take antibiotics during the last trimester of pregnancy, birth or during early postpartum are at a significantly increased risk of developing lactation issues. 

A common problem lactating mothers face is plugged ducts, which happens when a blockage in the milk duct blocks the flow of milk, causing discomfort, pain, and inflammation. There are a variety of causes of plugged ducts, including oversupply, irregular feedings, tongue/lip ties, improper latch, sudden weaning, and excessive stress. If untreated, it can lead to mastitis, a painful bacterial infection, so taking care of plugged ducts as soon as symptoms arise is key.

Fortunately, there are many ways to help release plugged ducts. We are extremely lucky to have Breanna Duncan, Owner and Lactation Consultant at The Mama Mantra, LLC, and winner of Austin Birth Award for “Best IBCLC/Lactation Consultant Practice” in both 2017 and 2018, share with us her top tips for treating plugged ducts naturally. 

Things to take orally

1. Daily probiotic - Probiotic supplementation has been shown to significantly improve breast comfort during lactation. 

  • Garden of Life Women's Probiotic has been shown in many studies to have 2 specific strains (Lactobacillus Fermentum and Lactobacillus Salivarius) that assist with plugged ducts/mastitis.

  • Our Mother Nutrient Breastfeeding Probiotic also includes Hereditum Lc40, a targeted probiotic strain that has been clinically proven to provide greater support compared with antibiotic therapy and offers short term and long term nursing benefits

2. Vitamin C (upper limit ~2000mg), Vitamin D, Echinacea (as directed on package), raw garlic 2-3 cloves daily (up to 4-5 cloves per day) during acute plugged duct. Continue these remedies after the duct has cleared for about one week.

3. Homeopathic Remedies:

Homeopathic Phytolacca for when breasts are firm, lumpy, or when you experience radiating pain, especially when baby latches. Take as directed on the bottle or as directed by homeopathic practitioner.

- Homeopathic Belladonna for plugged ducts/mastitis that has an acute onset of fever, chills, and throbbing pain. Take as directed on the bottle or as directed by homeopathic practitioner.

4. Happy Ducts Tincture - A liquid herbal blend tincture that includes Poke root, which is very helpful for plugged ducts/mastitis.

5. Lecithin: The recommended dose is 1200mg 3-4x daily. After every week or so of ducts being released, decrease by 1 capsule (1200mg). For recurrent plugged ducts, mother may need to continue to take 1-2 capsules a day to keep plugs at bay.

6. Iron supplement for any history or symptoms of anemia, as anemia can exacerbate plugged ducts

Therapies to try:

7. Laser therapy or therapeutic ultrasound treatment - If your blocked duct has not resolved within 48 hours or so, therapeutic ultrasound is a great option that helps break up the blocked duct. Most local physiotherapy or sports medicine clinics can provide this therapy for you. However, very few are aware of this use of ultrasound to treat blocked ducts so it is best to see an ultrasound therapist with experience in this technique. One ultrasound treatment is typically sufficient to help resolve your pain and discomfort. If two treatments on two consecutive days have not helped resolve the blocked duct, it is likely more treatments will not help. Your blocked duct should be re-evaluated by your doctor or by an IBCLC at The Mama Mantra. Ultrasound therapy may also prevent recurrent blocked ducts that develop in the same part of the breast. The recommended dose of ultrasound is 2 watts/cm² continuous for five minutes to the affected area, once daily for up to two treatments (from International BreastFeeding Centre).

  • Dr. Katherine Melot at Precision Chiropractic in Southwest Austin performs a hot laser therapy for plugged ducts and it works WONDERS. The treatment is fast and affordable. 

  • Sullivan Physical Therapy also offers ultrasound therapy for plugged ducts.

8. Acupuncture can also be helpful to relieve pain and encourage healing for mastitis and plugged ducts. Dr. Danielle Martinez of Danielle Martinez Acupuncture is a Licensed Acupuncturist that focuses on women's health and postpartum care. Her practice is based in Austin, TX.

Massaging the breast

9. Perform therapeutic breast massage every day to help with lymph flow and release the buildup of milk

  • Perform manual compressions/massage while breastfeeding or pumping of any plugged areas in the breast

  • Use the back of an electric toothbrush on the affected area as a massage tool to break up the blocked duct. 

