Lactation supplements are undeniably a staple in every breastfeeding mother’s pantry. Tons of mothers need help in choosing and knowing which lactation supplement will work best for them. So if you are a new mother who needs help with your milk supply. A mother who continues to worry about milk supply. Or just simply exploring and wants to try some new lactation supplements, we are here to help you.
What are lactation supplements?
Lactation supplements are mostly in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, teas, and drinks. Those aid mothers in establishing a good supply of milk. It does not only help in good milk production. But also in ensuring that breast milk is added with vital nutrients and vitamins essential for your precious little ones.
Galactagogues promote or increase the flow of a mother’s milk. Galactagogues or lactation supplements fall into two broad categories – pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals. We will be talking more about the non-pharmaceuticals ones and take a bit of track on pharmaceutical pills.
Main Ingredients of a Lactation Supplements (Galactagogue List)
For added knowledge, here is a comprehensive list of the most common ingredients used in lactation supplements:
either in form of Fenugreek seeds or extract. This well-known and highly effective herb has been widely used in supplements to increase breast milk supply. Fenugreek s a galactagogue and a very important constituent of many herbal remedies.
herbal formulations use this herb. Which acts as a diuretic, cure loss of appetite and indigestion. It also stimulates the body to produce more breast milk in breastfeeding mothers.
are one of the popular supplements to increase milk supply. It is also very good for digestion and flatulence. If a breastfed baby has a flatulence and colic troubles, a mother should consume fennel seed. Or supplements with fennel seeds.
many lactation pills use milk thistle. This galactagogue helps a lot in increasing milk production.
also known as common nettle, is believed to boost breast milk supply. Due to its high iron content, it is given to mothers just after the childbirth. Apart from used in breastfeeding supplements to increase milk supply.
though DHA does not help in aiding milk supply, it improves the quality of milk. DHA is very vital to infant development.
in increasing lactation, goat’s rue has been used in many supplements.
Considerations to be taken when choosing a lactation supplement
Talk to your doctor about it
this is a very important thing to do when deciding which supplement to use. You may seek for your doctor’s advice or simply show him the supplement that you are planning to take. So that he can determine whether it is safe for you. Your doctor can do this by reviewing your medical records and history. And identify any ingredients that you should stay away from because of possible allergic reaction or other drug interactions.
money is a very significant aspect and we all know that. It is always nice to save money. But mothers just always have to make sure that they get to buy only the best for their babies’ health. Yet you also have to know that there are good supplements at a much lesser price. You just have to look for the one which will work best for you.
Keep an eye out for the ingredients
before starting on a supplement. Or if your doctor has already given you a go signal on a particular supplement. You might want to research on the different ingredients. It is always nice to know which ingredient will be the best fit for your specific conditions and needs.
How many and what type
Some mothers love to take multiple daily supplements to help with their supply. But it may be best to start with one. And see how much that helps before you add an armload of pills to your daily regimen. Other moms are also not that comfortable with taking pills so they opt for the drinkable ones. Choosing how many and which type is all up to you. You need to be comfortable with the supplement you will be taking.
Best Lactation Supplements (Non-pharmaceutical)
A brilliant quick fact about this supplement is that it is formulated by a mother who is also a naturopathic doctor. The New Chapter supplement is a postnatal vitamin and lactation aid rolled into one. This offers a multiple in one formula. Which in addition to a multivitamin, you will also be getting multiple herbs. Such as lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, and multiple minerals.
Many moms have claimed that they have tried taking this supplement on an empty stomach. And experienced no problems or tummy aches after. This supplement also contains fermented probiotics. Which are very helpful in fighting upset stomachs. Which some moms experience when taking lactation supplements. Mothers who prefer high-quality ingredients in their supplements should appreciate and like this. Since the brand is formulated with organic ingredients that are non-GMO.
If you find that you may want to improve your milk’s taste so that your babies will love it more, you might want to use this supplement. The blend of herbs in this lactation supplement includes some that can actually sweeten the taste of your breast milk. That may appeal to some babies. If they start to savor the flavor, they may begin nursing more, which can also boost your milk supply.
