New Mom Guide: Info on Breastfeeding Herbs
From the article “Herbs and Healthy Lactation” by Marie Miczak, Mothering, Spring 1996. This list is to help you educate yourself on what’s out there, so you can ask your healthcare provider about them. Always have a healthcare provider overseeing changes when you take herbs, even “natural” ones, such as these breastfeeding herbs.
Fenugreek is the most famous breastfeeding herb, and when I took it I produced so much milk that I had to start pumping the extra. Also, remember – don’t cut calories right now – you need extra to produce milk and to not become depleted.
Red raspberry leaves (Rubus idaeus) – naturally rich in absorbable calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C.
Avoid: caffeine and herbal antihistamines including mahuang (Ephedra) and osha root.
Fennel seeds – known for its relaxing effects on a baby’s digestive system and its ability to help increase milk supply
hops – the same hops flowers used in beer can help you relax and stimulate milk production – drink nonalcoholic beer.
vitex (chaste berry) – enhances pituitary hormone prolactin, stimulating milk secretion.
blessed thistle, aniseeds, nettles, raspberry leaves, try these to help milk production.
catnip – for colic. taken in a tea form by a breastfeeding mother, catnip gently encourages the cramps in a baby’s intestines to subside. Avoid onions, garlic, broccoli, beans, chile, and perhaps dairy products for one week.
cup of rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) or wintergreen (Menthae piperitae folium) tea – can help with syptoms such as headaches, body aches, and cramping. if your baby has a fever, avoid mint teas.
Echinacea (echinacea angustifolia) – said to enhance immune system if you get a cold, try wild cherry bark as a safe cough expectorant.
herbal extracts of nettle and yellow dock root (Rumex species), as well as molasses – good for iron-deficiency anema, as they are non-constipating sources of absorbable iron, and have been shown to be effective in raising red blood cell count.
dandelion or chamomile tea – for mastitis or dry, cracked nipples. also try chamomile and/or echinacea root. increase intake of vitamin C. Also, poultice of warm cabbage leaves or thinly sliced raw potatoes can provide blessed relief. Get in touch with your healthcare practitioner as you might need antibiotics.