This post is a sponsored conversation by Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews for their campaign #BumpUpYourCalcium, because it’s important to know how much calcium you should be taking.
I will never forget that moment my first born was placed in my arms. She was so tiny, so fragile and new to this world, yet she knew I was her mama and she knew where to look for mama’s milk.
That night in the hospital began our breastfeeding journey.
Fast forward to four years later and now I have 2 daughters, both of whom I breastfed. I am still breastfeeding my youngest.
Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing. Mother’s milk changes according to the needs of your child. It changes day to day so if your baby is sick, your breastmilk will help fight whatever is attacking their little bodies.
Our bodies are so smart that they make sure your child gets everything they need through breastmilk. But what happens when you’re not eating enough and getting the right nutrients, or when you’re not taking enough supplements to make up for what your baby is taking in through your milk? Your body actually takes it from your body and gives it to baby.
Babies will not be depleted of the essential vitamins and minerals they need but you will. This is why taking the right supplements while you’re breastfeeding is so important. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to all sorts of health issues, from mild issues like fatigue to more serious illnesses.
Once our breastfeeding relationship was established I started looking into what kind of supplements I needed as a breastfeeding mom. Currently there isn’t a breastfeeding mom vitamin so you have to get your nutrients from different foods and supplements.
I used to believe a whole food diet was enough, but the reality is that our soils are so depleted that vegetables and fruit don’t contain everything that your body needs anymore. Supplementing with vitamins is essential to everyone’s optimal health.
So, what kind of supplements does a breastfeeding mother need?
The answer to this question is complex because it depends on your diet. The best way to find out what your body needs is asking your doctor to do some blood work and find out what you’re lacking. That’s how I find out I have very low vitamin D levels in spite of me being out in the sun a lot.
However, you can “cover your bases” by taking a multivitamin along with a calcium supplement. Yes, calcium is not only important during pregnancy but it’s so important for nursing mothers.
Why breastfeeding moms should take a calcium supplement
Around 68% of women are calcium deficient! Calcium is essential to your bone health. According to the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin:
Calcium is important for overall health. Almost every cell in our body uses calcium in some way. Some areas where our bodies use calcium is in our nervous system, muscles, heart and bone.
Calcium gets stored in our bones and when you’re not ingesting enough calcium; your body will take the calcium from your bones to make breast milk. According to the NIH, women can lose 3-5% of their bone mass during breastfeeding.
Your baby won’t suffer, but your body will. As we get older, our bodies have harder time absorbing calcium from foods, and it starts taking it from our bones. This is why you hear of older people having issues with osteoporosis. Avoiding bone loss later in life starts by taking enough calcium today.
Women need 1,000 mg of daily calcium. Most prenatal vitamins contain only 20-30% of the recommended daily amount so check the label of your prenatal to make sure you’re getting enough, and if you’re not, supplement the rest with a calcium supplement, like Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews.
Long gone are the days where you have to swallow gigantic pills that taste horrible. Now we have so many tasty options and one of my favorite for calcium is Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews. I have a sweet tooth, and Viactiv’s milk chocolate flavors are super yummy! The caramel flavor is my favorite, and I take two chews because that’s what I need and because they’re so tasty! A quick tip: keep them in your diaper bag so you don’t forget to take them. They’re individually wrapped so it’s easy to take on-the-go if you sometimes forget to take your supplements like I do.
Each Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews contains 500 mg of calcium, so you can take one or two depending on your needs. They also contain Vitamin D and K to help absorb the calcium. I love that the dose of Vitamin D is also 500 mg because almost everyone has low levels of Vitamin D.
Don’t forget about yourself!
I know it’s really hard to take care of a baby and yourself. I remember many days where I was hungry for hours and where I ate very poorly because I was taking care of my high needs baby.
People reminded me to take care of myself too and they were right – my baby needed a healthy mom but at the time it felt impossible. Eventually I got the hang of things and I figured out how to take care of myself and my baby.
Tips for breastfeeding moms to stay healthy:
- Keep healthy snacks in your pantry, like nuts, protein bars (with low sugar) and fruits.
- Opt for snacks that are high in protein and healthy fats so you stay full longer, like hummus, guacamole, cheese, greek yogurt and ham.
- Keep pre-packaged healthy organic meals for those days when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Cook a little extra every time you can so you can freeze the leftovers for another day.
- Set an alarm to remind you to take your vitamins and Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews.
- Set an alarm twice a day to remind you to breathe. I know this sounds silly but it works wonders. Use this reminder to take 3 deep breaths and let go of any stress you might be feeling.
- Do some light exercise – it can be as simple as a brisk walk around the neighborhood. It will do wonders to you and it’s also great for baby!
- Remember that baby is just as important as you and you are capable of taking care of both of you. But on those days that you’re feeling overwhelmed, ASK FOR HELP!
- Above all, remember you got this mama!
I’d also like to thanks our sponsor Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews for reminding us, with their campaign #BumpUpYourCalcium, how important our own heath as mamas is because sometimes we forget.
This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation on behalf of Viactiv that contains affiliate links. I received Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews for my own personal use. This post is not intended to address or diagnose any medical conditions. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing or planning on becoming pregnant, speak with your healthcare provider if you have any specific health questions or prior to taking any dietary supplements.