  • Massage coconut oil onto the affected area and use a wide tooth comb to sweep over plugged areas from back to front to help release.

10. Other tips

  • Nurse frequently! Nurse around the clock, ensuring deep latch with proper positioning, and try to do skin to skin/resting with baby as much as possible.

  • Stay hydrated - increase your water intake. Fresh pineapple juice (not from concentrate), which contains enzymes called bromelain, can help reduce inflammation. 

  • This electrolyte powder contains minerals that help keep your body stay hydrated, contains very little sugar, and is sweetened with stevia. 1 package dissolved in 1 glass of water = 3 glasses of water.

  • Eat more probiotic foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and fermented foods. 

  • Decrease the amount of sugar, salt, saturated fat, and dairy in your diet and increase anti-inflammatory foods like green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, and blueberries. 

  • Potato poultice - Place either grated potato or raw slices directly on the breast to ease pain and swelling. Leave on for about 20 minutes and repeat several times a day. More detailed info here.

  • Dangle nursing or dangle pumping - Let gravity help encourage the milk to flow and massage the area as you pump or nurse.

  • Wear loose clothing to avoid compression of breast area.

  • REST! Take time for yourself each day, as stress and emotional upheaval can cause an increase in occurrence of plugged ducts. 

Things you can do if you have a milk bleb (if you see a white pore/milk blister on the nipple):

  • Gentle exfoliation 1-2x per day with a warm washcloth.

  • Massage from behind the bleb (directly on the nipple) in shower with warm water running after exfoliation.

  • Use a sterile needle to prick the bleb to aid in releasing the blocked milk if needed (ask your provider to do this for you, ideally not done at home).

  • Saline rinses at least 3x daily with epsom salts (soaking 3-5min) - a Haakaa is very convenient for this!

  • After 3 or more nursing sessions per day, apply warmed extra virgin olive oil on a cotton ball and wear it in a nursing bra over the bleb until the next feeding (ideally this is done after a saline soak).

  • Apply prescription Triple Nipple Ointment 2-3x daily or more for 10 day span or 10% hydrocortisone cream 2-3x per day to thin the skin until it breaks naturally. You can get the Triple Nipple Ointment from your OB/midwife and it is filled at a compounding pharmacy.

If you are trying to reduce your milk supply, try the following:

  • Take herbs: sage, jasmine, parsley, peppermint, lemon balm, spearmint. These can be taken as a tea. Have 1-2 cups per day while reducing supply. 

  • Use cabbage leaves - Use washed, chilled or room temperature green cabbage leaves and leave on the breast until they wilt. Repeat as often as needed. 

  • Express just enough milk to relieve your discomfort.

Wow, what a wealth of knowledge and information from Breanna Duncan, BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC! Through her work as an IBCLC at The Mama Mantra, she has been providing a wide range of breastfeeding support for her clients. 

The mission of The Mama Mantra is:

"to provide exceptional care to help you reach YOUR goals with guidance, compassion and encouragement so that your breastfeeding journey is enjoyable and optimal. Breastfeeding can be a challenge for both mom and baby. We provide care for every situation, for full-term infants, pre-term infants, infants with breastfeeding challenges due to many reasons and for their mother's who experience difficulties."

My own breastfeeding journey

Breanna is who I credit for helping me on my induced lactation journey for Luca. I can personally attest to her incredible dedication, compassion, and knowledge, and it has been amazing to continue working with her. 

If you are breastfeeding and need support, don't hesitate to seek support from a lactation consultant. Contact The Mama Mantra to get more information about consultations, online support and classes, inducing/relactation services, and LGBTQIA services

You can also find Breanna on Instagram @theboobieninja

With support, we can navigate and overcome breastfeeding challenges and feel empowered!

Did you experience any breastfeeding challenges? What helped you? Please share in the comments!

DisclaimerThese should not be a replacement for seeking medical care (and having your care provider “ok” the supplements you desire taking) or a replacement for assistance from a knowledgeable IBCLC to determine the best course of treatment based on personal history and to ensure there isn’t another primary reason that plugged ducts are happening (like tongue ties, infrequent feeding, incomplete milk removal, etc.), as those things should be ruled out/fixed first prior to utilizing any specific course of treatment.

