As a first time mom, I had (and still have) so many reasonable and unreasonable concerns about my milk supply. I’ve read tons of books, consulted with a lactation consultant and spoken to many other experienced mothers who have breastfeed. I’ve made lactation cookies, Boobie Body smoothies and taken tinctures of the ill-tasting shatavari (I’ll get more into that later!) all for the sake of boosting my milk supply.
And honestly, although many are skeptical, I am totally on board with using herbs to up my supply. I have 100 percent seen a difference in my supply, which has allowed me to sneak off to a hot yoga class and a “quick” (emphasis on quick) Target run sans baby.
So what herbs and supplements have I tried so far?
Let’s start with the word: galactagogue. Galacta is derived from the Greek word meaning milk. Galactagogue refers to any herb that increases the production of breast milk. There are a ton of alleged “milk-boosting galactagogues” out there, but here are four that have personally helped increase my milk production.
Fennel seeds are super popular for breastfeeding mothers as they increase the level of a woman’s estrogen. Many lactation cookie recipes call for a heaping of these.
Super effective, but if you add too much of this to your lactation cookies, you will SURELY taste it. It comes in various formats but I prefer the powder. It is actually used to make beer as well as increasing a mama’s milk supply. Brewer’s yeast is known to be high in nutrition as it contains protein, iron, and B vitamins, per Majka.
Many lactation consultants recommend this herb as it increases the amount of milk that is produced in a woman’s breasts. Fenugreek is also rich in many vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin A and vitamin C. I snuck these into some lactation bites and didn’t even notice a difference in taste at all.
This herb is native to Ayurvedic medicine and is known to support breast milk production, along with the female hormone system and reproduction system, per Motherslove. You can find Shatavari in tincture form or as a pill, but I must warn you, tincture form will not please your tastebuds! It tastes plain AWFUL. I highly recommend taking it in juice or with a spoonful of honey if you wish to take it by tincture. You’ll thank me later.
Aside from the four galactagogues that I have mentioned, there are a handful of others including moringa, milk thistle, goats rue, and the like.
Laura Sarantinoudis-Jones, BS, IBCLC, advises, “Some moms can see an increase within a couple of days, some within a few weeks or not at all. Consistency is key when it comes to taking galactogogues as well as keeping your breasts drained. Please discuss with your doctor or lactation consultant before use!”
If you are looking to boost your milk supply so you can have an hour wandering the grocery store aimlessly (guilty!) while your husband watches your little one, then give one of these a try!
*Consult your doctor before taking any of these galactagogues.