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We have many parents who come into our Breastfeeding Centers asking how to boost their milk supply. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends first trying methods that don’t involve medicines to increase milk supply. However if those methods don’t seem to be effective, moms can work with a Lactation Professional, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), or parents can try herbs to increase milk supply (also called galactagogues). Our Healthy Horizons Breastfeeding Centers carry an extensive list of herbs in different forms such as pills, tinctures, snacks and teas. Let’s learn a little more about some of the most popular herbs for increasing milk supply.
Fenugreek is arguably one of the most popular and best herbs for increasing milk supply. It is native to the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, and Western Asia. The seeds smell and taste similar to maple syrup, and the leaves are used as a vegetable in India. When using fenugreek to boost supply, some moms may notice an increase in milk supply in 24-72 hours to 2 weeks. Besides increasing milk supply, fenugreek is also used to improve digestive problems and cholesterol levels. It is used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to lower blood sugar, slow the absorption of sugar in the stomach, and stimulate insulin.
Fenugreek can be taken in capsule form or as a tincture. Since fenugreek is a legume plant, women with allergies to peanuts should avoid fenugreek. People with blood clotting or bleeding disorders or low blood sugars (hypoglycemia) should also avoid taking Fenugreek.
Fenugreek for breastfeeding mothers is available in multiple forms such as capsules and tinctures. Healthy Horizons carries Nature’s Way Fenugreek Capsules and Herb Lore Fenugreek Tincture. Fenugreek is also available in lactation teas such Milkmakers Tea and Drink Mix.
Shatavari is a species of asparagus and is the most important Ayurvedic herb for women’s health. Shatavari means “a woman with one thousand husbands” because it is so important to women’s fertility and reproductive health. It is well known and used in India and China to boost milk supply. It also helps with female reproductive and fertility issues including menstruation and menopause.
Since Shatavari is part of the asparagus family, it should not be used by those with allergies to asparagus. It also should not be used by those who have diuretic issues or those who are pregnant. Healthy Horizons carries Motherlove Shatavari Capsules. It is also available in Mother’s Milk Tea Shatavari Cardamom.
Goat’s Rue is a plant native to Europe and the Middle East. It is used to stimulate the production and flow of breastmilk. Goat’s Rue also stimulates the growth of breast tissue. It is an herbal treatment for digestion problems and used to lower blood sugar levels. Since it lowers blood sugar, it should not be used by those with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
It is a member of the pea family so should not be used by those allergic to peanuts, soybean, or alfalfa. Find goat’s rue at Healthy Horizons in Motherlove Goat’s Rue in liquid capsules.
These are just a few of the many herbs used for increasing milk supply. Herbs can also be used for alleviating other problems, such as mastitis, decreasing milk production, after-birth pain, swelling, menopausal symptoms, or even relieving cold and flu symptoms. However, it’s always best for a mom to use herbs, tinctures, teas or any milk-boosting products under the supervision of a lactation professional to ensure there are no complications. If your healthcare provider has recommended using herbs to boost your milk supply, come visit our extensive line of herbal products at our Healthy Horizons Breastfeeding Centers and on our website.