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

As most of you know by now, we welcomed Luca, our baby boy last week. Because I could no longer carry a baby, we turned to surrogacy to be able to have our long-awaited second child. Since we started the surrogacy process, I had yearned to be able to breastfeed my new baby, just like I did with his older brother Nico. I did some research and although it would definitely involve more work, it was not an impossible idea, and it actually has a name- "induced lactation". Most commonly used by mothers of adoptive children and through surrogacy.

Why induce lactation?

As a holistic nutritionist, I have spent countless hours researching the benefits of mother's breastmilk. Not only is it the best source of nutrients for a human baby, it is easiest to digest and boosts infant's immune system with its multiple immune-boosting compounds. As many people refer to it, breastmilk is liquid gold. I wanted to provide my baby with the best nutrition possible and give him the same gift I gave to his older brother. But aside from all this, I also wanted the bonding experience that breastfeeding provides. Since I didn't carry Luca in my womb for nine months, I wanted to nurse him so I could develop a more intimate relationship with him.

The Process

Induced lactation may not be a very common practice, but there is plenty of information out there and lots of successful stories to learn from. I first joined an induced lactation Facebook group and bought a book about it. I then hired a lactation consultant to guide me through the process and hold my hand. Surrogacy is such an emotional journey, and I needed all the support I could get.

Upon the first appointment with my lactation consultant, Breanna Duncan from The Mama Mantra, we determined the Newman-Goldfarb protocol would be the right approach for me. We had 6 months before baby arrived and I was willing to take hormones and other medicine to stimulate production. This was the protocol with the highest success rate (production of 40%-95% of breastmilk requirements) and since I had already breastfed my older son, I was optimistic that I would be successful. Success on my book was producing milk, even if not a full supply.

The process takes about six months, and there are basically three stages:

Phase 1: Preparation by growing breast tissue and milk ducts through taking continuous birth control (BC) pills, herbs and a medicine called Domperidone. This phase takes about 4-5 months.

Phase 2: Starting to build a supply by mimicking birth by stopping BC, start pumping every 3 hours, taking lactation supporting herbs, and continue with the Domperidone. It is recommended to start this phase about 6 weeks before the due date.

Phase 3: Once the baby comes, breastfeeding as much as possible and continue pumping to increase supply. Continue with the Domperidone and herbs.

The continuous birth control pills simulate pregnancy and breast growth via estrogen and progesterone, and the Domperidone increases prolactin to start creating breast milk. Domperidone is a medicine that is not available/approved in the US, so it needs to be ordered from another country, mainly from an online pharmacy in Canada.

I started with birth control and then added the Dom. The side effects from taking Dom were pretty severe for me (nausea, vomit, diarrhea) and after trying to to make it work for about a month, I decided to stop taking it, and hoped that the birth control would be enough. Birth control was not without its side effects either; weight gain, moodiness and fatigue, but I felt like I could handle those for a few months. Birth control pills deplete our bodies from B vitamins and mess with you gut bacteria, so I started taking a B vitamin complex and doubled my probiotics. I took the pill for 5 months until it was 6 weeks before baby's due date.


When I stopped the birth control, I rented a hospital grade pump, a Medela Symphony. I also started taking herbs and supplements to increase milk production and made sure I was pretty hydrated. On my first pumping day, I pumped for 15 minutes 7 times a day, but nothing happened. I heard it was pretty normal for it to take about a week or so to produce even one drop of milk, so I just kept going. By the third day, I finally saw one drop out of each breast! That one drop was so encouraging because it meant that this was working.

I continued to pump every 3 hours during the day and woke up once between 3:00 – 5:00 am to pump at night. My lactation consultant told me that is the time when prolactin – the h

Even though I was producing milk, I didn’t produce colostrum. I’ve been told you can only produce colostrum when you are pregnant because colostrum production starts with the placenta. The characteristics of the milk that you produce with induced lactation is the equivalent of what a mother of a 6-month old would produce, not in quantity but in composition.

My production started increasing every day and by weeks 3-4 I was producing 4.5 ounces, but then it kind of stabilized there. I then realized this was caused by my period returning after 6 months! It is considered normal, even for breastfeeding mamas, to see a dip in supply when they get their period. I continued pumping and added one power pumping session and more herbs and supplements to boost supply. Power pumping means, instead of your regular 15-20 minute pump session, you pump for 20 minutes, then rest for 10, then pump for 10 minutes, then rest for 10 and then do a final 10 minute pump. This is the equivalent of cluster feeding in babies and stimulates more production.

