Breastfeeding is associated with a number of health benefits in babies, like a robust immune system and enhanced cognitive development. For this reason, expert organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend breastfeeding for a minimum of six months.
If you have chosen to breastfeed, you may be concerned about the amount of milk that you are producing. This could be either because you have a particularly hungry baby or are looking to pump and then store your milk.
As breastmilk works through supply and demand, the best way to boost production is to nurse more often. However, several other factors could also impact milk production. For instance, moms who are busy, stressed, or poorly hydrated may not produce more milk even when the baby demands it.
Hormonal fluctuations experienced as the body recovers from giving birth can also play a role in a decreased supply of milk. As can resuming taking birth control pills while still nursing. Some may find that their milk supply just naturally starts to slow down before they are ready.
Pumping moms face different challenges. Even the best of breast pumps don’t drain the breast as effectively as a baby can. This can result in the body not triggering the creation of more milk.
One simple but effective method of naturally boosting milk production is to take supplements. The very best lactation supplements contain ingredients known as “galactagogues” or “lactagogues.” These are herbs and other foodstuffs that have been used for this purpose for hundreds of years and in different cultures across the world.
Galactagogues work by either mimicking the hormones in the body that stimulate breast milk production or by providing the body with the right kind of nutrients it needs to enhance its milk supply.
A few of the most commonly used herbs are fenugreek, blessed thistle, fennel, anise, and coriander. Out of these, the first two are the most popular and are found in many lactation herbal supplements.
Fenugreek has traditionally been the number one choice for increasing milk supply. Native to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia, the seeds smell and taste very similar to maple syrup.
Fenugreek can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. Then, once an adequate level of milk production is reached, most women can discontinue the fenugreek and maintain the milk supply with proper breast stimulation.
Blessed thistle is another common herb used for boosting milk production. It is native to the Mediterranean and additionally has various medical applications such as treating loss of appetite and fever.
This ingredient is often given in either tea or capsule form, and many mothers report an increase in breast milk after using it for only a few days. When combined with fenugreek, results have been found to be even more considerable.
Lactation support foods can be found in a range of different forms, including cookies, bars, teas, and chews, and also in many supplement tablets and capsules. With the latter, it’s easier to follow dosage guidelines. Supplements should be taken with food and plenty of fluids.
Some kinds of supplements include multivitamins and minerals in specific quantities as part of their formula to further support breastfeeding moms and their babies. This helps to ensure proper nutrition as well as healthy lactation.
While supplements can be excellent for supporting lactation, experts do recommend that new mothers wait a period of time to allow their bodies the opportunity to adjust to the changes it has undergone.
Mature milk production doesn’t usually occur until 30 to 40 hours after delivering the placenta, sometimes longer in the case of a c-section. For this reason, it’s best to wait at least five days after delivery before commencing a course.
There are currently a wide variety of nursing aids on offer, differing in the ingredients’ type and strength. Here are some of the best lactation supplements we have found to increase breastmilk supply:
Cara Loren Nursing Support by Bucked Up
Containing no less than seven powerful ingredients that have all been linked to boosting milk production, including both fenugreek and blessed milk thistle, this top-to-bottom lactation supplement offers moms great results.
The all-natural formula capsules also incorporate anise seed, cumin, coriander lemongrass, and dill seed to support effective nutrition in babies. The tablets contain sufficient amounts of the active ingredients so that results will be seen almost instantly.
Milkies Nursing Blend Breastfeeding Supplement by Fairhaven Health
Milkies Nursing Blend has been specially formulated to not only increase milk supply but also to provide optimal postnatal vitamin and mineral support. The lactation support supplements contain an effective amount of key galactagogues, including fenugreek, fennel seed, and coriander seed.
In addition to that, the capsules also include key amounts of nutrients crucial for developing babies such as Vitamin D, B6, B12, and folic acid. Developed by doctors and nutritionists, this is an excellent supplement for mother and baby alike. The addition of zinc helps to ensure optimal growth and development.
Lactation Formula by Christopher’s Original Formulas
With a synergistic blend of eleven of the best herbs around for nursing mothers, these Lactation Formula capsules have been explicitly created to assist in enhancing milk flow while breastfeeding and offer speedy results.
The unique formula used in these plant-based capsules considers both mother’s and baby’s nutritional needs during this special time. They contain both fenugreek and blessed thistle alongside fennel seed, anise seed, marshmallow root, dandelion leaf nettle leaf, hops flower, chaste tree berry, mullein leaf, and Jurassic green.
All in all, lactation support supplements are a useful and straightforward way of increasing milk supply for mothers who find that they either need to produce more than they currently are or find their supply diminishing for various reasons.
While many different herbs and foodstuffs are used, some, such as are fenugreek and blessed thistle, are considered to be more effective than others. These are the typical ingredients of the very best lactation supplements around, including the ones mentioned here.
Donna Murray, R. (n.d.). 10 Breastfeeding Herbs to Boost a Low Breast Milk Supply. Retrieved August 09, 2020, from https://www.verywellfamily.com/herbs-to-increase-breast-milk-supply-431855
Exclusive breastfeeding for six months best for babies everywhere. (2011, January 16). Retrieved August 09, 2020, from https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2011/breastfeeding_20110115/en/