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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Fish Oils and Breast Milk: The Benefits of Fish Oil While Breastfeeding

fish oils and breast milk

Fish oils and breast milk: Is it safe to take fish oil while breastfeeding?

Yes! In fact, taking fish oil is recommended for nursing mothers.  The benefits are amazing, from lower risk of depression to higher IQ for baby.

Why should I take fish oil while breastfeeding?

Fish oil is a hot topic these days.  Everyone benefits by taking fish oil for the Essential Fatty acids.  Essential means that our bodies must get it from food or supplement.  Taking a fish oil supplement benefits mom in several ways:

  • Memory support
  • Heart health
  • Joint health
  • Mental health support
  • Weight control

Babies get even more from the mother taking this amazing supplement.  Fish oil contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) a healthy fat that your child’s brain and eye development relies on.  60% of the human brain is fat.  Babies get the dose of DHA they need from their mothers milk (or formula). The US has the lowest average content of DHA in breast milk around the world.  Let’s face it Americans are not the biggest fans of fish, the easiest food source of DHA.  By taking fish oil supplements mom is raising the amount of DHA found in her breast milk. 

What does DHA do for baby?

Among other things, DHA:

  • Raises IQ
  • Improves eye sight
  • Better behavioral performance (such as ADHD)
  • Decreased incidence of heart disease

During such a critical developmental period for baby, it seems clear that DHA is not only beneficial but necessary!

Fish oils and breast milk: What are the risks of taking fish oil while nursing?

Risks and side effects include nauseagas, and exposure to mercury.  While most brands are being very careful with the mercury content in their supplements not all live up to high standards. Avoid shark or cod liver oils for high mercury counts. Safe options include:

Nutrigold Triple Strength Omega-3 Gold 
Omega-3 Fish Oil Mercury Free 

What alternatives are there for fish oil supplements?

For those of us that do not wish to take fish oil just in case mercury is in it have a few other options such as Schiff MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil  and vegetarian Flaxseed Oil.  Be sure to speak with your doctor about switching your medications and supplements for any condition.

Tips for taking fish oil

Here are some tips for taking fish oil for optimum effectiveness.

  • Add a Vitamin D-3 supplement alongside
  • Take with food for better absorption
  • Start slow taking only one per day to start and adding more over a period of weeks.

Do you take fish oils while breastfeeding?

sources: Web MDeMedTV, LiveStrong

Jennifer Gerlach is an Army wife and homeschool mom with three children born in three different states. She loves encouraging other mothers, learning more about national living, going on field trips with her kids and sharing homeschool activities and everything that comes to mind for moms on UpsideDownKids.


  1. Great article, Jenn! I needed that reminder to pick up some more of my Nordic Naturals fish oil supplement, and to start taking my Liquid Sunshine D3 supplement again, now that winter is here and I won’t be getting as much direct sunlight! I look forward to reading more articles from you on the benefits of breastfeeding! Maybe on how to deal with unsupportive family members. Mine have not been very supportive of my choices, efforts, or my extended breastfeeding. If you have any tips to help me, and other mamas in the same boat, I would love to read an article on that. Thank you!



  1. […] There are many vegetarian and fully cooked sushi options which would be perfectly suitable (and healthy) for a nursing […]

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