Power pumps seemed to work and I started producing 6, then 8 and peaked at 10 ounces per day, on the week of my baby’s due date. I have been saving all my milk since I started producing 1 oz and freezing it. I am still in awe of what the human body can do. Every night as I poured the milk I collected during the day into freezer bags to store, I thought to myself: I can’t believe I made all this, and I thank my breasts for their hard work :-)


As the founder of a supplement company myself, I truly believe in the power of nutrients for overall health as well as to support lactation. Here is what I currently take:

· Prenatal / Postnatal by Mother Nutrient. I want to make sure the milk I produce has all the nutrients baby needs and also that I am not left depleted by milk production

· Cash Cow a lactation booster by Legendairy Milk. They are also an Austin based company that makes all kinds of organic lactation supplements without fenugreek, since fenugreek is a legume and can disrupt digestion in mothers and babies. The blend I am taking contains moringa, nettle, alfalfa and goat’s rue.

· Biotin gummies by Mother Nutrient. Biotin can do wonders for your skin, hair and nails, but it also helps with breast tissue renewal. My breast tissue is pretty dense, and biotin has helped in loosening the tissue and getting the milk to flow easier.

· Omega 3 by Mother Nutrient. Most Americans are deficient in Omega 3's, this essential fatty acid is super important for baby's brain development and mother's mental health, as well as a powerful antioxidant. On days when I don't eat fatty fish I take one capsule.

· Women’s probiotic by Mother Nutrient. Studies have shown that breastfed babies of mothers that took probiotics during pregnancy and lactation, suffered a reduction in colic, spit up and were 27% less likely to develop eczema, compared to babies of mothers who took a placebo. I didn’t take probiotics with my 6 year old and he was pretty colicky, so I am not risking it this time around.

· Breastfeeding probiotic by Mother Nutrient. When I breastfed my older son, I had 5 bouts of mastitis, not fun. I know I’m prone to mastitis, given my history and my dense breast tissue, so now I am taking this probiotic that has specific strains to prevent and help relieve mastitis.

· Endura by Metagenics. I did a lot of research on what to do to increase production and hydration is key. Some experts recommend nursing women to drink Gatorade, coconut water or electrolyte powders, but those are full of sugar. I found this awesome electrolyte powder that only has 2 gr of sugar and is sweetened with Stevia and it also tastes great. One packet of Endura in a glass of water is the equivalent of drinking 3 glasses of water!

· Mother’s Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals. I usually drink 2-3 cups per day, and have noticed how it helps keep my supply up.

· Lactation bites by Majka. These do have fenugreek but not in huge quantities, I like that they are made with organic unprocessed ingredients, are gluten-free and sweetened with dates.

· Organic Ashwagandha by Mother Nutrient. It is an ayurvedic herb that has been used as a galactagogue in India and reduces stress by decreasing the stress-hormone Cortisol and supporting the adrenal glands. It has really helped me when dealing with stress and anxiety about COVID-19 and having a baby in the middle of the pandemic.

· Organic Golden Collagen by Mother Nutrient. A delicious blend of superfoods and herbs that increase breastmilk production (moringa, fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom) plus the powerful anti-inflamatory turmeric, and grass-fed collagen. I drink it hot or cold with coconut milk, add it to pancakes and smoothies.

Baby is here, now what?

Our surrogate had a beautiful home birth and both my husband and I were able to attend.

I actually caught my baby and did skin-to-skin as soon as he was born. He then latched right away to my breast and I've continued to breastfeed ever since. It felt so magical to be able to breastfeed my baby! We developed an instant connection and I fell deeply in love with him! The love I feel for him is the same as I feel for my 6 year old, there in one instant, my loved doubled and it no longer mattered that I didn't carry him in my womb.

In the first few days after birth, babies don’t need that much milk, but around day 4-5 they need the 10 oz the milk I was producing at that point, so I needed to breastfeed and keep pumping to continue increasing my supply. This sounds easier said than done, when in reality baby is cluster feeding, not sleeping and you are dealing with figuring out how to latch and all that. I haven't been consistent at pumping after baby came but I try to do it 2-3 times per day.

