Flaxseed oil is rich with essential fatty acid. Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) in flaxseed oil will turn into DHA, omega-3 fatty acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It is DHA which are responsible for the development of infant’s brain, retina and other organ issues. Flaxseed oil for breastfeeding is believed could give beneficial effects by some pregnant women. Is it true?
Flaxseed oil as dietary supplement has been used by vegetarian and vegan to complete the need of omega-3 fatty acid in their body. Actually, the rich source for omega-3 fatty acid is from fish like cod and salmon. Since vegetarian and vegan do not eat meat, they take the alternative source which is flaxseed oil. There is one study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003 said that taking flaxseed oil supplement regularly while breastfeeding is not affected to DHA contents in breast milk. The good news is the omega-3 fatty acids and EPA contents and the production of breast milk are increased.
There are suspicions that flaxseed oil have potential to increase blood sugar level and blood thinning. It may cause excessive bleeding for women postpartum. That is why before you take any flaxseed oil supplement, you must consult to your doctor especially for vegetarian and vegan mother. Ask doctor what’s dietary supplement to take to meet DHA requirement since flaxseed oil supplement cannot help you to increase DHA contents in breast milk. For other mothers, it is recommended to take fish oil supplements like cod liver oil or herring oil to increase breast milk DHA. In conclusion, flaxseed oil for breastfeeding is okay since it can increase the volume of breast milk supply and omega-3 fatty acid but for vegetarian and vegan mothers, you still need to work out how to solve low concentration of DHA in breast milk.