Herbs to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply - The Summarized Version


What are the main herbs for increasing milk production?  There are many to choose from, such as Nursing Tea Moringa Blend, Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend, Goat's Rue, Moringa Leaf, ShatavariBlessed Thistle and Fenugreek. How do I choose which is the right one for my situation?  How do I use them correctly for best results?

Nursing Tea Moringa Blend or Nursing Tincture Moringa BlendContains organic Fennel Seed, Moringa Leaf, Red Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa, Nettle & Chamomile.

  • Try this first.  It’s easy to use, gentle, effective, and easy on the tummy.  It actually helps to alleviate gas, colic, indigestion or reflux in mom or baby.
  • Moringa Leaf is one of the best herbs for increasing breastmilk production.  It is also a superfood that is used as a food source for many cultures around the world as it is so high in vitamins, minerals (including iron), protein, essential amino acids and antioxidants.  For more information on this amazing herb, click HERE.
  • Even mothers with twins use this and nothing else, and find they have plenty of breastmilk for both babies.
  • Great for use when your baby is newborn. It’s very easy on the newborn tummies and as mentioned, helps alleviate gas, colic, reflux or any tummy issue.
  • It can be used in conjunction with any other herb or product to increase milk production.  It helps to counteract any gas that Fenugreek may cause.
  • The Red Raspberry, Nettle and Alfalfa will also help with mom’s postpartum and uterine recovery after birth.

A tincture is a liquid extract made from herbs.  The Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend is made from the same combination of herbs as the tea, only in the liquid extract form (in a dropper bottle).  The tea and tincture are the same product – just two different ways of taking it.

This product is a great choice for women with newborn babies, or those with gas, colic, reflux, indigestion or any other tummy issue or sensitivity.

Dosage Suggestions:  Start with two (2) droppersful (squeezes) of the tincture or one cup of tea three times a day.  Results should be seen within 12-24 hours.  If the desired results are not achieved with this level, you may increase how often you take it (increase to 4 times a day, then 5 and so on, as needed) or increase the number of droppersful (squeezes) taken at a time.  There are no rules – its ok to do whatever you find works for you.  Some women find that taking two droppersful of the tincture (or a cup of the tea) each time they sit down to nurse or pump does the trick for them, and this is perfectly fine to do.  If too much of the herb is taken, over-fullness or engorgement may occur.  If so, simply reduce the amount of herb taken until the right balance is found for you.  Please note that although our herbs tend to work quickly, most lactation consultants suggest giving an herb (or herbal product) at least two weeks of use before switching to something else.  During this time, it is fine to experiment around with dosage amounts to see if that helps and makes a difference for you.  People's bodies and situations can all be very different, so go with what works for you.  (NOTE:  A 1oz tincture typically lasts 1 week, a 2oz bottle for 2 weeks, and a 4oz bottle for 4 weeks, depending on use.)  

Tea or tincture?  The tea counts towards your daily water intake and it’s pleasant tasting.  Teas tend to be relaxing also, as you need to take a little time to enjoy it.  For busy moms though, this might not be an easy or feasible option.  Many moms put tea on the stove to brew, get busy and then promptly forget about it.  Tinctures tend to be much more convenient.  Nothing needs to be made or brewed – you just take the drops and you’re done.  It’s convenient to carry in one’s purse and is portable.  If more frequent dosing needs to be done, it’s easier to take the drops than to drink several more cups of tea a day.  And you can do both – enjoy a cup of tea in the morning or at night before bed, and take the tincture drops during the day, when one tends to be busier.  Two droppersful (squeezes) of tincture equals one cup of tea.  Also, a large batch of tea can be made and kept in the refrigerator to sip on throughout the day.  Both herbal tea and tincture are good options – it comes down to lifestyle and personal preference.  Please see the articles on Tinctures, How to Make a Tea, and Storage of your Herbal Products for details. 

Moringa
Moringa, also known as Malunggay or the Miracle Tree, is a superfood used by many cultures around the world as a valuable food source due to its high nutrition levels.  Its well-known for its ability to increase breastmilk production in nursing mothers, and helps support good health in general for both mother and baby.  It can be used by pregnant women to provide nutrition, and should not pose a risk for starting breastmilk production prematurely.  (If it does for some reason, its advised to discontinue the herb so as to not risk the all-important colostrum period that occurs in immediate postpartum.)  The only thing of note with this herb is that it should NOT be used by women trying to conceive, as it may prevent implantation of the fertilized egg.  There are no other contraindications or interactions noted with this amazing herb. Click HERE for more information on Moringa and all of the ways it supports good health.  This herb is a great choice for women who may not be getting optimal nutrition or tend to be run-down or frequently ill, or whose babies may need additional nutritional support. Dosage suggestions are the same as for the Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend above.

Shatavari
This Ayurvedic herb is also well-known for its ability to increase breastmilk supply in nursing mothers.  It's known as "herbal Domperidone" and helps to get things flowing.  It helps to increase vital fluids in the body.  It's also well-known for being a valuable reproductive system herb for both men and women.  For women, it is the primary uterine tonic of the Ayurvedic system, supporting reproductive health and balance from menarche (the start of a woman's menstrual cycle) through menopause, helping to alleviate many common menopausal complaints.  It helps with fertility, as it nourishes the ovum and helps support reproductive fluids, and balances the pH of the vagina.  It would be a wonderful choice for nursing women working to keep their milk supply up while trying to conceive.  Vitex is also an excellent herb for helping to restore hormone balance in women and, although it can support breastmilk production, would not increase the amount of milk as much as Shatavari would.  For more information on Shatavari for women, which includes the other valuable benefits it has for the digestive system, respiratory system, brain and memory, and Shatavari for men's reproductive health, including supporting sperm count.  Dosage suggestions are the same as for the Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend above.  Shatavari is offered in the tincture form.

