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It is not clear if it's safe for women who are nursing to take cod liver oil. Breastfeeding women should be aware that some supplements may be contaminated with certain toxins. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your healthcare provider before using cod liver oil. He or she may recommend a different supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids that are not derived from fish.

Cod Liver Oil and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Cod liver oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your baby's brain and eye development. However, it is not known if cod liver oil is safe for women who are breastfeeding. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or planning to start, and you are considering taking cod liver oil, make sure to check with your healthcare provider first.

Cod Liver Oil, Breastfeeding, and Toxins

It's not clear if breastfeeding women should avoid cod liver oil supplements, which may contain various toxins. If you are breastfeeding and your healthcare provider decides that it is safe for you to take cod liver oil, choose only those supplements that are made by reputable manufacturers, and be sure to check that the cod liver 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, check with your healthcare provider before taking such 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.
Cod liver oil is not free of side effects (see Cod Liver Oil Side Effects) and dangerous effects (see Is Cod Liver Oil Safe?). Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, you should only take cod liver oil with your healthcare provider's approval. More importantly, cod liver oil contains very large doses of vitamins D and A, enough to cause significant toxicity in many people.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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