Most mothers that do induced lactation end up producing only a portion of baby’s needs. An average baby needs about 25 oz of milk per day. Since I was producing 10 oz, I expect my supply will increase, since suction is so much better with a baby than a pump. Babies also breastfeed more often, so that should help as well. Our baby is now 1 week old and we started supplementing him with colostrum that our surrogate graciously pumped for him. We were also lucky enough to get donated breastmilk from a local mama, for when his need increases even more.

He is definitely a hungry little caterpillar and we want to make sure we meet his needs whether it comes from my breast, my freezer supply or eventually formula. We use an SNS (supplemental nursing system) to give him additional milk. It is a container that can be placed on the mother's chest or on a pole. The very thin, flexible tubes are fixed alongside the mother's nipples and release additional milk and supplements as the baby feeds. This allows for the baby to get additional milk, while still stimulating the breast to produce more milk. When my breasts are tender or need a break from cluster feeding, my husband feeds baby through the SNS using his finger.

Would I recommend it?

Pumping is not for the faint of heart, I almost quit twice when I had to deal with thrush likely caused by having taken BC for so long, and vasospasms, caused by my ill-fitting flanges. It has made me realize that even though breastfeeding is natural, there are a lot of nuances when it comes to producing and providing milk to babies. It can be very complicated and tiring, so no wonder many mamas decide to end their breastfeeding journeys early. Let’s be honest, it is hard work and we as a society should do a better job of supporting nursing mothers. I can’t imagine after going through all this, having to deal with shaming for breastfeeding in public.

I feel so blessed to have had such an awesome support system during my induced lactation journey. I am so grateful to my amazing lactation consultant, my super supportive husband, my very patient 6 year-old who has seen more than his fair share of dangling breasts, and all the encouraging messages from my friends and family when I shared my progress.

I hope my story inspires and motivates those of you thinking about inducing lactation, please feel free to share it with someone you think would benefit.



Updated: Jan 11

When I coached my clients I got these questions a lot: "Do I really need to take supplements?" or "I eat a healthy diet, why do I need to supplement?" I don't blame them because before I became a nutritionist, I was thinking the same thing!

While eating nutrient-dense foods is always the best way to get your daily nutrients, this is most often not enough. Especially considering how being a mother impacts your nutrient stores and ability to replenish them. It is extremely difficult for the average mother to be able to plan, cook, and eat perfectly balanced, nutrient-rich meals every single day. Having that expectation is simply unrealistic, and places an unnecessary burden on ourselves and mothers in general. After extensive research on the nutritional status of mothers before, during, and after pregnancy, it is clear that mothers need more than just "healthy food." That is why I created my line of supplements, probiotics, and superfoods so that mothers can get help replenishing their depleted nutrient stores and can feel better and not have the nagging worry that they are not "getting enough" to provide for their babies and themselves.

When people ask me why they should take a supplement, I usually respond with these reasons:

1. Mothers go through incredible physical, emotional, and mental transformations during pregnancy that leaves them nutritionally depleted. 

In fact, over 80% of mothers are considered to be nutrient depleted as a result of pregnancy, birth, and lactation. It's no surprise that as a woman grows an ENTIRE little human (sometimes more than one!) inside of her body, she needs many more nutrients compared to the pre-pregnancy period. It takes a LOT of energy to not only grow a baby, but also to birth a baby and create breast milk to nourish your baby and to reverse all the changes of pregnancy back to a non-pregnant state. While many pregnant and postpartum women try their best to eat nutritious foods, unfortunately, the vast majority of people are unable to meet the nutritional demands of pregnancy and lactation without supplemental support. Take iron, for example. In the U.S., over 24% of women experience anemia during pregnancy, often due to the fact that many women have insufficient stores even before their pregnancy begins (WHO, 2010, Turner, 2003). An iron-deficient diet, an increase of 50% in iron needs, poor iron absorption in the gut, and blood loss from menstruation before pregnancy are some common reasons why women can't keep up with the increase in demand for iron during pregnancy (Abbaspour, 2014). 

