Importance of calcium
There is no denying the importance of calcium during breastfeeding. It is an important mineral that every nursing mother should take. But why is it required and how much calcium do mothers need?
Why Do Nursing Mothers Require More Calcium
During pregnancy, the baby growing in its mother’s womb needs plenty of calcium to develop its skeleton. This need is especially demanding during the last 3 months of pregnancy. If the mother doesn’t get enough calcium, her baby will draw what it needs from the mother’s bones . So, it is disconcerting that most women of childbearing years are not in the habit of getting enough calcium. Fortunately, pregnancy appears to help protect most women’s calcium reserves in several ways:
Pregnant women absorb calcium from food and supplements better than women who are not pregnant. This is especially true during the last half of pregnancy, when the baby is growing quickly and has the greatest need for calcium . Any bone mass lost during pregnancy is typically restored within several months after the baby’s delivery, hence this is the perfect time to replenish the calcium loss by consuming foods rich in calcium .
Women are also prone to calcium loss when they nurse their child. This happens due to the child’s growing requirement for calcium. This causes most of the calcium the mother consumes to go the kid’s way which makes the mother’s bone deprived of calcium . During breastfeeding the oestrogen (hormone required for bone protection) in women is lowered. Therefore the intake of calcium during breastfeeding is important and a necessity.
How Much Calcium Does a Breastfeeding Mother Need
Calcium is important for everyone for good bone health. However, it is imperative for nursing mothers to consume 1000 milligrams of calcium every day . Mothers can get calcium from varies sources such as meat, milk and vegetables .
Importance of Calcium while Breastfeeding
Calcium is important for good bones and teeth since bones and teeth consists are made out of calcium. Deficiency of this mineral in the body causes osteoporosis which is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone mass or the bone becomes too brittle . As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or minor bumps.
Improves Bone Health
While breastfeeding, calcium deficiency is quite possible since the child’s requirement for calcium increases as it grows. This requirement is fulfilled by drawing calcium from the mother’s bone through nursing. Therefore, nursing mothers should take an adequate amount of calcium to make up for the loss of calcium in their body .
Improves Oral Health
It is important for nursing mothers to take calcium since a lack of it may take a toll on the dental and oral health of breastfeeding mothers. Deficiency of the mineral in nursing mothers may cause periodontal diseases which can further cause the destruction of the gums, alveolar bone and the outer layer of the tooth root .
It is not mandatory to take calcium supplement if you are breastfeeding your child. Health experts suggest that mothers should only consider supplement as their last resort when their diet is severely lacking in calcium. This is because calcium taken from natural sources such as milk and dairy product can be absorbed by our body most efficiently. Although calcium supplement is rich in calcium, its bioavailability is less high as compare to calcium-rich food such as milk. Mothers should take calcium supplements only after consulting a doctor.
Foods Rich In Calcium
Foods that contains high natural dietary calcium are :
Dairy product such as milk contains the highest natural calcium than other sources from vegetables, nuts, legumes and meat hence that is why mothers should take up the habit of drinking milk regularly before and after birth. However, some adults may find their bowels queasy after drinking milk and this is large attributed to a health condition call lactose intolerance. digestive disorder caused by the inability to digest lactose, the main sugar in dairy products. It can cause various symptoms, including bloating, nausea diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, with 70 to 100 percent of people affected in these communities .
To avoid lactose intolerance symptoms, mothers can consider taking goat’s milk and goat’s milk contains lesser lactose than sheep milk and cow’s milk. Goat milk also contains the highest natural calcium in all animal milk, amounting to 300mg of calcium per cup. On top of that, goat milk also contains high vitamin D, vitamin D act as a vessel that helps transport calcium into our body hence it can greatly increase the bone’s calcium absorption. Coupled with other dietary habits, mothers can easily replenish calcium with goat milk.
Taking right care of your diet and health post-delivery is surely going to help you in the long run. Therefore, make sure that you consult your doctor and find out what you must do in order to ensure adequate calcium intake. Always remember that as mothers, we should always take care of our health so that we can take care of our family and children.
 Lactose Intolerance, Genetic Home Reference, retrieved from 2020.
 Kumar, A. and Kaur, S., 2017. Calcium: a nutrient in pregnancy. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India, 67(5), pp.313-318.
 Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Bone Health, NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, 2020.
 Recommended Nutrient Intake, Ministry of Health Malaysia, retrieved from 2020.
 Calcium. Vitamins and Minerals, NHS, retrieved from 2020.