Galactagogues and Essential Oils for Boosting Milk Supply

A nursing mom’s dilemma: how can I produce more milk without being so engorged? Well at least that’s my dilemma. The answer is simple, galactagogues! I’m pretty sure some of you may ask, WHAT ON EARTH IS A GALACTAGOGUE?! A galactagogue is a medication or herb that stimulates an increases in milk supply. Many moms use galactagogues if their milk supply is not responding to skin-to-skin interactions, breast compression, frequent feeds and pumping. Before using a galactagogue please consult with your physician or lactation consultant to make sure it can be safely added to your diet.

These are the most common galactagogues, and are safe for lactating women to consume.

  • Fenugreek: The most popular herb for increasing milk production. Fenugreek is very strong and when taking in very large amounts, it can also be used to lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is not recommended to be used for diabetics or for those who follow very strict insulin regimens. Fenugreek is also not recommended to be used during pregnancy. Fenugreek comes in different forms, such as a capsule, in a tea bag, or as a tincture. If you have never tried fenugreek before, it kind of has maple syrup flavor & smell. Once it is ingested, your sweat glands and breastmilk may start to smell like maple syrup too!
  • Blessed Thistle: A galactagogue that is recommended to be used in conjunction with fenugreek. While it increases breastmilk production, it can also alleviate mild forms of post-partum depression. It is most commonly found as a tincture or as added ingredient in a Nursing Tea.
  • Goat’s Rue: Another powerful herb for stimulating breast milk production. It is safe to use during pregnancy, and it may also stimulate the development of mammary glands. It is used along with or to add in the ingredients of a nursing tea. It most cases, it has proven to increase milk production by 50%.
  • Alfalfa: An excellent herb for increasing breastmilk production while providing the body with plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. Alfalfa is very high in Vitamin K and is said to have many medicinal uses such as, reducing inflammation. Can be used in a tea form or as capsules. However, this herb is not recommended for those who use blood-thinning medication due to the very high levels of Vitamin K.
  • Fennel: Often used to induce milk release for those who are having difficulty with let-downs.  The fennel seed is said to increase milk production and aid in relieving symptoms of gas or upset stomach. Can be commonly found as a main ingredient in a Nursing tea or tincture.
  • Milk Thistle: Often confused with Blessed Thistle. This herb detoxifies and cleanses the liver, and has been recently shown to impede the progression and promotion of prostate, breast, and endocervical cells. It is believed that the plant’s estrogen could be the reason why some women report an increase in their milk supply while taking this herb. Milk thistle can be used in teas, capsules, or eaten as a food.
When I was nursing and exclusively pumping for a year, I’ve tried both a tea and a tincture. It was a little difficult for me to find fenugreek capsules. I’ve heard the tincture work the best and works faster, but, the taste can sometimes be too bitter. It was really hard to consume. Therefore, I like drinking the tea better. However, after a few months of drinking the tea once a day, or consuming one mL of a tincture 4 times a day, I have noticed that my milk production stopped increasing. As if it reached a plateau. Thus, I stopped using the products for a couple of months, and when I felt as if my milk supply was dropping then I would restart on the products again.

I have a post on tips for exclusively pumping moms, and have mentioned that I have taken tea and tincture in the past. I have used the following:

  • Fennel & Basil Essential Oils: These can be either applied topically near your armpits or take 1 drop with a tablespoon of honey per day. However, it can only been taking a week at a time. After a week, stop using it to see results. Wait a few more weeks before resuming. To me, this is the best and most potent way to consume fennel & basil. There’s only one ingredient in each one too.

 

I like making a roller blend combining these two with fractioned coconut or any carrier oil of your choice

Mama’s Milk Blend:

  • 5 drops of Basil
  • 5 drops of Fennel
  • 20 drops of Carrier Oil

To learn more about oils, visit Essentially Be Well. Also, I’m only recommending Young Living oils to be consumed like this.

  • Motherlove More Milk Plus:
    • Ingredients: fenugreek seed, blessed thistle herb, nettle herb, fennel seed, grain alcohol, deionized water, vegetable glycerin.
    • Directions of use: Take 1 ml, 4 times per day. Women over 175 lbs take 2 ml, 3 times per day. May be taken with 1-2 oz of liquid. Avoid additional liquids 15 minutes before and after each use.
    • Taste: A little sweet, but very bitter. I recommend having a “chaser” with it, such as, fruit or a cracker.
    • Color: Dark forest green
    • Price: $19.95
    • Overall Rating: This product worked instantly in increasing my milk production. The taste is so bitter, but I persisted in still using it because I wanted to keep boosting milk supply. After 3-4 months my milk supply did plateau because it was regulating, so I stopped using the product and reused it whenever I felt my milk was decreasing. I give this product 4 stars of out 5 because the taste was too strong and bitter for me. However, it does work effectively. After a week of use, along with drinking plenty of water and a balanced diet, I had noticed a significant increase in supply. On average, it helped increase 2 more ounces at each pumping session.
    • Not to be used during pregnancy.
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Tea Ingredients: Trigonella foenum-graecum (organic fenugreek) seed, Foeniculum vulgare (organic fennel) seed, Rubus idaeus (organic red raspberry) leaf, Urtica dioica (organic stinging nettle) leaf, Silybum marianum (organic milk thistle) seed, Citrus sinensis (organic orange) peel, Pempinella anisum (organic anise) seed, Carum carvi (organic caraway) seed, Medicago sativa (organic alfalfa) leaf
    • Directions of use: 
    • Taste: Sweet, a little like maple syrup. 
    • Color: After steeping, it is light brown.
    • Price: $6.19
    • Overall Rating: I would give this product a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The tea did help boost up my supply, however, it did not work as fast as the tincture mentioned above. I do like the taste and flavor, much more bearable to drink that the tincture. I liked that it was organic, and more affordable than the tincture. It can also be used to alleviate gas, bloating, indigestion, and IBS. Just like the tincture, I would only use it at times when my milk supply would decrease. I also drank this tea along with plenty of water and a proper balanced diet. Only thing I did not like about the tea is that it did not work as instantly as the tincture. On average, this tea helped produce 1-2 oz more at each pumping session. 
    • Not to be used during pregnancy.

Based on my experiences and opinion, these are the galactagogues that worked best for me. I have tried hops in beer, but did not work for me. Certain diets and food has also increased my supply, such as, oatmeal and flax seeds. The most important thing to remember when breastfeeding or pumping is to always stay hydrated. Usually, dehydration can be a cause of lack of milk supply.

Always consult a physician, lactation consultant, or an herbal specialist before taking any herbs especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Herbs can be harmful if they are not taken as directed and they may also interfere with other medications you may be taking.

Have any of you moms tried using galactagogues before? If so, what have you used and how well did it work? Comment below! Thank you so much for reading, and message me if you have any questions!

References:

  • Herb Lore: https://herblore.com/overviews/list-of-galactagogues-herbs-that-increase-breastmilk-production
  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health: http://www.fammed.wisc.edu/sites/default/files/webfm-uploads/documents/outreach/im/ss_galactogogues.pdf
  • La Leche League: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000001_BT_PDF/bt6-2014-27_web.pdf
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby: http://blog.earthmamaangelbaby.com/herbs-for-healthy-breast-milk-production/

*This post may contain affiliate links. Should you make a purchase after clicking on the link, The Memoirs of a Mommy will earn a very small commission. This does not affect any product pricing for you.

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