Pink Stork True Milk breastfeeding support uses organic herbs. So you can be confident about what you are trying to do for your milk and also your baby’s nutrition. Multiple herbs make up this supplement. Which may work well for mothers with severely impacted breast milk production. Or for those who have been trying single herb supplements and gained no luck. The herbs in this supplement include fenugreek seed powder, blessed thistle powder, milk thistle extract. Also, anise seed powder, fennel seed powder and goats rue powder.
To those moms who experience trouble in swallowing tablets or capsules, you might appreciate that this WishGarden supplement comes in drops that you put on your tongue. This supplement is non-GMO and gluten-free. The formula of this supplement contains no sugar and stimulants which is good for both you and your baby.
Some mothers may not like the taste of this supplement when taken as drops. But no worries since you can mix it with your favorite juice drink or water and take it that way. Only wild-harvest, organic ingredients, like raspberry leaf and fenugreek, are used to make this supplement. The company is also committed to the sustainability of its resources, so eco-friendly moms should approve of this formula.
This supplement is more of a simple one since it contains only two ingredients – organic fenugreek and vegetarian capsule. This is a cheaper option for mothers who are on a budget. Mothers who are also worried and not used to a long list of additives will love this.
For new mothers who want to take few herbs as possible to see which one will work best for them. This is a good choice. Fenugreek is one of the main lactation herbs to get results for moms, although it doesn’t work for everyone. Because it does have such a good reputation, however, it’s a good place to start when you are first exploring your lactation issues.
This Mommy Knows Best supplement contains two hers- fenugreek seed and blessed thistle powder. Mothers who avoid using too much or too many active ingredients to improve their milk supply will surely love the simplicity of the contents of this supplement. The capsules are vegetarian, which is good for moms who are trying to keep their value-system going while still giving their baby all the nutrition they need.
Some mothers may consider taking up to six capsules a day of this supplement as a downside. Also, you should this with food to help ensure that it will not upset your stomach. This blend is manufactured in the U.S. Moms who like to watch their intake of potentially harmful substances will like that these don’t use artificial colors or flavors.
Mothers love this lactation supplement since it is formulated not only to enhance breast milk quantity but the nutritive quality as well. Gaia lactation blend boosts lactation and may enhance the nutrients in breast milk by providing bioflavonoids, polypeptides, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Tons of mothers claim that this supplement has high potency and it works so well. This supplement is 100% vegan and organic, plus these liquid capsules digest very easily, therefore, avoiding an upset stomach.
Dr. Christopher’s Lactation FormulaThis fast and effective special lactation formula is made specifically with 11 herbs which are proven and tested to aid in milk production. For mothers who love to try out as many herbs as possible. Or those moms who found out that just one herb is not that effective then Dr. Christopher’s formula will be great for them. Since this contains more herbs than most supplements out on the market. Mothers claim for this supplement to be a very effective one. This lactation support is also made to be a calming formula which contains nutritional needs to effectively nourish both mother and child.
For so long, fenugreek seeds have already been used for its potency in improving milk quality and production, and it is the main ingredient of this lactation supplement. Nature’s Way Fenugreek Seed has been proven to be totally effective in helping mothers who have milk supply struggles. This supplement quickly increases milk supply in a safe way.
Nature’s Way Fenugreek Seed is a very affordable and effective supplement. Fenugreek is indeed helpful in improving low milk supply. How to increase breast milk with Nature’s way lactation capsules? You can take up to four pills per day. Apart from increase milk supply, you may also notice improved digestion with no upset stomach.
The active ingredients included in this lactation supplement are fenugreek, fennel, shatavari, thistle and marshmallow root blend. This organic blend requires for you to take only two capsules per day, so it is very easy to remember, and not so much pill to take in. The ingredients are also all non-GMO and allergen free. The formulation is said to have been made in consultation with both doctors and lactation consultants.
