Breastfeeding is a beautiful way for mothers to connect with their children, while providing them with the nutrients they need for growth and development. Two of the most important nutrients babies receive from breastfeeding are the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. DHA is critical for brain and neurological development. While many expecting and new mama’s take prenatal vitamins, sometimes the amount of DHA in them is not enough. The best way to know the levels in your blood and milk is through testing.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important for developing fetuses, children, and adults of all ages. EPA helps balance inflammation in the body and DHA plays a major role in nervous system health such as they brain and eyes. Both of these fatty acids are also important for mood and cognitive function such as memory and concentration. The two test I recommend all mothers get are an omega 3 index and DHA breastmilk panel. These tests can be performed in the comfort of your own home. The omega 3 index panel is performed by collecting a small drop of blood from the finger (dried blood spot collection) and placed on collection card.
The DHA breastmilk panel is performed by simply dropping some breastmilk on a collection card. Both sample kits are then sent back to the lab for analysis.
When my daughter was born, my wife performed the breastmilk panel and was found to be above average but short of optimal. She was taking 520mg of DHA in liquid form daily. Based on the results we increased her amount to 1040mg daily and retested in 3 months which indicated improvements. When I asked my wife to comment on her experience with breastfeeding and performing the omega 3 test, here is what she had to say, ”Being a mom of 2 is such a gift. I feel very fortunate that both my babies have been EBF (exclusively breast feed) for the first 6 months of their little lives. Knowing how rapidly their brains and bodies grow in the first year, I wanted to give them the best chances of an amazing life and future. Research shows how important omegas 3 fatty acids are in growth and development. I love that there is a simple test that can show me my milk is providing my children with enough Omega 3’s to support the foundations of development.” I use Omega Quant in my clinic for this test. If you are interested and would like to learn more, here is a link for additional information about the test https://omegaquant.com/ref/98/