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Herbal Remedies to Help Increase Breast Milk

During the last twelve months our family has been blessed with the birth of two adorable boys – a grandson and great grandson. This has  prompted me to write about the benefits of herbal remedies for breastfeeding. Three herbs in particular promote lactation very well – raspberry leaf, stinging nettle leaf, and fenugreek seeds.

Raspberry Leaves

The most commonly used of theseherbs toincrease lactation is probably raspberry leaf. I have seen this work wonders with one of my daughters who had a very traumatic time giving birth. It amazed me that she was still able to breastfeed and after 5 months she still has plenty of milk for her baby. My daughter began taking raspberry leaf after the first trimester of her pregnancy and will keep taking it while she’s breastfeeding. You can drink raspberry leaf tea, take the tablets or liquid extract.

Stinging Nettle Leaves

 

Stinging nettle leaf is, in my opinion, the next most popular herb for lactation and is also very effective. Tablets, liquid extract and teas are also available for this herb. If you are fortunate enough to have stinging nettle growing near you just make sure you wear gloves to harvest it. When boiling water is poured on the leaves the sting disappears.

 

 

Fenugreek SeedsAlthough not as commonly used as the aboveherbs there is no doubt that fenugreek is beneficial for breastfeeding.  Evidence for this relied on folk use and clinical observation, however, a recent placebo-controlled, double blind clinical trial showed that breast milk volume in the mothers on fenugreek was, on average,  approximately twice that of the control and placebo groups. No neonatal or maternal adverse effects were reported for those taking the herb. To make fenugreek tea you will need to make a decoction of the seeds: Simmer 1½ tsp fenugreek seeds in 1 cup water for 10 minutes and drink three times a day. You can add some honey to help with the taste. Fenugreek liquid extract and tablets are also available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other herbal remedies that are helpful include standard infusions made from  the seeds of dill, fennel or aniseed three times a day, and an infusion made from the flowering top of goat’s rue (Galega officinalis) taken twice a day.

 

Belle Gibbons

Medical Herbalist

ATMS Member 4763

The Home Herbalist Owner, Author and Tutor


4 comments to Herbal Remedies to Help Increase Breast Milk

  • Jennie Settle

    Thanks for that Belle, I will put Lisa back on the Raspberry leaf tablets, she stopped taking them after the birth of Molly. Baby is now 4 months old but has slowed down significantly on her weight gain this month and I did wonder whether it was Lisa’s milk. Lisa herself has had to have a course of iron tablets as she became anaemic. Would just like to say that she has been using my own made calendula ointment for Molly as she got a nappy rash and also uses my comfrey ointment for her own uses. So at least I have one daughter that will take notice of mum!!! Thanks again and I hope you had a great birthday and that my card arrived in good time. xxx

  • You’re very welcome Jennie. The raspberry leaf is certainly working well for J so I’m sure it will help Lisa and Molly. J’s little boy is thriving. I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve given Lisa ointments you made yourself to use. J’s baby had a bad case of oral thrush soon after he was born and I gave her Calendula liquid extract to apply to it and it disappeared after two applications never to return.It’s wonderful when our children take notice of us! I haven’t received your card yet but will let you know when it arrives – thanks so much. Had a wonderful birthday with the family. xoxoxo

  • viviane miner

    Hi…
    My daughter too is having great difficulty nursing her three month old daughter..She is so frustrated she is ready to give up…
    although you give the proportions for the fenugreek and stinging nettle herbs there is non for the raspberry leaves…could you please provide me with the formula for the tea and how often to take it as well as how many tablets per day is best when the leaves are not available
    thanks
    viviane…a concerned mother in the USA

  • Hi Viviane,

    Whenever a mother is breast feeding she must always consider what medicine she takes as her baby will also receive some through the milk. The dose for an infusion of dried raspberry leaf is 4 to 8 grams in 250ml boiling water three times a day. It is best to take half while breast feeding i.e. 4 grams three times a day.

    As for the tablets it depends on the amount of herb in each tablet so the individual manufacturers will have the dose on the label of their product.

    Regards, Belle