If you are not the pill or capsule swallowing type of mother, then you might want to go with a drinkable supplement. UpSpring Milkflow lactation supplement contains fenugreek, anise, and blessed thistle and comes in berry flavor. With this lactation regimen, you may start only with one packet a day and observe any changes and improvement. If ever you feel like there is a need for more intake, this supplement is safe to be taken up to three packets per day. There are no artificial ingredients in this formula at all.
This yummy supplement also contains beetroot and seed. And because this is a drink that is added with water, you’ll be able to get the extra hydration which is very important in boosting your milk supply. If you want a fruitier taste, you can mix it with your favorite juice drink instead of water. It’s a good pick for vegans and people who can’t have gluten.
Just like the UpSpring ones, this Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea is also best for mothers who are not fans of taking tons of pills or tablets. Considered to be the best lactation tea is The Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea.
This herbal tea has been traditionally used to help mothers support their breast milk product through healthy lactation. Created by traditional herbalists, it contains the highest quality herbs like fennel, anise, coriander, blessed thistle, and fenugreek. Every ingredient is organically certified, non-GMO verified and Kosher certified. Due to the presence of anise, it gives the tea a sweet, licorice-like taste. If you are not a fan of the licorice taste, we find that adding honey or brown sugar will help. Many mothers worlwide trust this lactation tea.
Pharmaceutical/Prescription Lactation Drugs
source: Medications and Mothers’ Milk by Thomas Hale, PhD (2017 edition)
Domperidone (Motilium, Motilidone)
Metoclopramide (Maxolon, Reglan)
Sulpiride (Dolmatil, Sulparex, Sulpitil, Eglonyl, Equemote)
When to take lactation supplements
Lots of new mothers think that they have a problem with their milk production, but they don’t. Maybe it’s just because they haven’t known they’re pregnant or post-pregnant very well, so it is important to know and get familiar with your own body.
You can start taking lactation supplements after labor — don’t begin before you have the baby. Some evidence suggests some supplements, like fenugreek, could potentially induce labor. You definitely should take your pregnancy conditions as the priority and you would not want to trigger labor before your baby’s time to come out to the world.
So, the best time to take your lactation supplements is during your breastfeeding journey, when you have finally gotten comfortable with your body and became familiar with the supply and demand of your precious breast milk.
Possible causes of low milk supply
source: Tina Louise Buie – Lactation consultant
Insufficient Glandular Tissue
Although very rare, some women’s breasts don’t develop normally and may not have enough “milk-making” ducts to meet their baby’s needs. Ducts do grow during each pregnancy and breastfeeding stimulates the growth of more ducts and tissue, so this may be less of a problem with a second or third baby. There are certain steps you can take to maximize your milk production but you may also need to supplement with formula. It’s worth the effort to continuing breastfeeding, though, as even a small amount of your milk will help support your baby’s immune system, brain development, and nutritional needs.
Hormone or Endocrine problems
Perhaps you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a low or high thyroid, diabetes, hypertension or hormonal problems that made it difficult for you to conceive. Any of these issues may also contribute to low milk production because making milk relies on the hormonal signals being sent to the breasts. What can you do? In some cases, treatment of your health problem will help you to boost milk production, although supplementation may be needed. A visit to a breastfeeding clinic or Lactation Consultant can help you find an approach that will work with your specific condition.
Previous Breast Surgery
Breast surgeries can be done for both medical and cosmetic reasons. Breast reductions or enhancements, for example, are increasingly common. Nipple piercings can also be considered a kind of breast surgery and may damage milk ducts in the nipple. How much these surgeries affect breastfeeding varies widely, depending on how the procedure was done, how much time has passed between the surgery and the birth of the baby and whether there were any complications that might have caused scarring or damage to the breasts. Some women, especially those with breast enhancements rather than reductions, may be able to exclusively breastfeed without any difficulty. Others will need extra help and may have to supplement.
Using Hormonal Birth Control
Many Mothers who breastfeed and take birth control pills find their milk production doesn’t change, but for some, any form of hormonal birth control (the pill, patch or injections) can cause a significant drop in their milk. This is more likely to happen if you start using these contraceptives before your baby is four months old, but it can happen later as well. The first step to increasing your milk supply again is to stop the medication, but talk to your doctor before you do and be prepared to change birth control methods.