Another example is folate, an essential nutrient required for cell division during pregnancy and the synthesis and secretion of breast milk during postpartum, which leads to a decline in its concentration from mid-pregnancy until 3-6 months after birth. In fact, 20% of women in developed countries have been reported to have low serum folate levels 6 months after delivery (King, 2003).

Like iron and folate, many of the nutrients required for pregnancy and lactation are mobilized from maternal stores. So when you start from an already depleted state, it becomes nearly impossible to increase your nutrient intake without taking supplements, especially as the nutritional demands increase throughout your pregnancy and continue to remain high during lactation. 

The changes that occur to your body during and after birth can also contribute to your nutrient depletion. Your entire digestive system shifts and as a result, your microbiome is affected and the digestive process (and therefore the absorption of nutrients in your gut) can be slow and inefficient. While many people view the postpartum period to sometimes be as short as 6 weeks after delivery, the truth is, nutrient depletion can last for much longer. A study by Janet King concluded that it takes approximately 18 months to replete nutrient stores after pregnancy and therefore that mothers with closely-spaced pregnancies are at increased risk of adverse maternal and baby outcomes (King, 2003). 

Pregnancy and postpartum is a truly unique time that places extra stress on your body, so you want to make sure that you are getting the most important nutrients to support your pregnancy and birth, including folate, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, choline, B-vitamins, iron, and collagen. Taking a multivitamin in addition to single nutrient supplements is often the best way to meet the elevated nutritional requirements during this time.

2. Many health issues are linked to nutrient deficiencies.

When we don't have the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that our body needs, the biochemical processes in our bodies are unable to work efficiently, which applies chronic stress on our bodies. For example, we all know that omega-3s are key in baby's brain development, but it does a lot more than that. Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA have been linked to auto-immune conditions, postpartum depression, anxiety, and pregnancy complications like preterm labor and hypertension. Low folate during pregnancy has been linked to higher risks of neural tube-related birth defects. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis, pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, and data from the CDC Nutrition Report shows that almost 90 million people do not meet the standard required levels of vitamin D (Serrallach, 2018, Nichols, 2018, CDC). Vitamin B12 deficiency, which has been reported in 3.4 million women in the U.S., can lead to anemia, depression, nerve damage, dementia, and increased risks for neural tube birth defects, preterm delivery, and miscarriage (Nichols, 2018, CDC).

For mothers, many of these health risks can have serious consequences for their health and the health of their babies. Conditions like postpartum depression, which is diagnosed in 10-15% of mothers, can be especially crippling (NIMH). While there are many factors that result in mental health struggles, for many mothers, there's often a nutritional component that compounds the issue. Aside from Omega 3's, deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc have also been linked to negative impacts on mood (Leung, 2009).

Addressing nutrient deficiencies through supplementation can be the first step towards feeling better, both physically and mentally.

It makes sense, doesn't it? The more nutrients we can fuel our body with, the more enzymatic processes go smoothly, and the more energy we can get and have.  

3. The nutrient content of the soil in the U.S. has declined greatly over the last few decades. 

Due to modern farming practices, which greatly impacts the soil's natural processes, the soil in the U.S. has lost almost half of its original mineral and vitamin content over the last few decades. A 2004 study which looked at over 40 crops from 1950-1999 found that nutrients including protein, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin C and riboflavin have all declined significantly, some by up to 38% (Davis, 2004). The decline in nutrient-dense soil has a negative impact on the nutrient content of food, which decreases the amount of bioavailable nutrients for us to absorb into our bodies.

That means that compared to a decade ago, the same vegetables are providing us with less nutrients, so we need to get the extra nutrients elsewhere to make up for it. 

4. The longer you supplement, the better your long term health is. 

One study comparing supplementation of mothers for 2 months vs. 5-7 months after birth between consecutive pregnancies concluded that the group that supplemented for longer had a higher mean hemoblogin status at the onset of their second pregnancies. Their babies also had higher birth weights and lengths and a lower risk of low birth weight compared to the 0-2 month supplementation group, demonstrating that longer supplementation periods between pregnancies can improve the outcome of subsequent pregnancies even among reasonably well-nourished women. We also have to keep in mind that as we age, our bodies naturally decline in nutrient stores. This is especially true for collagen, which declines to about 50% by the time we are 40. While many consider collagen to be helpful for skin health, it is also an important nutrient for your pelvic floor, gut, joints and scar healing.

