Collagen comes with many benefits, especially for nursing moms. It’s a natural, safe supplement, so you can consume it while breastfeeding.
The best part? There aren’t any known severe side effects from taking it. Below, I will discuss collagen in detail as well as explain how it can help heal from pregnancy. In addition, I will also suggest some of the best dietary supplements that you can consume while nursing, so let’s dive right into it.
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What Exactly is Collagen?
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in your body. It’s the key component of connective tissues, which are responsible for making tendons and ligaments that provide support to your muscles and other tissues. As you age, your collagen levels lower, causing weaker bones and skin.
Therefore, many people consume collagen supplements for healthy aging. These provide greater support to their joints and enhance their skin. You can also find collagen in many different foods such as yogurt, egg yolks, meat, fish, dairy products, raw honey, and so on.
Dietary supplements come as pills or in powder forms such as collagen protein powder. They are typically made of animal products like bone broth using beef, pigs, and fish. The vegan collagen supplement has been on the rise as more people turn toward plant-based products. You can find vegan and non-vegan supplements in grocery stores or online e-commerce sites for a healthy diet.
Is Collagen Safe While Breastfeeding?
Health experts advise nursing mothers to stay away from alcohol, caffeine, high-mercury fish, and other potentially problematic foods and supplements. However, collagen products aren’t one of them.
Instead, not only are they completely safe while breastfeeding, but taking a collagen supplement also comes with many benefits for nursing mothers, like relieving stretch marks, promoting skin health, enhancing bone health, and helping to prevent hair loss and other hair issues.
How Does Your Diet Affect Your Breast Milk?
When a mother is lactating, her breast milk gives her growing baby the necessary nutrients to grow and thrive. So, even if you don’t consume the perfect diet, your body naturally creates a liquid with the ideal balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Meaning there isn’t a direct link between your diet as a nursing mother and the nutrients in your breast milk. Therefore, if you increase your collagen intake, for instance, you won’t necessarily be feeding more of it to your newborn baby.
However, you should be aware of things you shouldn’t consume while nursing because certain products can affect your breast milk in different ways:
- Allergens – Your baby could have allergic reactions to eggs, nuts, or dairy products if they have an unknown allergy to these things.
- Taste – The foods you consume can influence the taste of your breast milk. Thus, you should eat a varied diet. That way, you can expose your baby to a wider range of foods and prepare them for a solid diet in the future.
- Digestion – There’s anecdotal proof that some foods in your diet can cause digestive problems or colic in your baby. However, it’s still not clinically proven.
- Caloric intake – Your diet as a nursing mother should include an additional 450-500 calories than your regular consumption to provide enough amount of good breast milk.
Benefits of Collagen While Breastfeeding
The body of pregnant and nursing mothers goes through different changes such as fluctuating body size, hormonal imbalances, and shifting metabolic processes. Together, they all produce unique issues during this time of their life.
A collagen supplement can solve many of these. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of collagen intake while breastfeeding.
A mother’s body requires extra healing power and strength after birth and during nursing. Studies have discovered that collagen can help rebuild and strengthen a woman’s abdominal muscles, uterus, pelvic floor, and much more.
It’s so helpful with wound healing that doctors use fibers of it on C-section incisions. Furthermore, it’s loaded with amino acids, which not only help heal tissues but also break down food, among many other basic functions, studies say.
Your body can’t produce more necessary amino acids. Therefore, you should get them from your diet or via other options like collagen supplements.
Collagen Builds Muscle Mass
Improved Heart Health
Mothers can have trouble sleeping after giving birth and during nursing, especially new mothers. Studies have discovered that the amino acids in these supplements ensure better sleep.
Pregnancy and nursing improve a mother’s metabolism, studies say. However, after weaning your baby, it can slow down again. One study discovered that collagen is necessary for a healthy metabolism at any age or state.
Enhanced Bone Health
Breast milk has high levels of calcium, a mineral necessary for the bones and teeth of a developing baby. And to meet the increased demand for it, your body can resort to bone resorption.
In this case, the calcium kept in your skeletal system is taken out and redirected to your breast milk. It’s a natural process, so it’s not dangerous. However, there’s a possibility that it can lead to issues in the future.
To handle that, you should take supplements for bone health and skeletal strength. These can also help mothers prevent brittle bones and osteoporosis in the future.
Stronger Nails and Hair
Throughout pregnancy and lactation, your hormone levels fluctuate constantly. These changes can make your hair fall out after you give birth. It can also cause brittle and weak nails.
Collagen is a key building block in both nails and hair. Therefore, a diet rich in supplemental collagen can provide greater strength and resiliency in both nails and hair.
Visible Skin Elasticity
Both pregnancy and lactation can cause your skin to stretch a lot, sometimes causing stretch marks. You can handle this issue with supplements because they support the regeneration of new skin cells as well as make it smoother. Collagen can also decrease the presence of wrinkles and promote healing.
Prevents Deterioration of Gut Lining
Some studies say that collagen plays a vital role in your gut health. In fact, collagen peptides can prevent the deterioration of your gut lining, which can then help you prevent leaky gut issues.
Downsides of Collagen While Breastfeeding
Although collagen side effects aren’t common, they’re still worth mentioning. It has countless benefits that outweigh any potential risks. However, I still suggest that you consult your doctor before buying new supplements, especially while breastfeeding.
Loss of appetite
Although the loss of appetite isn’t a harmful side effect, it’s still something nursing mothers should keep in mind as it can make it harder for them to obtain the additional calories they need.
Pregnant women who ingest marine collagen could experience a rash because of a temporary increase in sensitivity. If you develop a rash after consuming marine collagen, leave it until you give birth. Then, you can retake it afterward!
Some collagen supplements consist of nuts, eggs, seafood, or milk. And if you’re allergic to any of these products, you can experience a reaction, so always check your label carefully.
What’s The Best Collagen to Take While Breastfeeding?
There’s a wide range of supplements on the market. However, the best one to use postpartum is one specially made for nursing mothers.
I also want to mention that collagen supplements aren’t FDA-regulated. So, you should invest time into researching the ingredients in the one you choose.
Make sure they’re high-quality ingredients sourced from good places. And choose one from a reputable brand. You can either buy collagen protein powder (you can mix it into water or smoothies) or collagen in pill form.
Here’s a shortlist of some of the best collagen supplements on the market.
- Collagen Peptides Pills By Ancient Nutrition
- Garden Of Life Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides Powder
- Youtheory Collagen With Vitamin C
- Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
You can also obtain it through food such as bone broth. It’s different from regular collagen supplements because it’s rich in glycosaminoglycans, including chondroitin, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid.
These compounds help support collagen in your body as well as your flexibility, mobility, and overall health. That way, you can still get your collagen without worrying about the possible side effects of supplements.
Consuming collagen during pregnancy or breastfeeding isn’t known to cause serious side effects for you and your baby. However, I still suggest that you talk to your doctor before consuming new supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Using your personal medical history, your doctor can tell you if you should take them or not.
What’s your experience with collagen supplements? Which products work best for you? If you have any tips, drop a comment below!