MILK-MAKING FOODS (GALACTOGOGUES)

Cup of tea

A natural galactogogue is a food or herb that is believed to aid in or increase the production of breastmilk.

Many mothers incorporate these items into their diets via oats cookies, oats porridge, non-alcoholic beer, ginger beer, fenugreek and brewers yeast tablets from the health shop and a variety of teas.

Lactating mothers that consume these galactogogues, confirm that they aid them in milk production. Doctors also suggest these foods to mothers who want to follow a more natural route of increasing their supply, rather than prescription medication.

It is important to note that while galactogogues could possibly help, the most effective and only certain way of increasing your supply is emptying your breasts more often. Breastmilk is produced on supply and demand, upping the demand will thus increase the supply.

If you do think you have issues with low milk supply, it is important to a) first establish if your supply is truly low by checking baby's nappy output and weight gain and then b) ensure that there is not an underlying issue that prevents baby from effectively emptying your breasts often, such as timed feedings (not nursing on demand), a tongue-tie, lip-tie or underdeveloped suck reflex.

Speaking to a lactation consultant or joining La Leche League SA on FB and asking a Leader for assistance, will help you determine the above.

Here follows the list of natural galactogogues;

  • Alfalfa
  • Anise Seeds
  • Barley
  • Basil Oil
  • Blessed thistle
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Caraway seeds
  • Chai Seeds
  • Dill
  • Fennel Seeds / Oil
  • Fenugreek
  • Flax Seeds / Flour / Oil
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Goat's Rue Herb
  • Hops
  • Lettuce
  • Moringa Herb
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Red Raspberry Leaf
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Shatavari Herb

Many mothers incorporate these items into their diets via oats cookies, oats porridge, non-alcoholic beer, ginger beer, fenugreek and brewers yeast tablets from the health shop and a variety of teas.

While these items foods are natural, it is important to check with your healthcare provider before drinking or eating them, as they may have adverse effects on your health if you have any underlying conditions e.g. diabetes.

Other popular lactation aids that moms are advised to take include "Jungle Juice" which has no scientific evidence of boosting milk supply and merely work on the placebo effect. It is also high in sugar and can lead to Thrush (I drank it and it did indeed give me Thrush).

Doctors are also fond of prescribing moms medications such as Eglonyl and Espiride off script. They are schedule 5 neuroleptic anti-psychotic drugs with the side effect of increasing prolactin levels and milk production, when taken in small dosages during the early days of breastfeeding. It is important to wean yourself off it slowly and is mostly popular with doctors in South Africa.

In my experience, these pills are handed out left and right like candies to mothers, not being informed about the very serious negative and / or adverse effects it can have on their physical and mental health. (Once again, I did take it and I did experience severe adverse effects to my physical and mental health)

On a lighter note, many adoptive mothers and mothers wanting to re-lactate take natural galactogogues in combination with other medications to start or restart their lactation and breastfeeding journey. Even if you have weaned your baby early e.g. day 3 or week 6, you can still decide to breastfeed at 10 months and re-lactate to do so.

Additional Information:

https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/herbs/herbal_galactagogue/