Taking certain Medications or Herbs
Pseudoephedrine, methergine, bromocriptine or large amounts of sage, parsley or peppermint can affect your milk. If you find your supply has dropped, and realize you have taken one of the medications listed here, ask your doctor about an alternative treatment for your cold or health ailment. Increased breastfeeding and possibly pumping will help you build up your milk production again.
Sucking Difficulties or Anatomical Issues in Baby
The problem may lie with your little one; it may be difficult for him to get the milk from your breasts. He may, for example, have a tongue-tie. That means the thin membrane of tissue at the bottom of his mouth is holding the baby’s tongue too tightly so that he’s not able to use it properly to extract the milk. (A baby doesn’t really suck the milk out of your breast, he uses his tongue to help compress the breast and push the milk into his mouth.)
In many cases, this is fairly easy to see, but for some babies, the restricting membrane is at the back of the tongue and harder to identify. Check to see if your baby is able to stick his tongue out (over his bottom lip) and that he touches it to the roof of his mouth when crying. If your baby is tongue-tied, the membrane can be clipped by a doctor and the baby’s ability to breastfeed will improve quickly. Other problems can also cause sucking difficulties (such as cleft lip and cleft palate), so if you suspect your baby isn’t feeding well, check with an expert or your doctor.
Not Feeding at Night
There are many books and programs that offer sleep-training methods to get babies to sleep longer at night without waking for feedings. While these techniques can work for some families, the loss of those night feedings can mean problems with weight gain for some babies. Why? Mothers vary a lot in how much milk they are able to store in their breasts between feedings. With no feedings overnight, their milk supply starts to drop. The level of prolactin (the hormone that signals the breasts to make milk) is also higher during night feedings, so the lowered overall prolactin can also contribute to a drop in milk. It’s hard to resist the lure of more sleep, but for many mothers, those nightly feedings are essential to keep milk production high. If you have started sleep training and find your milk supply going down, consider reintroducing one or two-night feedings.
Scheduling Feedings and/or using a Pacifier between Feedings
Your breasts make milk continuously, but the rate at which milk is made depends on how empty they are. You’ll make more milk when your breasts are close to empty and less milk when they are already filled up. When your baby is feeding infrequently, because you have put him on a three- or four-hour schedule for example, or because you are giving him a pacifier to stretch out the time between feedings, your breasts are fuller for longer periods of time. That means milk production slows down. When babies are breastfed in response to their cues, they tend to have shorter, frequent feedings and this means the breasts are emptier most of the time and so they continue to produce plenty of milk. One feeding cue while breastfeeding is sucking.
Birth Medications or Jaundice
Mothers don’t always realize that medications used in labor, such as epidural anesthetic or Demerol, can affect the baby’s ability to latch on and breastfeed effectively. Some studies show these effects last as long as a month, depending on the medication used in the epidural and the length of time the mother received it. Jaundice, a common condition in newborns, can also make your baby sleepier than usual so that he doesn’t wake up to nurse as often as he would otherwise. In both cases, you may need to pump your milk to build up a good supply. Once your baby has cleared the medications from his system and jaundice has been treated, he will probably begin nursing well and you’ll be able to reduce and eventually stop pumping.
Baby Formula Supplementation
Especially in the first couple of weeks, supplementing with formula tricks your breasts into producing less milk. “In the early weeks, the breasts’ capacity for milk production is calibrated in response to the amount of milk that is removed,” says lactation consultant Diana West. “If less milk is removed, the breasts assume that less milk is needed, so the capacity is set at a lower point.” Your baby naturally eats less at the breast when given formula milk. And the breasts respond by making less milk. If supplementation is necessary, pumping as well as breastfeeding can help to promote a higher volume of milk production.
Important: If your baby is showing signs of not getting enough milk please see your Lactation Consultant. Or other breastfeeding experts who can help you figure out and treat the cause of your low milk supply.