Fenugreek for Breastfeeding: Does It Help Increase Milk Supply?


Breastfeeding is a way to nourish and bond with your baby. But some mothers are concerned that they are not producing enough milk to meet their little one’s needs. When that happens, those mothers are often willing to do anything to solve the issue. One of the most common ways to promote a healthy breast milk supply is to consume galactagogues,1 or milk boosters, like fenugreek breastfeeding capsules.

How Does Fenugreek Help Increase Breast Milk?

Many galactagogues work2 by promoting the production of prolactin in a woman's body. Prolactin is a hormone that makes it easier for a woman to make breastmilk. Since ancient times, and especially in Asian countries, women have used fenugreek for this purpose. Fenugreek3 is a herbal galactagogue, meaning that it is a substance that can support breast milk production. Some women who ingest fenugreek seed for breastfeeding report fantastic improvements. Research continues4 on the efficacy of fenugreek as a breastmilk booster. 

breastfeeding

Should You Be Taking Fenugreek For Breastfeeding?

If you think your breast milk supply is low, fenugreek could be an option for you. Taking fenugreek pills, or herbal teas or drinks, for breastfeeding is often most effective in the early postpartum stages. But it is also possible to start taking fenugreek for milk production too early.  

If you hope to use fenugreek for milk supply, it is best for you to wait at least five days after delivery to do so, as this is generally the amount of time5 it takes for a mother’s breast milk to come in. It’s best to also consult a lactation expert before you turn to supplements. 

Benefits of Fenugreek

The primary benefit that most women seek is to use fenugreek to increase breast milk production. 

How does fenugreek work to promote a healthy breast milk supply? As we mentioned earlier, taking fenugreek seeds helps increase prolactin in your body. It may also stimulate your sweat glands.6 At first, it may seem that sweat gland stimulation would not help you with breastfeeding. However, mammary glands are “modified” sweat glands.7 So when you take a substance that stimulates sweat glands, it may stimulate your mammary glands as well.  

Along with this, there are a few other health benefits of fenugreek8 unrelated to breastfeeding, including: 

  • Regulation of blood sugar levels
  • Increased testosterone for men
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced inflammation

Ways of Taking Fenugreek for Healthy Breast Milk Supply

Generally, there are two popular methods for ingesting fenugreek:

  • Fenugreek tea
  • Fenugreek capsules

Fenugreek tea is very easy to make and has a subtle bitter-sweet flavor. All you need to do is steep one teaspoon of these seeds in hot water for around 15 minutes. You could drink this tea up to three times each day.

If you want faster results, fenugreek capsules may be your best bet.

While fenugreek tea and fenugreek capsules are some of the most common varieties, there are many other forms of fenugreek, including:

  • Fenugreek oil
  • Fenugreek leaves
  • Fenugreek powder

The option you choose is a matter of personal preference. With some of those products, you have the option to make your fenugreek a bit tastier. For instance, you can try baking your fenugreek powder into cookies or cakes. This can make your fenugreek dose a bit more enjoyable, especially if you find you don't like the taste of fenugreek tea. 

Are There Any Side Effects Of Taking Fenugreek For Lactation?

Breastfeeding mothers who are thinking about taking fenugreek as a milk booster might understandably be concerned about potential side effects. The following are some rare side effects,9 especially when taking fenugreek for an extended period (three years and more):  

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating

Rarely, individuals allergic to peanuts or chickpeas may experience allergic/asthma symptoms due to fenugreek. Reactions may include:  

  • Swelling
  • Congestion
  • Wheezing

Furthermore, medical experts10 suggest that those with hormonal imbalances related to thyroid issues should not take fenugreek. 

When it comes to taking fenugreek while on medications, it is always best to be extremely cautious when mixing multiple treatments and remedies. This is as true for fenugreek as any other supplement you can take. As always, consulting your doctor first is the only way to ensure that you are taking fenugreek safely.  