5. Your babies benefit from your supplementation

You're not the only one who benefits from the nutrients your body absorbs from supplementation, especially if you breastfeed your baby. In a 2012 study on probiotic supplementation, women who were given probiotics during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy and throughout lactation produced breastmilk with double the levels of immunoprotective

compounds. The rate of eczema in their infants during the first 2 years of life was also

decreased for that group of women (15%) compared to 47% for those who did not receive the probiotic supplement (Pelucchi, 2012). Other studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can protect against infant colic, spitting up and overall digestive discomfort. (Nichols, Lily. 2018).

The effects of Omega 3 supplementation in breastfeeding mothers' babies has been studied in depth. Getting enough DHA during pregnancy and lactation can improve behavior, attention, focus, and learning in children. Other benefits that have been found by having adequate DHA during pregnancy is a reduced risk of allergies in infants and a positive influence on immune development.

It's clear that to support the high nutritional demands of pregnancy, birth, and lactation, and recovering postpartum, mothers need the help of supplements.

But knowing what kind of supplements to take can be incredibly overwhelming, especially in a market that is saturated with choices. 

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Getting your levels tested by your primary care doctor is crucial to knowing exactly which nutrients you are deficient in. Having hard data on how deficient you are can help you make decisions on what to supplement with.

  • What matters is the quality and form of the supplements, in addition to the dose. It is a waste to take supplements if they provide nutrients that are unable to be absorbed by our bodies. That is why looking at the specific forms of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is important and why all of our supplements were created using bioactive forms (like folate, D3, chelated iron) that are most easily absorbed by the body. Many of our supplements also include ingredients that enhance absorption, like our Organic Ashwagandha with black pepper, and our Vitamin D3 with K2. Sourcing from pasture-raised and organic animals also ensures that the nutrient content is as high as possible. 

  • In addition to single nutrient supplements, look for a multivitamin that contains vitamin A, all the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, Alpha Lipoic Acid, choline, inositol, boron, calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Not sure where to start?

Take our free Wellness Quiz to get a personalized nutrition report based on your answers about your pregnancies, diet, lifestyle, symptoms and other areas of concern. In your results, you will find out what supplements you could benefit from taking. 

For high-quality products that use the most bioavailable forms of nutrients, explore our online shop. You can find a wide range of products, from prenatal and postnatal multivitamins, potent probiotics for women, to a delicious golden milk mix with collagen (Golden Collagen)!

Did you take supplements during your pregnancy and postpartum? What was recommended to you to take? Tell me in the comments!


De Benoist B, McLean E, Egli I, Cogswell M, editors. Geneva: WHO Press, World Health Organization; 2008. WHO/CDC. Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data. Worldwide prevalence of anaemia 1993-2005: WHO global database on anaemia; p. 40.

Turner RE, Langkamp-Henken B, Littell RC, Lukowski MJ, Suarez MF. Comparing nutrient intake from food to the estimated average requirements shows middle- to upper-income pregnant women lack iron and possibly magnesium. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:461–6 

Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(2):164–174.

King JC. The Risk of Maternal Nutritional Depletion and Poor Outcomes Increases in Early or Closely Spaced Pregnancies. The Journal of Nutrition. 2003;133.

Serrallach, O. (2018). The Postnatal Depletion Cure: A Complete Guide to Rebuilding Your Health and Reclaiming Your Energy for Mothers of Newborns, Toddlers, and Young Children. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing.

Nichols, L. Real food for pregnancy: the science and wisdom of optimal prenatal nutrition. United States: Real food for Pregnancy; 2018.

Second Nutrition Report (2012) [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012. Available from:

Postpartum Depression Facts [Internet]. National Institute of Mental Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Available from:

Leung BM, Kaplan BJ. Perinatal Depression: Prevalence, Risks, and the Nutrition Link—A Review of the Literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109:1566–75.

Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004;23:669–82.

Pelucchi C, Chatenoud L, Turati F, Galeone C, Moja L, Bach J-F, Vecchia CL. Probiotics Supplementation During Pregnancy or Infancy for the Prevention of Atopic Dermatitis. Epidemiology. 2012;23:402–14.

Content found on this website is not considered medical advice. Please consult with a physician before making any medical or lifestyle changes.

© 2020 Mother Nutrient

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