Over the course of the last 10 years, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to breastfeed all 5 of our children.
It has been something I truly have enjoyed – but I’ll be the first to admit that when the last child is done, I will struggle to move on.
Sometimes, for one reason or another, you may encounter some issues with breastfeeding your little one – I had a small hiccup when my 4th child was 8 months old and I will never forget the mix of emotions I went through. Although my hiccup was small in comparison to what other women probably endure, thankfully there are natural solutions to help you support a healthy milk supply.
Fennel is an herb used in cooking and in some cases, healing – it has the smell and taste of sweet, licorice and is wonderful for supporting healthy digestion and breastfeeding in moms. Fennel can help relax the baby, as it passes through the breast milk to the baby.
You can eat fennel as a veggie, add it to foods as a spice, and include in your cup of tea. Although it does really well at supporting healthy digestion and breastfeeding, it does have a few side effects, too:
- Avoid using fennel during pregnancy or if you suffer from seizures
- Avoid using fennel if you are diabetic as it can lower blood sugar
- Use in moderation and only for a day or two at a time, but never an extended period of time
Fennel Vitality Essential Oil
Fennel Vitality helps support healthy breastfeeding in women while also aiding to support healthy digestion for mom and baby, while also providing support during the menstrual cycle.
Fennel Vitality is labeled as a dietary essential oil, and can be taken internally. Take as needed for added support – as with any option to garnish more support, I would not take for an extended period of time as it can have the opposite effect.
- Add 1-2 drops to a veggie capsule and take as needed.
- Combine 1 drop of Fennel Vitality in an 8 oz glass of water to support digestion, or breastfeeding.
- Add 1 drop of Fennel Vitality to your hot mug of tea or coffee each morning.
Fenugreek is used to treat many ailments – one of which is breast milk production. The plant is native to the Mediterranean, and is grown in Egypt, Morocco and India. Although there is no science to show how it works, the herb does contain phytoestrogens that are plant chemicals (similar to that of estrogen), that increase milk production.
Fenugreek works as quickly as 24 hours – and once your supply is boosted, you can stop taking the herb and the body will continue to produce at that level. Many women will tell you that their urine emits a really sweet “maple” type odor when they are taking Fenugreek .. and aside from that, other effects are minor (loose stool, and uterine contractions).
As you would with any medication or herb, ensure you are taking your Fenugreek with adequate water and if you are diabetic, seek advice from your doctor before taking any herbal remedy.
Milk Thistle is also another herbal remedy – while it mainly serves to help with gallbladder and liver disorders, it also works much like Fenugreek in that it increases milk production in nursing mothers.
While Fenugreek can help increase production in as little as 24 hours, Milk Thistle can take up to 4 days – and once you begin to take Milk Thistle you must remain taking it to keep your breast milk levels at adequate supply.
Unlike Fenugreek, Milk Thistle has a few more side effects – it can cause allergic reaction and can have an impact on blood sugar levels (if you are diabetic, talk to your doctor before taking Milk Thistle). It can also lead to upset stomach, headache and itching.
Mother’s Milk Tea
Mother’s Milk Tea supports healthy breast milk in breastfeeding mothers and can be picked up at most retailers – from Target to Walmart, or even Kroger.
Mother’s Milk tea holds a mixture of fennel and anise (which give the tea a sweet, licorice-like taste), and coriander and fenugreek tea that will help you with your milk supply. Steep the tea with hot water and enjoy 3-5 cups daily.
There are additional Essential Oils that are also helpful for nursing moms, including Basil, and Lavender.
Celebrating a newborn is one of the most enjoyable experiences ~ and opting to breastfeed is one of the most rewarding things you can do. For some women, however, the breastfeeding journey isn’t always easy. Many women who struggle with breastfeeding their small infant struggle with milk supply and turn to natural alternatives to help them with breastfeeding support.
While there are many other alternatives out there these areas are the biggest ones that worked for me when I was looking for a way to cope – even if I did have a hiccup for just a few days. It’s great to be able to have an opportunity to take control of your breastfeeding on your own, from the comfort of your home.
Did you have any problems while breastfeeding? And if you did, did you look for natural alternatives? o