Breastfeeding and Your Health – Natural Supplements to Help With Lactation
There was a time when breastfeeding was the only way to go and for this reason there are loads of natural ways and breastfeeding supplements that you can take in order to keep your milk production on par. Of course, there is now formula for babies that mom’s don’t make enough milk. Before that there were wet nurses. However, many women feel that they want to be the ones to be able to feed their babies.
Granted, today, there is a very different mentality towards breastfeeding and the masses seem to be very evenly divided and decided. Either you are pro breastfeeding or you are against it. For this reason, today, making the decision to breastfeed your baby is a very personal decision that is not entered into lightly.
Additionally, there are a number of reasons why a woman may want to stimulate milk production, and needs an alternative way to do so. What it boils down to is that if you want to produce milk, there are a number of ways that you can encourage your body to do so.
The first step in the journey is understanding the scope of breastfeeding and how it can help. If you are on the fence, you may find that there are a number of beneficial reasons why you should be doing so.
Benefits For Baby
The medical professionals will tell you that the benefits for the baby and numerous and that you will be unable to attain these benefits any other way. Not only is breast milk quite literally the perfect blend of minerals, vitamins and fats for the baby but the form in which it is provided is the most easily digestible way for these essential nutrients to get to the baby. Breastfeeding has been associated with higher IQs, and is thought to allow the baby to grow rather than just gain weight. It is also believed that if a baby has been strictly breastfed during the first six months of life there is a less likely chance of developing, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer but research in that regard is continuing.
Breastfeeding has been proven to lower the instances of:
- Ear infections
- Respiratory illness
- Trips to the doctor
Benefits for Mom
The benefits of breastfeeding do not just apply to baby and can numerous for mom as well. Research has shown that breastfeeding actually burns calories and a faster rate, allowing the loss of the “baby weight” to happen more organically. The act of breastfeeding causes the body to release the hormone oxytocin which assists your uterus in returning to its pre baby shape and size and has also been shown to shorten the bleeding time after the birth of baby. It also allows for more skin to skin contact with baby creating a bond and allows for some “natural” down time for you while caring for baby.
Along with these amazing benefits to mom, breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the risk of:
- Breast Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
Not Just for Baby
Perhaps one of the reasons that breastfeeding has taken a turn in the social eye is its sexual associations. While not for all ANR or Adult Nursing Relationships and ABF Adult Breastfeeding Relationships have become more and more popular. Not just because of the sexuality of it but also for medical and emotion reasons. For many the act of nursing is strictly sexual in nature but for most in these types of relationships there is a medical undertone. Whether there is a need for the nurturing and mothering aspects to be passed on to the person nursing or there is a basic medical reason such a high blood pressure, these relationships are very essential to some people.
Benefits for The Woman
Adult nursing relationships create similar benefits for the lactating woman as it does for a new mom that is lactating. Just as it affects a new mom, the act of breastfeeding causes a faster more organic calorie burn allowing weight loss. It has also been proven to lower the blood pressure and create a state of relaxation most can only achieve through meditation.
Are there Medical Concerns when Breastfeeding?
Some women will wonder the medical concerns about breastfeeding because as the trend has changed in America, there are some pretty crazy ideas about how breastfeeding can be bad for you. In cases breastfeeding is not the healthiest of options, your doctor will talk to you about alternatives. It is good to keep in mind though, if you do have reasons in which you can’t breastfeed not healthy for the baby and/or nursing partner.
Things that can be transmitted through breastmilk:
- Active/untreated tuberculosis
- Many Prescription Drugs – Specifically drugs related to
If you are expecting a baby and seeing an OBGYN or thinking of inducing lactation for the purposes of an ANR or ABF you should consult your doctor regarding all medications you are currently taking and their possible transfer to your baby or nursing partner.
How to Assist Your Body With Lactation
While lactation is a completely natural bodily function in some cases it does not come so naturally. When your body is put in a situation where it cannot produce, you will not get the output of milk that you need.
For this reason, it is important to remember what can interrupt milk flow, and then what to do about increasing milk production. Take a look at the list below and check off any possible milk reducing triggers that you may face. Then we will look at some breastfeeding supplements that you can include in your diet, so that you are able to keep that milk flowing.
