Is Extra Vitamin C Safe When Breastfeeding?

Happy family in nature
A woman nurses a baby outside, sitting next to her husband. (Image: Nadezhda Prokudina/iStock/Getty Images)

It’s generally safe to take extra vitamin C when you are nursing, as long as you don’t take excessively large doses. The safest approach is to work with your health care provider to determine an adequate dosage. Factors your doctor might consider include the amount of vitamin C in your diet, your medical condition and the ingredients in your other dietary supplements.

Recommendations

For breastfeeding women under the age of 18, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 115 milligrams, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you’re older than that, you’ll need 120 milligrams per day.

Upper Tolerable Limit

Your body eliminates excess vitamin C when you urinate, so exceeding your daily requirements typically is safe. But the upper tolerable limit is 1,800 milligrams of vitamin C per day for women of ages 18 and younger, and 2,000 milligrams a day for women who are older than 18, according to MedlnePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Effects

If you exceed your recommended dosage of vitamin C, a number of negative side effects might occur. You might experience vomiting, nausea, heartburn, stomach cramps, headache or other side effects. If you exceed the upper tolerable limit, you increase the risk of diarrhea and developing kidney stones. If you’ve suffered from kidney stones in the past, you have an increased risk of kidney stones if you consume more than 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, according to MedlinePlus. Discuss with a pediatrician any negative symptoms your baby exhibits.

Expert Insight

Your baby might benefit from extra vitamin C, though how much is needed to achieve those benefits has yet to be shown. The organization says babies who consume breast milk containing high levels of vitamin C might have a decreased risk of developing childhood allergies. But how much you should take to achieve those benefits is not yet known, so the safest approach is to adhere to your daily dietary guidelines for vitamin C intake.

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