Fish Oil and Breastfeeding
Even though recent research has suggested that most fish oil supplements probably contain only small amounts of mercury (if any), these supplements may contain other toxins. Therefore, if you are taking fish oil and breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. He or she may recommend that you take a different omega-3 fatty acid supplement that is not derived from fish.
Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your baby's brain and eye development. However, there is some concern that fish oil supplements may contain heavy metals (such as mercury) or other toxins, as they are made from fish that often contain these toxins. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or thinking of breastfeeding and you are considering taking fish oil, make sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Recent studies suggest that most fish oil supplements probably contain only miniscule amounts of mercury, if any. However, fish oil supplements may contain other toxins. If you are breastfeeding, choose only fish oil supplements from reputable manufacturers, and be sure to check to see if the fish oil has been purified and tested for toxins.
One way to avoid this problem altogether is to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement that is not derived from fish. Expecta® Lipil® is one such product that is available without a prescription and is designed especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women. However, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking these products, as many prenatal vitamins now contain omega-3 fatty acids (and many women take prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding). If your prenatal vitamin already has omega-3 fatty acids, you probably should not take any additional omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil is not free of side effects (see Fish Oil Side Effects) and dangerous effects (see Is Fish Oil Harmful?). Therefore, you should only take fish oil while breastfeeding with your healthcare provider's approval.