If you have a low milk supply, working with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or La Leche League support group can be helpful. Getting adequate sleep, eating a nutrient-dense diet and hydrating regularly may also help.
In addition, many herbs and herbal supplements can help boost milk supply, including galactagogues like fenugreek, blessed thistle fennel and anise. Learn when to start taking lactation teas, cookies and supplements, plus the best ingredients to consider.
For centuries, breastfeeding (or chestfeeding/body feeding) has been the most natural way to feed newborn babies. It’s a bonding experience, provides vital nutrients and antibodies to help baby grow and develop, and even helps keep baby’s microbiome balanced and healthy. But sometimes new moms need a little extra support to produce enough breast milk for their growing family. That’s where lactation supplements come in. Commonly known as galactagogues, these herbs, teas, and medications help stimulate the body to make more milk to meet the baby’s demand.
But when is the right time to start taking them? Depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are, it’s a good idea to consult with a lactation consultant, professional herbalist, or our team here at Mahmee before trying any lactation products. We’ll talk you through the basics and what products may work best for your specific situation.
Generally speaking, it’s safe to take any of the most popular lactation supplements during pregnancy as long as you have an OK from your healthcare practitioner. Many of them are made with ingredients like fenugreek, which is an old-school herbal galactagogue that’s widely recommended by breastfeeding moms. Fenugreek can be found in various dietary supplements including capsules and herbal teas that are often sold alongside other popular breastfeeding aids such as oats and nuts.
Some other important supplements to consider are vitamin D and iron. Studies show that pregnant women need more of these vitamins in order to have sufficient levels for their baby. It’s a good idea to get vitamin D and iron through nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, nut butters, and oats, which are all safe to consume during pregnancy.
Just be sure to check with your healthcare practitioner before making any major dietary changes or starting any new supplements, as some galactagogues, such as fenugreek, can have a negative effect on a pregnant body if ingested in high doses. Otherwise, maintaining a nutritious diet with a few key ingredients and keeping up the breastfeeding sessions is the best way to support your milk supply while you’re still pregnant.
There are many benefits to breastfeeding, from psychological and physical bonding to ensuring that babies get all the nutrients they need. However, not all new moms are able to produce enough milk to meet their infants’ needs. In some cases, supplements can help.
Lactation supplements are sometimes referred to as galactagogues, and they’re intended to boost breast milk production. These supplements include everything from probiotics to fenugreek and oat bran. Some are backed by scientific evidence, while others have been used for centuries to increase milk supply. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to talk to your doctor before trying any galactagogues.
Most new moms do not need to start taking a lactation supplement right after birth. In the first few days, babies are consuming only colostrum—the nutrient- and antibody-rich early milk—and mature milk has not yet started coming in. If you find that your breastmilk is not keeping up with your baby’s demands after about five days, it’s worth seeking a consultation with a lactation consultant.
During this appointment, the consultant can take a sample of your milk to assess how well it is meeting your infant’s nutritional needs and how well your body is producing. This information will give the specialist a good idea whether or not a supplement will be beneficial to you.
If you decide that a supplement would help, it’s important to follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. It’s also a good idea to nurse your baby or pump every one to three hours around the clock, particularly between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., which is when prolactin levels peak.
The most common lactation supplements are prenatal vitamins and fenugreek seeds. Prenatal vitamins are essential because they provide your body with the nutrients it needs to support breastfeeding, and they’re safe for most people. Fenugreek seeds, on the other hand, are often a more natural way to increase milk supply. They contain a chemical called galactans, which mimics the hormone oxytocin and encourages milk production.
Another supplement that may be helpful is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. This omega-3 fatty acid helps your baby’s eyes and brain develop. You can usually get DHA from fish that are low in mercury, like salmon, trout and anchovies, or from fortified foods, such as orange juice, milk and eggs.
Many women turn to lactation supplements during pumping when they want to increase their breast milk supply. These supplements come in a variety of forms, including specially-formulated powders, supplement capsules, tea, cookies, and more. The good news is that there are endless options and brands, so it’s easy to find one that works best for your body and your breastfeeding schedule.
Lactation supplements are typically called galactagogues, and they work by stimulating the production of milk. They’re available as herbal supplements, such as fenugreek, or pharmaceutical galactagogues, like domperidone.
While research on herbal galactagogues is limited, most people who use them report that they’re safe and effective. The key is to choose a safe, well-known brand and follow the dosage instructions.
Regardless of which type of supplement you choose, it’s important to let your doctor know that you’re taking it. That way, if the supplement isn’t recommended for your particular situation or has potential side effects, your doctor can help you identify alternative ways to increase your milk supply.
It’s also a good idea to consult with a lactation consultant before making any major dietary changes or taking any supplements while breastfeeding. They can provide you with a wealth of information on what will work for your unique situation and give you the support that you need.
The most common type of lactation supplement is fenugreek. This herb is a galactagogue that stimulates the production of milk. Many women find fenugreek supplements effective, and they can be purchased at most health food stores.
Another common option is to drink a lactation tea, which contains herbs that are believed to encourage milk production. Some examples of popular lactation teas include oat straw, moringa, fennel, and goat’s rue. There are even lactation cookie recipes that can be made at home using common kitchen ingredients.
Lecithin is another popular supplement that is used to improve the quality of breastmilk by reducing its viscosity. It’s often available as a soft gel or powder and is available at most health food stores. Some moms use it to help with plugged ducts, but only after they’ve had a doctor assess the condition of their ducts.
As breastfeeding weaning starts to take place, many moms find that their milk supply naturally decreases. If a mother is noticing this, it may be a good idea to start taking lactation supplements again. However, it is a good idea to check with a doctor or lactation consultant before taking any new supplements. They can advise on safe options and which ones to avoid due to medication interactions or health concerns.
The most common type of lactation supplement is a galactagogue. These herbs stimulate the release of prolactin, a hormone that increases breast milk production. These herbs are available in a variety of forms including capsules, teas and cookies. Some galactagogue blends are available that combine several different herbs, while others are single ingredients such as fenugreek or C. amboinicus. Whether a galactagogue is taken as a capsule, tea or cookie, it should be consumed around three times per day to see results.
Although most herbal lactation supplements do not undergo the same rigorous testing as pharmaceutical galactagogues, anecdotal evidence suggests that they can help increase milk production and decrease pumping time. In addition, the FDA does not regulate these types of supplements, so the amounts and ingredients of each may vary.
Generally, it is not recommended to take any herbs that are not well-studied in pregnant and nursing women. The same is true for other natural supplements. For example, fenugreek has been shown to inhibit the release of dopamine in some people, and this may cause an imbalance that can interfere with breastfeeding.
Overall, a healthy diet is vital during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but lactation supplements are not necessary for most people. In some cases, a supplement such as lecithin can be beneficial, because it helps the milk to flow more easily and reduces the risk of plugged milk ducts, but only after a problem with milk ducts is assessed by a doctor.
A mother can usually tell if she needs a lactation supplement by checking in with her body and her baby. She should not feel obligated to continue taking the supplement once her supply is stable, but some mothers do find that they need to take it for the duration of their breastfeeding experience. If she finds that her supplement is no longer effective, it can be gradually tapered down until the amount is no longer needed.