Breastfeeding is an important natural phenomenon for mothers and babies. It is a means of feeding babies exclusively for the first six months of life. Breast milk is the best food for babies. It is clean, safe and contains immunoglobulin that protects the baby from infections and diseases. It is also pocket friendly, readily available and full of nutrients. Here is a list of the best Natural Lactation Supplements To Increase Milk Supply for your baby.
However, there are some women that do not produce enough breast milk, especially in the first few days of the baby’s life. They struggle to breastfeed the baby, and the baby also cries nonstop due to hunger. Lactation is the process of producing human milk.
Human milk is produced in the mammary glands, which are located in the breasts. Lactation is driven by hormones and occur naturally in women who are pregnant. Normally, lactation is triggered by a complex interaction between four hormones; oestrogen, progesterone, prolactin and human placental lactogen.
Also, the bonding that occurs during breastfeeding is important in building the mother-child relationship.
This article aims to guide mothers on the best natural supplements for lactation.
Lactation Supplements To Increase Milk Supply
Fenugreek is a popular galactagogue that can be used on its own or in lactation supplements to increase breast milk. A galactagogue is a food or drug that increases breast milk. Experts say that Fenugreek normally increases production in sweat glands.
Since the breast is a modified sweat gland, milk production and ejection are stimulated. Many women who consume fenugreek testify to an increase in milk production within twenty-four to seventy-two hours of consumption.
2. Brewer’s Yeast
This is another natural supplement for lactation. Brewer’s yeast is good for the production of increased breast milk. It is also ideal in fighting off fatigue, as it contains B vitamins. It is also a protein supplement and enhances immunity.
It can be found in bread, and over the counter nutritional supplements. Experts say that to add Brewer’s yeast to one’s diet, it must be added gradually, at a low dosage first, observe for side effects, and gradually increase to a tolerated dose.
Oats are ideal foods for better lactation. They increase breast milk, probably due to the high amounts of iron in them. Low iron is not good for lactation. Oats are also used in making lactation cookies. They are combined with other galactagogues like Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, fenugreek and Barley.
Oats also contain Beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a type of fibre that increases the amount of the hormone prolactin. There are also plant oestrogens in Oats that help stimulate milk production.
Flaxseed contains phytoestrogens that help stimulate milk production. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids that are good for both mother and baby.
Whole flaxseeds work better than the grounded ones. You can sprinkle flaxseeds on your salads and cereals or use them in making lactation cookies.
Spinach is one of the best natural supplements for lactation as it contains a high amount of iron. An increased level of iron increases the production of breast milk.
When much iron has been lost during the baby’s delivery due to postpartum haemorrhage, it is important to eat foods rich in iron to replace the lost iron levels. Another food rich in iron is Akamu, which is also a good natural supplement for lactation.
Fennel, a food that is part of the carrot family, is one of the best natural supplements for lactation. Fennel has been used in increasing breast milk in women for centuries. It is a herbal galactagogue that contains phytoestrogens, which is like the oestrogen that is normally formed in the body.
Fennel can be consumed as a tea, as a flavouring in foods, or as a vegetable in soups and other dishes. The seeds can also be roasted or chewed raw.
7. Goat’s Rue
Goat’s rue is a herb that helps to increase lactation. It increases the breast tissue and is useful for women who did not experience an increase in breast size during pregnancy.
Goat’s rue is also ideal for women with hormonal imbalance, who find it difficult to produce enough milk. It can be used as tea or an extract to increase the supply of milk.
8. Stinging nettle
Stinging nettle is a herb that is also rich in iron. When used after childbirth, it treats anaemia, fatigue and increases breast milk. It can also be used to treat inflammation and joint pain. It can be used in a capsule, taken as tea or eaten as a vegetable like spinach.
Ginger is a herb that is used as a flavour in foods. It is also a good natural lactation supplement. It is usually used for nausea and motion sickness. It can be added to food or taken as a tea.
Garlic is one of the best natural supplements for lactation. It has been used by breastfeeding mothers for years in stimulating breast milk production. You can add garlic to food, eat it raw, or take garlic pills. One thing to note is that garlic can also change the flavour of your breast milk.
Babies who like the taste of garlic in breast milk may have an increase in breastfeeding time, which may in turn increase milk production.
Other Natural Lactation Supplements to Increase Milk Supply
- Milk thistle
- Sesame seeds
- Green papaya
- Tiger nuts
- Ofada rice
- Water melon
- Black seed
- Fura de nunu
- Shatavari root
Side Effects of Lactation Supplements
Some of these lactation supplements can cause an abdominal upset. Fenugreek can cause stomach pains, gas and diarrhoea. It can also lower thyroid hormones and blood sugar. Stinging nettle can also cause stomach upset and diarrhoea. It can also cause mastitis and breast engorgement.
Goat’s rue can also cause hypoglycemia, so women taking antidiabetic drugs need to be careful.
Garlic causes body odour, especially when taken in large quantities. It can also cause colic for the baby.
Brewer’s yeast could cause gas, bloating and headaches.
Uncooked spinach in salads can make mother and baby exposed to bacteria like listeria, E.coli and salmonella which can make mother ill and can be life-threatening to baby. The oxalic acid in raw spinach also binds to nutrients like iron, preventing their absorption by the body.
These are the best natural lactation supplements to increase milk supply that can be found around and used by breastfeeding mothers. Although researchers have been few on these supplements, users have testified to their effectiveness.
However, they should be used moderately to avoid the manifestation of side effects. Consult a lactation consultant or your physician if you are not getting the effects you need from these lactation supplements.