Best Herbal Remedies for Milk Production

Breastfeeding is based on a simple yet incredible concept: a baby’s suckling action tells the mother’s body to produce milk. This is an amazing process that can sometimes seem like it’s not working as well as it should.

It’s true! Many breastfeeding women struggle with low milk supply, and it can be very frustrating. While there are a number of things that can contribute to low milk supply, there are also several things that can help increase it. Herbal remedies are one such thing, and I’m here to tell you, they can really work!

With that said, it’s important to remember that not all herbs are created equal. Some are much more effective than others, and some are not recommended for prolonged use or for use while trying to conceive, pregnant or nursing. Before taking any herbal supplement, it’s always best to speak with a healthcare professional or a Certified Nutritional Practitioner who specializes in women’s health.

Herbs That Boost Milk Supply

Now let’s get to the good stuff: the herbs! Below are some of the best herbs that have been shown to be effective in boosting milk supply for many breastfeeding mamas. These herbs can be taken in a number of ways, including teas, capsules, powders, and tinctures, and they can be found in many health food stores.

Goat’s Rue

Goat’s Rue, also known as Galega officinalis is a plant native to Europe and the Middle East that has been used in herbal medicine to treat many medical conditions. It’s also a popular breastfeeding herb that women use to increase their breast milk supply. 

The dried leaves of the goat’s rue plant are not only known to increase supply, but also to stimulate the growth of breast tissue. This means that it may be helpful for women who wish to breastfeed after breast surgery. 

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is perhaps the most popular (and well-known) herbal remedy for increasing milk supply. It’s an easy herb to find, as it’s commonly used for cooking. Fenugreek seeds are what you’ll want to look for – they can be found either whole or ground.

The best way to take fenugreek is in capsule form, but it can also be taken as a tea. Keep in mind fenugreek can actually reduce production in some women, so it’s best to start with a lower dose and introduce it slowly.

It’s also important to note that while Fenugreek can boost a mother’s breast milk supply, baby’s digestion could be affected by the herb. Some babies may become uncomfortable with gas or green (and more frequent) stools. 

Blessed Thistle

Blessed thistle is another popular herbal remedy for boosting milk supply, usually by increasing prolactin levels – a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which is mainly used to help women produce milk after childbirth. The herb has a long history of use for this purpose, dating back to the Middle Ages and can be taken in capsule form or as a tea.

In moderation, blessed thistle is perfectly safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, taking it while pregnant is not recommended because it acts as a uterine stimulant that may potentially signal the body to start contractions.

Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a type of fungus that is often used in baking bread. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, chromium, selenium, and B-vitamins. The dead yeast cells of brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are known to be used as a dietary supplement to enhance a breastfeeding mother’s milk production.

Brewer’s yeast can be found in health food stores, and it’s usually taken in tablet form. It can also be added to smoothies or sprinkled on food. Keep in mind that it has a slightly bitter taste, so it’s best to mix it with something sweet.

Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a popular herbal remedy for boosting milk supply. Alfalfa is rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, carotene, and vitamin K. The plant components in this herb resemble estrogens and can attach to their receptors, anecdotally linking to increased milk supply. 

Alfalfa can be taken in capsule form or as a tea. Alfalfa is also known to mimic the properties of estrogen, so not only can it increase milk supply, it can also help increase volume in the breast tissue – now what mama doesn’t want that?!

Fennel

Fennel is a type of herb that is related to the carrot family. It’s often used as a spice in cooking, and it has a sweet, anise-like flavor. Fennel is rich in phytoestrogens (much like Alfalfa), which are plant-based compounds that contain estrogen-like properties.

In addition to stimulating a mother’s breast milk supply, fennel can be passed through the breast milk to your infant. It’s said that fennel can help with digestion and gas, which means it can work to improve digestion and soothe symptoms of colic in infants. Talk about win-win!

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is perhaps the most popular (and well-known) herbal remedy for increasing milk supply. It’s an easy herb to find, as it’s commonly used for cooking. Fenugreek seeds are what you’ll want to look for – they can be found either whole or ground.

The best way to take fenugreek is in capsule form, but it can also be taken as a tea. Keep in mind fenugreek can actually reduce production in some women, so it’s best to start with a lower dose and introduce it slowly.

It’s also important to note that while Fenugreek can boost a mother’s breast milk supply, baby’s digestion could be affected by the herb. Some babies may become uncomfortable with gas or green (and more frequent) stools. 

Milk Thistle

Like brewer’s yeast, milk thistle is another herb that doesn’t have a lot of scientific data to support its use for boosting milk supply. However, it has been used traditionally for this purpose, and many women swear by it.

Milk thistle is a type of flowering plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It’s rich in a compound called silymarin, which is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Moringa

Moringa is a type of tree that is native to Africa and Asia. It’s sometimes referred to as the “miracle tree” because it’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Moringa is safe for breastfeeding and pregnant women to consume, but is not recommended for women trying to conceive as the properties in moringa may make conceiving more difficult.

Moringa is loaded with essential vitamins and amino acids, and is especially high in iron. It can be taken in capsule form, or the leaves can be dried and made into a tea. It’s also possible to find moringa powder, which can be added to smoothies or other foods.

One scoop of moringa powder is said to be close to 47% of your daily iron intake, which is great for boosting milk supply. Not to mention, it can also help increase your energy levels – something all moms can use!

Herbal Tea Blends

Drinking a Herbal Tea like Mother’s Milk Tea  is another great way to increase your milk supply. Herbal teas contain a variety of different herbs that have been traditionally used to promote lactation. Many of the herbs found in nursing teas, like fenugreek and blessed thistle are also available in supplement form (as mentioned above).

Still Looking for Breastfeeding Help?

If you’re still struggling with your milk supply, or are having other struggles during this new journey, there are a variety of resources that can help. It’s best to find someone you’re comfortable talking with.

I also encourage you to join my support network of moms in The Well Bebe Method. As a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Baby Sleep Training Specialist, I know the ins and outs of how to make the most of your motherhood journey – and that includes taking care of both yours’ and your baby’s nutrition.

That’s why I’ve designed this customized training course that provides new moms with the nutrition and mindset support they need to be successful on their new journey. Even if you’re not struggling with breastfeeding, this step-by-step course will give you tools and guidance to feel your best as a new mom. 

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