Milk supply is often at the forefront of a breastfeeding mother's mind. Many of us wonder if we're producing enough, which can be challenging to determine. It's common to feel stressed and worried if you think you're not making enough for your baby. While working with a lactation consultant is always recommended, lactation supplements can be a safe and simple home remedy.
Lactation Supplements: What They Are and How They Work
Lactation supplements, also known as galactagogues, are products that can help increase breastmilk supply. Usually, these products are natural and made from herbs. You can take supplements in capsule form, but you'll also find medications, teas, cookies, and drink mixes.
Research is mixed on how effective galactagogues are, but many moms have success with them. Galactagogues work by raising the levels of prolactin in the mother's body. Prolactin is one of the essential hormones for milk production. There aren't many studies surrounding milk-producing supplements; however, quite a few galactagogues have been relied upon for centuries.
How to Get the Most Benefits
Of course, lactation supplements aren't miracle pills. While they will usually help boost your supply, you should use them in conjunction with other best practices.
If you're worried about how much breastmilk you are producing or breastfeeding in general, you should reach out to a lactation consultant. They'll better assess how well your baby is nursing and how much milk they're getting.
Many moms think they have a low supply when their hormones and supply regulates. This can leave your breasts feeling soft as if they're empty, but that usually isn't the case. Pumping can often be a poor indicator, especially if you're a breastfeeding mom who doesn't respond well to the pump.
A lactation consultant will likely share some techniques with you and talk about how often to feed your baby. Feeding on demand and pumping consistently when you can't nurse is critical. Even with a lactation supplement, your body still requires regular milk removal. Breastfeeding functions on supply and demand; if you're not expelling milk regularly, your breasts will signal to your body to stop producing.
For this reason, it's important to consider supplements to increase lactation as only a part of your supply-boosting regimen and not rely on them entirely.
Breast Milk Production and Lactation Supplements
A handful of herbs and medications may help increase a mother's supply. Most moms turn to natural ingredients that have been traditionally used in herbal or naturopathic medicine. In most cases, a blend of herbs is best.
Different plants have different properties that can aid nursing mothers in various ways. Here are our favorite lactation support supplement ingredients. You’ll find all of these in our effective and delicious lactation products, including Golden Milk and Chocolate Lactation Drink Mix.
As always, discuss any new supplement you plan on taking with your doctor. Additionally, start by slowly adding them to your diet to see how you and your baby respond. Remember, moderation is best.
You'll find ashwagandha in various wellness products, and for a good reason! It is an adaptogen and a nutrient powerhouse. Adaptogens assist your body in handling stress better. Lower cortisol levels can mean better sleep, stronger feelings of well-being, increased energy, and higher milk supply levels.
Stress tends to be the enemy of breastfeeding, sometimes preventing letdowns or decreasing supply in general. Ashwagandha helps ward off oxidative stress for both your supply and overall health.
Not only does the flavor of cinnamon pair incredibly well with cocoa (such as in our lactation drink mix), but it also has nutritional benefits. Cinnamon is listed as one of the top galactagogues, believed to help milk flow more freely. It also is linked to delaying periods, whose return can trigger changes in a mother's milk supply.
Furthermore, cinnamon contains antioxidants that help protect our cells against free radicals. It is also an anti-inflammatory supplement that supports good blood flow and digestion.
An ancient root known as the "Queen of Herbs," Shatavari is an excellent lactation supplement. Ayurveda relies on Shatavari to increase breastmilk production by raising prolactin and overall lactation support.
In addition, Shatavari contains phytoestrogen, which helps to balance estrogen and regulate menstruation. It is rich in antioxidants that can fight the adverse effects of stress and promote healing.
Grains are a very popular galactagogue. It isn't uncommon for moms to whip up a batch of oatmeal cookies to increase their supply. But what they're really benefiting from is oat flour.
Oat flour contains Beta-glucan, a grain that is believed to boost prolactin and breastmilk. Oats also contain iron, one of the essential vitamins for lactation.
Milk thistle is a common galactagogue that promotes lactation for many mothers. It helps boost prolactin and signals to the body to increase output, especially with consistent breastfeeding or pumping. One study found that some moms reported an 85% increase in supply.
Plus, milk thistle is excellent for the liver. Its cleansing properties are ideal for the body and its ability to lower cholesterol.
How you consume these ingredients can vary with the product. While capsules are simple and easy, it's crucial to ensure that you drink enough water to support breastfeeding. Drinking a full glass with your supplement is helpful.
Alternatively, you could mix supplements in their powdered form into beverages or lattes. This is a fantastic way to get a breastmilk boost from both the supplement and the increased hydration.
A final way to add lactation supplements to your diet is to bake with them. Our versatile powder and mixes can be added to various recipes, allowing you to tailor your lactation treats to your preferences and tastes.
Here are a few examples of the versatility of our lactation supplements!
Our Favorite Lactation Supplement Recipes
Add 1 scoop mix in 1 cup milk/mylk. Heat in the microwave or a saucepan and whisk together. Use a frother to make it foamy.
2 scoops mix + 4 tbsp milk + 1.5 tsp sugar + a pinch of salt and baking soda + chocolate chips (optional). Mix in a mug and microwave for 60 seconds.
½ cup almond milk + ½ cup frozen berries + ½ banana + 1 scoop chocolate lactation mix + 2 tbsp almond butter. Blend together till smooth. Top with nuts and oat granola.
Chocolate Lactation Drink Mix
Freshly Moms Organic Chocolate Drink Mix is the easiest, and the most effective way to naturally boost milk production.Fertility support system developed by experts. Blend of natural herbs and vitamins to help a woman's body prepare for conception.Buy Now
Posted by Shruti Mishra
Shruti is the founder of Freshly Moms. She is a profesional plant based chef from Natural Gourmet Institute, NY and a certified IIN health coach. She has been working with Ayurveda, food & nutrition since over 10 years and is also a fresh mom herself.
This article is not a medical advice and is not meant for every situation. Every woman's body is different and may respond differently to treatments or supplements.