In this Ask an Expert, we talk to Dana C., professional IBCLC and instructor for our Breastfeeding 101 course, about taking collagen while breastfeeding. We also chat with Pediatric Nutritionist and instructor for our Introducing Solids 101 class, Vanessa Thornton, about collagen in foods and how it could affect your body. 

Don’t forget to check out our FREE breastfeeding course, to prepare you, or help you on your breastfeeding journey.

Tinyhood Breastfeeding 101: Learn About Prenatal Prep, Pumping, and Common Challenges

Question: Can I take collagen while breastfeeding? 

Answer: Collagen seems to be popping up everywhere– in your food, coffee, creams and lotions— boasting benefits like improved skin, hair and bone health and even providing anti-ageing properties. However, as with any supplement, collagen isn’t required by the FDA to be proven safe or effective, so it is not recommended for breastfeeding parents.  

So what is collagen exactly? It’s a natural protein found in our bodies that decreases over time, and is one of the essential building blocks of our bones, skin, tendons, connective tissues and blood vessels. It can be found in supplement form (pill or powder), or in foods like: 

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Bone broth
  • Gelatin

Many healthy foods also help to naturally boost collagen production in your body-- dairy, eggs, raw honey, soy, legumes. In addition, you also need to consume zinc and vitamin C-rich foods to help your body produce collagen.

There are no known side effects of collagen supplementation. But again, there is also not much research on collagen, especially research that isn't funded by companies that produce or sell collagen products. Some mild Gastrointestinal symptoms (bloating, fullness, bowel changes) have been reported.

Several types of collagen supplements are marketed to new parents with benefits like:  

  • Improved bone health
  • Help rebuild and strengthen tissue in the uterus
  • Stretch mark relief
  • Preventing some postpartum hair loss
  • Improved skin elasticity and smoothness
  • Improved joint pain
  • Immune system support
  • Promote a healthy weight

However, these benefits are simply that: marketing. There is no proof that collagen is beneficial to breastfeeding parents, and it’s important to remember that there is very little unbiased research on the topic in general, even less so in regards to breastfeeding. Bottom line: even if you took collagen supplements before pregnancy, it’s best to reassess and talk about it with your health care provider before use. 

It’s also important to remember that typically a varied, well-balanced, healthy diet is perfect for a breastfeeding parent and infant. 

If you do speak with your doctor and decide to take collagen, or any other supplement, remember that not all supplements or brands are the same. It’s crucial to read all the ingredients, do your own research and ensure that all the ingredients from everything you are taking will work well together. 

To learn more on how to keep yourself and baby safe and healthy while breastfeeding, check out our online class, Breastfeeding 101: From Prenatal Prep to Pumping. We’ll teach you everything from preventing and treating common problems to how to build a stash, as well as give you strategies for boosting milk supply and more.   

Tinyhood Breastfeeding 101: Taught By International Board Certified Lactation Consultant