Fish Oils and Breast Milk: Is It Safe for Your Baby?


fish oils and breastmilk

If you’re breast feeding and take fish oils, will it affect your breast milk and your baby?

Fish oils are a rich source of the omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

According to the latest research, when a breastfeeding mother ingests fish oils, it increases her dietary intake of EPA and DHA which can be passed to her child through breast milk.

These healthy fats have been found to lower the risk for inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Giving a child breast milk fortified with omega 3 fatty acids can lead to:

  • a stronger immune system
  • sharper vision
  • a better developed body
  • enhanced brain development

1. Study shows DHA Improves Infant Brain Function and Vision

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine concluded in the study, Docosahexaenoic Acid and Lactation, the amount of DHA in maternal breast milk is directly related to a baby’s visual function, brain development and immune systems.

Mothers with the highest dietary levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), passed this onto their babies through breast milk.

These babies appeared to perform better on visual acuity and brain function tests.


2. Fish Oils can Boost a Baby’s Immune Systems

A study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy journal concluded that supplementation of fish oil during pregnancy causes breast milk to boost a baby’s immune system?

In this study, Australian doctors had a group of pregnant mothers take either 4 grams a day of fish oil or olive oil capsules from 20 weeks gestation until delivery.

Samples of breast milk from the fish oil group showed:

  • higher amounts of EPA and DHA
  • increased levels of immune factors which help reduce a baby’s risk for allergies
  • lower amounts of an inflammatory causing fatty acid (arachidonic acid)

Researchers suggest that the amount of omega 3 fatty acids passed onto the babies through breast milk is directly related to how much of these healthy fats the mothers actually included in their diets. 



fish oils and breast milkThe research appears to show that taking fish oils during pregnancy or breast feeding will increase the omega 3 fatty acid content of breast milk.

Fish oil-enhanced breast milk may offer the following benefits to infants:

  • may help a baby develop a stronger immune system
  • can produce sharper vision
  • can lead to better body development
  • enhanced brain development

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