Worried you aren’t making enough breast milk for your baby? Looking for a natural way to produce more breast milk? Doula and homeopath Dr Taryn Turner says that galactagogues (a substance that may improve breast milk supply) may be needed when there’s insufficient glandular tissue (following breast reduction surgery for example, not if you have small breasts). But, before trying one of these natural ways to improve your milk supply, remember two things:
- Visit a lactation consultant to rule out any other factors that could be contributing to low milk supply.
- Even herbal remedies can have side effects, so consult a healthcare provider with knowledge in this area, like a homoeopath or naturopath, before taking any herbal remedies.
What can you take to naturally boost breast milk production?
Fenugreek appears to be the herb that is most often recommended to boost lactation. Fenugreek can be used short-term to boost milk supply or long-term to keep supply up. Studies show that it is most effective at 3500mg to 7500mg a day, with no long-term problems. If you smell like maple syrup, you’re taking enough. If you have low thyroid hormone levels, are hypoglycemic or diabetic, allergic to peanuts or taking blood thinners, you may want to avoid fenugreek.
Traditionally used in India and Europe, scientific studies now show that the phytoestrogens milk thistle can help a nursing mother to make significantly more breast milk. If you’re taking antipsychotic or anti-anxiety drugs, certain cancer medications, or blood thinners, or are allergic to the daisy family of plants, then rather avoid milk thistle.
Moringa has been shown to increase milk production after four to seven days of treatment. It stimulates prolactin and is useful when taken in the first week after birth. Moringa has been used safely in doses up to six grams daily for up to three weeks. If you are HIV positive, on treatment for TB, are diabetic or have low blood pressure, rather avoid moringa.
No doubt someone has advised you to drink a bottle of beer to boost milk supply. This is because brewer’s yeast contains phytoestrogens, protein, and iron, giving you more energy and making you feel happier. You can rather take a brewer’s yeast supplement.
Many moms use them and they may have some benefits, depending on the ingredients. If they contain oats, the pituitary gland may be stimulated to increase milk supply. Perhaps try this recipe. Avoid eating too many and accidentally consuming too much sugar.
Ultimately, milk supply issues should be approached with a holistic approach. Moms and babies need support with breastfeeding, and the answers are not always in the medicine chest.