Congratulations on your new baby! There are many joys and challenges to being a new mom and one of those can be producing adequate amounts of breast milk to nurse your baby.
You may be working with your doctor and lactation consultant trying:
- Power pumping
- Assessing your baby’s latch
- Assessing tongue and lip tie
- Increasing your fluid intake
…and just need a little extra help.
Along with these important aspects listed above, there are several herbal compounds that work as natural galactagogues to increase milk flow, supply and letdown reflux.
Natural herbal galactagogues
1. Fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
This plant is a member of the legume family and is considered an excellent galactagogue. The seeds of this plant have been used to increase milk supply for centuries. A meta-analysis of fenugreek on breast milk production showed a significant increase in milk production compared to placebo. A 14-day study with 77 nursing mothers found that fenugreek seeds increased breast milk production, which helped babies gain more weight.
2. Fennel seed (Foeniculum Vulgare)
This plant is a member of the carrot family. Fennel seeds have been found to contain the compounds: anethole, fenchone, estragole and 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol) that promote milk supply and fat content of milk. Fenugreek may also aid in the let down reflux.
Bonus: Fennel has been shown to help alleviate colic in infants due to its soothing aspect on gastrointestinal tract. In study on 125 infants, fennel significantly improved colic compared to the control group .
3. Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
This is a flowering plant found in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Aniseed is not to be confused with star anise, which is not safe to consume while nursing. Aniseed contains phytoestrogens that can aid in the promotion of milk supply in nursing mothers. In animal studies, aniseed was shown to significantly improve milk supply.
4. Blessed Thistle (Cardui benedicti)
This plant is a member of the thistle family found in portions of Europe and the Middle East. The American Pregnancy Association states that blessed thistle has been used for centuries to improve milk supply and tends to work best when paired with fenugreek.
It is important to note that all women respond differently to galactagogues. Dose and the timeframe of use needed to see results are two big variables. Some women need higher doses to achieve results while other women need closer to 7-14 days before milk supply increases. Please consult your healthcare professional about what is best for your specific situation.
A few other things to consider regarding your milk supply
1. High dose vitamin B6 found in some prenatals can decrease prolactin levels – the hormone secreted by your pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates milk supply. Double check your prenatal. B6 doses higher than 20mg may negatively impact your milk supply.
2. Your sleep. This is a TOUGH one as every new mother struggles to get enough sleep! Rest when you can and catch even 20 minutes of sleep to help your body produce more milk. Too much stress with inadequate sleep can impact milk supply.
3. Keep that baby close and nurse often. The more physical stimulation to the nipple the better. This sends a signal to your brain to produce more milk. The more you stimulate this feedback loop, the higher probability of increases your supply.
4. A healthy baby is always the goal. If you need to supplement with formula that is ok! No shame, mama! Please stay in close contact with your lactation consultant and healthcare professional monitoring you and your baby.
VitaminIQ cares about you and your new baby. We strive to provide the highest quality ingredients for your unique needs and pride ourselves on providing an organic, pure lactation support for women to incorporate as part of their lactation routine. Have questions? We would be happy to answer them at info@vitaminIQ.com