A galactagogue, or galactogogue, is a substance that promotes lactation in humans and other animals. It may be synthetic, plant-derived, or endogenous. They may be used to treat lactation difficulty and to increase milk supply. Some examples include anise seed, borage, blessed thistle, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, nigella, nettle, and vervain. When you are purchasing herbal supplements, make sure it comes from a trusted source to minimize contamination, and if you are taking other medication or dealing with medical conditions, always consult a qualified herbalist before starting any new supplementation.
Here are some common galactogogues, most of them also perform jobs that are beneficial to new moms:
Borage – it can also relieve anxiety and stress. The plant loses much of its medicinal qualities when dried, so use it fresh whenever possible.
Dill – it has colic and gas relieving properties.
Fennel – usually the seeds are used. It is also a digestive aid and can help relieve colic.
Fenugreek – has a very bitter flavor, so it has to be formulated with other herbs to make it palatable, or taken in pill form.
Nettle – it is a great tonic herbs with many nutrients, including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and chromium. It can also help relieve fluid retention, which affects some women because of fluctuations in hormone levels.
Brewer’s Yeast – often recommended as a nutritional supplement during breastfeeding. It can be taken to help increase breast milk supply, but it is also believed to combat fatigue and fight off the baby blues. Brewer’s yeast does pass to your baby through your breast milk, and it is generally well-tolerated. However, some infants may develop irritability and colic-like symptoms. If you or your child begin to suffer from loose bowels or other digestive issues, you should lower the amount of brewer’s yeast that you’re taking or stop taking it altogether.
Some other herbs, when used in quantity much larger than that in normal cooking, may reduce milk production. These include: chickweed, lemon balm, parsley, peppermint, sage, sorrel, spearmint, thyme, and yarrow.
It is basically a matter of trial and error to find what works for you. Sometimes nothing works and you may just have to supplement your feedings. Its nothing to be worried about. Millions of babies don’t get breast fed and are perfectly normal healthy babies and grow into healthy adults. I am a breastfeeding mumma but i do not believe it is the be all and end all. If you don’t want to then don’t. If you can’t, then so be it! We are all different and as women we have to support one another in the mummy journey which is tough sometimes! So if you are struggling, don’t stress. See if these remedies help at all and if they don’t improve things then just relax and breath and find a good formula!
Much love. xx