Common Causes of Lack of Milk Production
- Not Enough Suckling Stimulation
- Being Separated from Baby
- Returning to Work
- Change in Feeding schedule
- Use of Pacifiers
- Medical Conditions – affecting either mom or baby
- Previous Breast Surgery – Augmentation or Reduction
- Cesarian Birth
- Taking Combination Birth Control Pills
For women attempting to induce lactation it can be even harder, especially if they have never lactated previously. However, it is still possible, the female body was specifically made to produce milk and sometimes it is easy to get that milk flowing. Some things that can assist with the body’s milk production are:
Things that can Help your Milk Production
- Take care of yourself
- Eat and drink better
- Offer both breasts during feeding times
- Massaging while nursing
- Pumping between nursing
Supply and Demand
Supply and demand does not just apply to our financial world, in the world of breastfeeding it is literally paramount. The more demand that is made the more milk will be produced. So whether you are nursing a newborn or an adult nursing partner, pumping and massaging between actual nursing sessions will make for more milk supply.
When you find that you have a difficult time with producing milk, breastfeeding supplements are always an option. Because what you take in your body can affect a baby, always discuss any plans before you incorporate one of the following in your diet.
Take a look at the following breastfeeding supplements and see which can help you with your specific issues that you are having or anticipate having with lactation.
Note: As with all supplements, consult your doctor for proper dosages specific to your health issues and current prescription list.
The annual plan Fenugreek is from the Fabaceae family. It has long been used as a galactogogue, or milk stimulant. The seed of the Fenugreek plant is ground and used in capsule form or tea form.
How does Fenugreek Work
Fenugreek has been shown to increase a womans milk supply as early as twenty four hours after beginning the supplement. It is recommended that once the desired milk supply result is achieved the fenugreek is not longer necessary. This is of course with regard to women who have recently given birth and their bodies are already naturally producing milk. With a woman who is attempting to induce lactation, results can take as long as three weeks to a month.
Blessed Thistle is a thistle plant from the Asteraceae family and has been used for centuries for its medicinal values. It is used in both tea and capsule form.
How Does Blessed Thistle Work
Blessed Thistle or Milk Thistle is thought to increase a woman’s breast milk supply. It has been shown that the use of Blessed Thistle which is a galactagogue can and does increase a woman’s milk production. This supplement is beneficial to both new moms as well as women attempting to induce lactation.
Red Raspberry Leaf
The herb Red Raspberry Leaf is available in a tea, capsule or tincture and is readily available in all forms.
How does Red Raspberry Work
This herb not only assists with the production and supply of breast-milk but has also been proven to assist with labor pain, the returning of the muscle tone to the uterus as well as lessen the post birth bleeding experienced by new moms. While this herb is most beneficial to the new moms it is also helpful to women attempting to induce lactation.
Yes, brewers yeast, yes it is used to make beer, but more importantly, it has been used as a dietary supplement for centuries. Here comes the argument that beer is good for you, brewer's yeast, while made from a fungus, is full of chromium, selenium, iron, protein, B vitamins and other trace minerals.
How Does Brewers Yeast Work?
This supplement is recommended by many doctors to breastfeeding moms not only because it is a galactagogue and is known to stimulate and increase breastmilk supply. This supplement will also assist with fighting off fatigue as well as the baby blues or postpartum depression that often associated with lack of milk supply. With regard to women attempting to induce lactation, the benefits of this supplement are clear and again will need to be taken in conjunction with other supplements to achieve the desired results.
This dark green leafy plant is high in iron and nutrients essential to all over body health.
How does Stinging Nettle Work?
This herb has been used by women for centuries following childbirth to deal with issues like anemia and allergy issues. However, this is herb is a galactagogue and has also been utilized specifically for the purposes of increasing the supply of breast milk. With regard to women attempting to induce lactation, the benefits of this supplement are clear and again will need to be taken in conjunction with other supplements to achieve the desired results. Although this herb is safe to take after giving birth it should not be taken while pregnant. New moms should also be aware that the use of this herb has also created a situation where an overabundance of milk supply has occurred causing engorgement of the breasts.
Goat’s Rue is an herb plan that is a part of the pea family. It is usually found in a tincture form or tea form. It has been used for centuries to address nursing issues specifically the production of milk.
How does Goat’s Rue Work?
Goat’s Rue has been proven to have a direct effect on the woman’s mammary glands and has increase milk supply by up to 50% in some cases. With regard to women attempting to induce lactation, the benefits of this supplement are clear and again will need to be taken in conjunction with other supplements to achieve the desired results.
Breastfeeding Help Beyond the Supplements
While looking at pictures and seeing mothers out in public breastfeeding their newborns like it is second nature makes it look easy, breastfeeding can sometimes be very difficult. Beyond the supplements to assist with milk production there are a number of resources out there to assist with the actual act of breastfeeding and things like a proper latch on.
You can reach out to your doctor and nurses. There are also classes available to assist with all of your breastfeeding concerns.