Whether you’re breastfeeding already or pregnant and ready to learn all you can about having a flowing milk supply, there is a wealth of information out there. There are plenty of herbs, supplements, and natural remedies that can help you increase your production. Every mom is different and will have her own unique breastfeeding journey.
A lower milk production — or even a higher flow, at that — can come as a result of so many factors. Stress, diet, hormones, basic biology, and genetics all play prominent roles in determining your production. The source isn’t always as clear-cut as you might expect, but natural solutions can sometimes yield impressive results. While you should consult your health care professional if you suspect something is off, low milk production often doesn’t denote anything serious. It can simply be a part of life.
If you’re looking to increase your milk supply naturally, you may have already heard of fenugreek and other herbs or plants that have been known to help out. However, when it comes to how, why, and what to do, you may be a bit lost. It all comes down to finding the herbs, remedies, and methods that work best for you and your lifestyle.
All About Fenugreek
Fenugreek is usually the first herb that anyone recommends when they hear you’re trying to increase your milk supply, and for good reason. Fenugreek is a tall plant with white flowers that is known for its sweet taste. It’s sometimes used in artificial sweeteners for foods like mock maple syrup due to its naturally pleasant flavor. While it can come in many forms, the seeds can help increase milk production.
There are a few effective ways to ingest fenugreek to ensure your milk production is on the right track. Plenty of moms take the herb in capsule form, which is a concentrated, quick way to get it into your system quickly. Many moms notice a difference within just a few days — some even as soon as 24 hours.
However, if capsules and pills aren’t your thing, there’s no need to worry. You can also find the herb in many lactation teas. If you’re particularly interested in trying it out as a tea, you can steep roughly a teaspoon of whole fenugreek seeds into your tea or boiling water and drink it that way.
A lot of research has been done on fenugreek. Overall, studies show that fenugreek helps increase milk production in the majority of mothers who take it when compared to those given a placebo.
Solutions in Your Food
Certain foods can also increase your milk production.
Seasonings like cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and garlic have been known to help with milk production when eaten regularly. Foods like alfalfa sprouts and oats may also bring a boost. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to down a whole garlic clove every day or eat curry with cumin for dinner every night, but perhaps take stock of how you feel when introducing more of these foods into your diet. Keep track of your milk supply so you can notice what makes your body tick.
The beauty of using foods to increase milk supply is that they’re so easy to work into your daily life. Do you love ginger tea? Try drinking it once a day. Do you enjoy a hot slice of oven-fresh pizza now and then? Dress it up with garlic when you chow down. Do you always have a craving for something sweet in the mornings? Try oatmeal with cinnamon to hit two birds with one stone. It is as easy as listening to your body.
Other Herbs to Try
Fenugreek gets lots of attention, but there are plenty of other herbs that can boost milk supply.
1. Blessed Thistle
If you’ve already tried fenugreek and a few food solutions and you’re simply looking to branch out and see what else the earth has to offer, blessed thistle might be the next best thing to try. It’s an herb often found in nursing teas and supplements. Many blends even combine the two for the best possible results.
2. Goat’s Rue
Goat’s rue is another herb that has been known to consistently increase milk production. Specifically, it helps with building healthy breast tissue. While the dried form of the plant has many natural benefits, it’s important to avoid the fresh plant, as it’s dangerous for human consumption. Sticking to teas and supplements will probably be your best bet.
3. Milk Thistle
Much like the name implies, milk thistle is great for nursing. While it hasn’t been extensively studied, milk thistle has holistic roots. Its white veins are thought by many to represent nursing and breast milk. This herb releases toxins from the body and was often used to cure infections throughout history. It also contains estrogen, which may help improve milk supply. You can use it as a long steeping tea or take it as a supplement, perhaps alongside other herbs.
4. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is a bit of a different plant than some of the others in the fenugreek and thistle family. As a dark leafy green, stinging nettle contains high dosages of iron and other vitamins and minerals that are known to increase overall health and nutrition. It has a long history as an herbal medicine used to treat many ailments.
Increasing the Flow
There are so many ways to increase your milk supply. Your baby deserves the very best nutrition, and you need to treat your body with care and consideration. Whether you start sipping ginger tea every day or go with the classic fenugreek, there’s something out there for everybody. You may need to try a few different methods to see what fits best with you, but you’ll get into the flow in no time at all.
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