Herbs for Insufficient Breastmilk Production
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Kristi
Posted on: March 22, 2001

I am a mother to 3 wonderful children, 5, 3 and 4 months. I am currently nursing (trying to) our 4 month old. I have been sick and my milk supply and dwindled. I was reading in a magazine, that the herb, fenugreek, can help increase milk production. Is this info correct? I have seen fenugreek in health stores in capsule form 500mg. If this is true, how much of the herb should I take to increase production?

To improve breastmilk production, it is important to drink at least 8 eight ounce cups of liquids daily: water, unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices and non-caffeinated tea.

Fenugreek is a galactagogue (herbs that increase milk production). Galactogogues are best taken as teas. The usual preparation of Fenugreek is boiling 1-2 teaspoons of the seeds per cup of water for 15 minutes. The usual dosage is 2-3 cups a day. Other galactogogues include Alfalfa, Blessed thistle, Dandelion root and leaves, Marshmallow root, Stinging Nettle, Oatstraw and Red raspberry leaves. All of these herbs should be available at health food stores.

Aviva Romm, in "Naturally Healthy Babies and Children" (publisher Storey Books) notes that certain foods have a reputation for encouraging milk production, including barley, oats, beets, carrots (especially carrot juice), winter squash, avocados, brown rice, leafy greens and sea vegetables (especially dulse, hijiki and kombu).

To stimulate milk production, Romm suggests drinking up to 4 cups a day of her "Mother’s Milk Blend Tea", which can be made as follows:

1 ounce dried chamomile flowers

1 ounce dried catnip

1/4 ounce fennel seeds

1/2 ounce dried nettle

1/8 ounce dried lavender flowers

1 cup boiling water.

To prepare: Combine all the herbs. Put 1 tablespoon in a glass jar, add the boiling water, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain.

This tea also helps with digestion and relaxation of mother and baby.

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