Goat’s Rue
Goat's Rue is another powerful herb for stimulating the production and flow of breastmilk. It has a direct effect on the mammary glands in the breasts themselves. It is a good choice for women who experience problems with their production from the beginning, for those who have had previous breast surgeries, or with hypoplasia or IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue).  It has been shown to increase milk production by up to 50% in many cases, and may also even stimulate the development of the mammary glands themselves.  It is an extremely effective herb for increasing breastmilk production.  In large amounts, Goat's Rue may lower blood sugar.  Those on strict insulin regimen should use with caution.  Dosage suggestions are the same as for the Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend above.

Blessed Thistle
Blessed Thistle is another very popular and effective herb used to increase breastmilk production. It is also known as "Our Lady's Milk Thistle". It increases breastmilk while helping to alleviate mild forms of postpartum depression. It is a bitter herb, which is healthful for the liver and digestion. Women who report that Fenugreek doesn’t work that well for them find that Blessed Thistle does the trick.  (This herb is not to be confused with Milk Thistle, which is a completely different herb used for the liver.)  Dosage suggestions are the same as for the Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend above.

Fenugreek
Fenugreek is one of the best and most popular herbs for increasing breastmilk production.  It has even been used successfully by adoptive mothers wishing to establish a breastmilk supply for their adopted baby.  It is imperative that Fenugreek be used with consistency and regularity for best results.  Inconsistent Fenugreek use can result in inconsistent or even decreased breastmilk production.  Detailed information on the reasons for this can be found HERE and in our comprehensive Premium Article on how to increase breastmilk production

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Avoid using products with Fenugreek as one of its many ingredients.  It’s nearly impossible to regulate how much Fenugreek is in each dose of a combination item, creating the potential for the product to either not work, to create further problem or complication with the milk supply, or for some women, to even decrease the supply altogether.  Using Fenugreek as a single item (nothing else added or included) is the best and most effective way to use this herb and get the best results.

Once a woman starts using Fenugreek, she does need to continue it and be consistent with it until she’s making the milk that she needs and has gotten the results she’s looking for.  Once the supply is adequate and stable, she can slowly wean down from it until she’s off.  Weaning down slowly should not affect her supply at all.  If it does, she can start the herb again and once she’s stable again, eliminate more slowly.  If she finds she needs to stay on Fenugreek to keep her supply abundant, it is perfectly fine to continue Fenugreek throughout the entire time she’s nursing.  Detailed instructions on how to wean down from Fenugreek can be seen here.

Fenugreek can cause gas or digestive disturbance in some individuals.  If this happens, using the Nursing Tea Moringa Blend or Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend, Tummy Tea or Tincture or Fennel tincture will help to counteract it while helping to support the breastmilk production at the same time.

Dosage suggestions:  Start with three capsules three times a day.  This is considered a very low dose for this particular herb.  With Herb Lore’s Fenugreek capsules or tincture (which are very fresh, organic and of a extremely high quality), you should see results within 12-24 hours.  If you do not see the desired results, you can increase the herb.  The amount that worked for me was 7 caps (or 7 droppersful) three times a day.  We’ve had clients use more, but that’s usually not necessary.  It is fine to do though, as long as you and your baby are not experiencing any gas or tummy issues.  If you start to over-produce, reduce the amount of herb until you find the right balance for you.  Remember, do not suddenly stop Fenugreek unless you absolutely have to (such as painful gas or unchecked diarrhea in mom or baby).  Please note: Insulin-dependent diabetics should use the herb with caution or not at all, as it may affect their blood sugar readings and insulin medication needs.  Fenugreek is a member of the legume family.  People with allergies or sensitivities to legumes should also avoid Fenugreek as a precaution.

Please see our article "Herbs to Avoid While Pregnant or Breastfeeding".

For information on other herbs used to increase breastmilk production (known as galactagogue herbs), please click HERE.


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How to Increase Your Breastmilk Production - The Expanded & In-Depth Version.    In this highly informative article, you will learn:

  • What affects milk production?
  • What are all of the different herbs, products or techniques used to increase production?
  • Why returning to work or starting baby on solids can decrease your supply and how to overcome that.
  • Why it can be common for women who’ve had a C-Section to have milk supply problems.
  • Should you use herbs to establish a milk supply even before you give birth?  Especially if you had a problem with supply with your first baby?
  • Is it ok to take antihistamines for allergies while you’re breastfeeding?  How will that affect my milk supply?
  • What herbs increase milk supply, but should be AVOIDED, and why.
  • My period has returned after giving birth and my PMS is worse than its ever been.  What can I take that will help with this and that’s ok to use while breastfeeding?
  • What you can do if one breast produces more than the other?  How can this be corrected?
  • Why don’t I get much milk when I pump, but my baby seems to be satisfied?
  • How to listen to and understand your baby’s cues.

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written by Pam Caldwell
Certified Herbalist --- Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum & Lactation Specialist

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