There is another side effect of fenugreek that is odd but benign. Many people report that taking fenugreek can alter your body odor. Often, this includes a maple syrup scent11 for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. This scent is somewhat strange but is not overwhelming. The presence of this smell can be a sign that the fenugreek is taking effect in your body.  

Finally, women who are pregnant should not take fenugreek.12 This is true even if they are breastfeeding an older child as well. The reason pregnant women should avoid fenugreek is that it can cause contractions.

Where Can I Buy Fenugreek For Breastfeeding?

If you are convinced that fenugreek is the way to improve your breastfeeding experience, first, talk to a medical professional or lactation expert to know if fenugreek is right for you. Once you’ve received their green light, you could consider a good fenugreek supplement. 

Milkflow Fenugreek Supplements by UpSpring

UpSpring offers a nature-inspired breastfeeding supplement line called Milkflow, to help promote healthy milk production. 

Milkflow Fenugreek + Blessed Thistle Capsules (100 count)

milkflow fenugreek and blessed thistle

Milkflow Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle capsules support breast milk production with a proprietary blend of herbs: fenugreek, blessed thistle, and anise. These capsules bring you the milk-boosting benefits of these herbs without the unpleasant taste of fenugreek tea. 

This concentrated formula delivers the equivalent of 1,800 mg of Fenugreek in each serving, meaning, you only need to take between one to three capsules a day to help support healthy breast milk production. What’s more, all the herbs that make up this blend are naturally sourced and non-GMO, and the capsules contain no added fillers. This supplement is also dairy- and soy-free. 

Milkflow Blessed Thistle Capsules (100 count) 

milkflow blessed thistle

The Milkflow Blessed Thistle capsules contain concentrated levels of Blessed Thistle – 1,000 mg per capsule to be exact. The capsules also contain a proprietary botanical blend to help digestive health for both mum and baby. All herbs that go into these capsules are naturally sourced and non-GMO. This supplement is suitable for vegetarians, gluten-free, and has no added fillers. 

You only need to take between one to three capsules daily to support healthy breast milk production. 

Whichever supplement you decide to take, you may see a difference within the first week of taking them (but please keep in mind that this time may vary from person to person, as metabolisms are different).  

Select the type of breast milk boosting supplement that works best for you by clicking here. 

 

References

  1. Galactagogues (substances claimed to increase supply). Australian Breastfeeding Association. Reviewed in January 2019. Retrieved on July 2, 2021 from https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/galactagogues-substances-claimed-increase-supply.
  2. Galactagogues (substances claimed to increase supply). Australian Breastfeeding Association. Last reviewed in January 2019. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 from https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/galactagogues-substances-claimed-increase-supply.
  3. Effectiveness of fenugreek as a galactagogue: A network meta-analysis. Phytotherapy Research. 2018. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29193352/.
  4. Fenugreek. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Last revision on February 15, 2021. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501779/.
  5. When will my milk come in? Kelly Bonyata. KellyMom. Updated March 1, 2018. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 from https://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/when-will-my-milk-come-in/
  6. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. Published in April 2018. Retrieved on July 7, 2021 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1658077X15301065#
  7. Mammary Glands. National Cancer Institute (NIH). Retrieved on July 7, 2021 from https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/reproductive/female/glands.html
  8. Fenugreek: An Herb with Impressive Health Benefits. Healthline. Published on June 13, 2019. Retrieved on July 7, 2021 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fenugreek
  9. Fenugreek. WebMD. Retrieved on July 7, 2021 from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-733/fenugreek
  10. Is fenugreek good for you? Medical News Today. Published on January 31, 2019. Retrieved on July 7, 2021 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324334
  11. Fenugreek and Sotalone. McGill Office for Science and Society. Published on March 20, 2017. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/controversial-science-diets-environment-food-health-history-news-supplements-toxicity/fenugreek-and-sotalone
  12. The Health Benefits of Fenugreek. Very Well Family. Published on April 20, 2020. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 from https://www.verywellfamily.com/fenugreek-breastfeeding-and-increasing-breast-milk-431839