Many times on my Instagram forum and on other online mother forums, I see moms who ask how to increase supply and many other moms suggest breastfeeding supplements. This is what I want to address today. I’ve had a post about milk supply before and you might have noticed that I did not mention any breastfeeding supplements.
What are these breastfeeding supplements?
Let’s talk a little bit about these breastfeeding supplements. In the research literature, they are known as galactagogues or a substance that increases milk supply. Some breastfeeding supplements that I have seen suggested are fenugreek, fennel, blessed thistle, Gatorade, brewers yeast, beer and water (in copious amounts). For most breastfeeding or pumping moms, galactagogues are not necessary to keep up a normal or necessary milk supply. I try to base my classes and advice on evidence-based information and there is simply not enough research on galactagogues (breastfeeding supplements) for me to give a solid recommendation.
What does help increase milk supply?
What I do suggest to moms who need to increase their milk supply is to encourage baby to feed frequently and increase frequency of breast stimulation. If the mom is pumping, I also suggest using hands-on pumping and hand expression to help increase supply. Remember that milk is made by asking for milk. And we ask for milk by breastfeeding or expressing through pumping or hand expression.
In most cases galactogogues will not hurt you, but make sure to consult with your healthcare provider when introducing any herbs or supplements in conjunction with any medications you are already on.
I know that there are many women who have had success with galactagogues and I think that’s great! But without frequent breast stimulation, milk supply will not increase in most cases. If you feel like your supply needs a boost and frequent breast stimulation has not helped, you would probably benefit from a one-on-one consult with an IBCLC. I love helping moms with in-person consults and eConsults. In my video classes I discuss various ways to encourage a healthy supply like hand expression and hands-on pumping, in-depth. What helped encourage a healthy milk supply for you? Share in the comments.
I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.
Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC