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Supplements to Increase Milk Supply- Do They Really Work?
The aforementioned supplements are topmost alternatives and supplements to increase milk supply for breastfeeding:
1. Fenugreek Capsules
Well, fenugreek capsules are the best in the list, which I would recommend. They are really easy to consume; there’s a quite simple way to tell if it’s working or not, and it has been super effective for a plethora of women. The dosage that you should start with is two capsules mostly three times per day; and if you don’t smell like maple syrup after a few days, you could increase it to three capsules three times per day. (As a matter of fact, smelling like maple syrup is the trick to knowing that it’s working.)
Though the side effects of fenugreek haven’t been well studied, some generalized side effects that have been reported specifically include nausea, vomiting, headaches, increased gas and gastrointestinal motility with comparatively loose stools. Some women have reported increased a maple-like taste to breast milk and breast congestion over the years.
It is crucial for mothers to be relatively aware of side effects and even to monitor themselves and their infants. They should discuss supplements that they might be taking with their primary care providers and other lactation consultants.
NOTE: Fenugreek is listed in generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA and as long as feeding mothers are aware of the side effects, this is a good option to try to increase supply.
2. Mother’s Milk Tea
Mother’s Milk Tea is probably the most popular and easily available nursing tea which you might be able to find it in any grocery store near you, and even on amazon.
This tea contains fennel (560 mg), coriander (210 mg), anise (350 mg), blessed thistle (35 mg) and fenugreek (35 mg). It should be taken into notice, that these dosages – blessed thistle and fenugreek in particular – are much lower than if you were to take these herbs in their capsule form. As a matter of fact, the tea has less than 10% of what one capsule contains.
The manufacturer generally recommends drinking 3-5 cups of tea per day. To make the tea, you need to steep it in 8 oz of hot water for 10 minutes, and then drink it. It actually tastes like licorice, and you could sweeten it with sugar or honey or whatever you prefer.
There haven’t been any formal research studies as to how effective oatmeal can be for boosting milk supply; however, enough women have been noticing a difference in milk supply after consuming it. Thus it’s widely recommended as a milk supply booster.
Well, oatmeal has a lot of advantages overall – there isn’t any risk to trying it, it doubles as breakfast and is super affordable.The one disadvantage that bothers me is that it’s effects are generally limited to those days when you actually consume the oatmeal, while some other supplements such as fenugreek can be discontinued after your milk supply has increased, without any issues.
NOTE: If you dislike oatmeal, you could also make oatmeal cookies or brownies and consume them for induced lactation.
4. Blessed Thistle
Blessed Thistle is a plant that tends to increase milk supply when ingested. These capsules basically contain the stem, flower and the leaves.
Well, blessed thistle’s effectiveness hasn’t been studied much singularly. Instead, in all of those studies, the subjects had consumed both blessed thistle and fenugreek. Therefore, if you decide on trying this one, it might be a great idea to try it along with fenugreek.
In a particular study, the women who witnessed an increase in the milk supply noticed it within a few days. The time span generally ranged between 2-48 hours.
These capsules are 390 mg, and the recommended dosage usually is three capsules three times per day.
5. Pink Stork Liquid Gold-
This is the last drinking tea in the recommendation list and has a lot of the same ingredients as those of the other teas: blessed thistle, marshmallow root, fenugreek, fennel, spearmint, anise, and licorice. Well, the exact amount of each herb is not specified on the tin though. Pink Stork claims that in addition to boosting your milk supply, it could even help with your baby’s gas.
The manufacturer recommends drinking 1-3 cups of tea per day. To make this tea, you have to steep the loose leaf tea bag for about 5 minutes. To your surprise, the tea bags are reusable and you’re supposed to use each one of them 3 times. But, some users have experienced that the bags tear easily, resulting in some loose tea in your cup.
6. Majka Lactation Protein Powder and Protein Bites-
If you like using protein powder, then this one is an amazing option at your service. The protein powder contains ginger root, turmeric and fenugreek for the milk supply and lactation support. It can be consumed by incorporating it into smoothies and shakes.
The lactation bites are meant to be a snack which can prove to be very dense and surprisingly filling. They are made with oats, fenugreek, flax seed, and turmeric for increasing the milk supply.
7. Palm Dates
Palm dates are one of the former galactagogues that were discovered initially. Dates tend to be low in fat and protein and even rich in sugars. It is estimated that 100g of dates could provide you with upwards of 300 kcal and contains over 10 different essential minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, potassium and even magnesium. They contain vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and are high in fiber. Palm dates also contain antioxidant properties.
NOTE: Given the other amazing benefits of palm dates, I don’t think there can be any problem in trying them, despite the lack of any firm evidence.
8. Coleus Amboinicus
This is a perennial succulent plant that has been used for centuries in the Chinese cooking to treat a plethora of health conditions including those of chest pain, epilepsy, asthma, rashes and insomnia. It has also been suggested that Coleus species have the ability to increase a woman’s’ milk supply.
Fennel, also known as Foeniculum vulgare scientifically, is a licorice-flavored herb native to the Mediterranean and is generally best known for treating colic. Some anecdotal reports have found an increase in milk production over the years. There is no consensus on the amount, frequency or formulation of consumption. It should be noted that fennel is also rich in vitamin C, manganese, potassium, copper, folate and phosphorus. It is also an amazing source of fiber and in moderation is a very nutritious food item to support a breastfeeding mother.
NOTE: Fennel is recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA and has provided it’s consumers with other health benefits, thus being a good option to try.
Goat’s Rue, also known as Galega officinalis is a plant native to the Middle East. It was often fed to the animals as it was thought to increase their milk supply. Though there are no studies that looked at goat’s rue without the addition of a considerable amount of fenugreek. But there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that it can help. The mechanism by which it works is not clear and thus caution should be used. It is not regarded as GRAS by the FDA.
NOTE: Goat’s rue has been a common ingredient in lactation teas and generally well remarked. Thus I do not see any issues with trying this.
Shatavari, also called Asparagus racemosus in scientific terms, is a significant species of asparagus, out of the more than 300 species of asparagus that can be found around the world. The roots and leaves of this Asparagus plant, also known as shatavari, is used as galactagogues and even for immune support . It is not clear how shatavari works to increase milk production as it does not have a GRAS rating by the FDA.
If you’re struggling with reduced milk supply issues, then the first step would be to evaluate simple factors including latch evaluation, frequency of feeding or pumping, oral examination of the infant, and thoroughness of breast emptying. A lactation consultant, usually available at your local hospital or breastfeeding support store, could be invaluable in identifying if there have been any underlying issues with you, which has been contributing to your reduced breast milk supply. Once you are done with that talk to your doctor about their recommendations for your condition and along with that you could use these herbal supplements to benefit you and your condition.