Breast milk is based on the demand and supply rule, the more milk is removed from the breasts the more will be produced to fill it.
Most mothers are well equipped to make enough milk to nurse their infants. If they are apprehensive that their supply is not good enough, it’s just their motherly instincts kicking in, making them overthink.
If all the signs of low milk supply have been identified and addressed and the problem prevails, galactagogues can be used to increase the supply of milk.
Galactagogues are herbal lactation supplements, foods, or medication that helps boost milk production.
Galactagogues is a Greek word that literally means “milk promotion”. These are all-natural, herbal, and organic ways to speed up the process of milk production.
For obtaining the best results, mothers must try to drain breasts more often, increase nursing time and frequency, and vigorous pumping sessions, combined with galactagogues.
Herbs and natural foods have been used by mothers for centuries to increase milk supply, reduce weight after delivery, giving relief in period pains and cramps, and many other women-related problems. They hardly have any side effects and are safe to use.
Do you really need galactagogues?
Just because you think that your supply of milk is insufficient and your new-born is hungry all the time, it might not be the case.
Breast milk is produced on demand, the amount suckled by your infant is the amount replaced in the breasts. It’s quite understandable, that new moms wear themselves down with worry and self-doubt that their milk supply is not enough for the baby.
He might not get it filled and it is difficult to ascertain as unlike bottle feed where you can know how many ounces the baby drank, breastfeeding is mostly guessing.
Especially for moms who are feeding exclusively, it is absolutely imperative to be sure. Looks out for the signs that your baby gives you to be sure he is full, happy, and satisfied.
Your child will start to drift off to sleep, the hands will open and the body visually relaxed.
If the infant is not sleeping then he can turn away from the breast, may even start crying, his sucking will slow down, hiccups or wet burps can all be indications of a fulfilling feed.
Some signs can be monitored over a couple of weeks like baby weight, poop and urine color, and frequency or sleep patterns that would be long and peaceful.
All these signs prove that you don’t need any galactagogues and your supply is matching the demand.
Situations where galactagogues are useful
An insufficient supply of milk can be distressing for the baby and frustrating for the mom.
If the supply of your milk is not increasing after a good latch, skin to skin contacts, breast compressions, regular pumping sessions, and after a good, well-balanced diet then you may want to try galactagogues.
Herbal lactation supplements, foods, and medication can help stimulate the production of milk significantly.
Low supply of milk can be for many reasons like; exclusive pumping, if the mother is breastfeeding after breast surgery, the return of periods may cause a dip in supply.
You want to breastfeed an adopted child, there has been a long gap between breastfeeding and the mother is starting again. All of the above-mentioned reasons can cause low production of milk.
Galactagogue foods that increase milk supply
After trying everything and you still feel that you are not producing enough milk for your child then try out these herbal lactation supplements and foods to increase your milk supply.
Often touted as an effective galactagogue, these aromatic seeds can boost the production in the most natural way.
One of the oldest and most known medicinal herbs, this middle-eastern spice is great to add in tea. Use only 4-6 grams of it daily and see a surge in your milk supply. It might give a maple syrup smell (which is not bad, right?).
Always ask your doctor before starting any galactagogue, as they can cause contractions and allergic reactions if you are allergic to soybean or peanuts.
Oatmeal or Oats
One of the most delicious galactagogue foods that are loved by many is oatmeal. You can have them in a variety of ways such as, have an old-fashioned bowl of oatmeal in the morning, opt the trendy way and drink an oatmeal latte, make oat cookies or just whip them up in milk.
It is a great source of obtaining fibers, iron, nutrients and it will also help reduce weight and make you feel full.
Fennel seeds are found in many lactation cookies as they contain high levels of estrogen just like fenugreek. These are crunchy seeds that make great tea as they are packed with flavor.
The estrogen-like compounds enhance the milk supply; helps the baby to gain weight and mommy to have good bowel movements.
Both fenugreek and blessed thistle should be used in conjunction with each other in order to get the best results.
Originally used for loss of appetite, treating diarrhea, cold, flu, and indigestion, many lactation experts suggest using it to increase milk supply. It can be prepared as a tea using the leaves tops and stems, it is also sold in capsule form.
Garlic is believed to be a galactagogue and has been used for flavoring food in many cuisines worldwide. It also has a ton of medicinal benefits and is crammed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
It has been proven that mothers who add garlic to their diets can keep babies at their breasts for a longer time, resulting in a surge in breast milk production.
The effectiveness of the Galactagogues
Remember that galactagogues won’t work on their own; they need your help to perform. Frequent feeding sessions and pumping sessions are a must to increase milk making.
Use lactating teas and cookies; they are usually made with galactagogues and have the correct dosages of these herbs that won’t harm you in any way possible. So, try them out if you are a worrying mother!
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology, and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.