Breastfeeding Tea to Increase Breast Milk Production

Herbal Teas That Support Lactation and Relaxation

If you're looking to maintain your breast milk supply or increase a low supply, an herbal breastfeeding tea may sound like a great idea. But, will a lactation tea work? Is it safe for you and your baby? Here's an overview of the common herb combinations and commercially prepared nursing teas that breastfeeding mothers use.

Breastfeeding Tea 

For centuries, herbs have been used as galactagogues to help women make more breast milk. Different combinations of plants that stimulate and support breast milk production and promote relaxation have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the most common and traditional ways to prepare these herbs is by making tea.

Is it Safe to Drink Herbal Nursing Tea When You're Breastfeeding?

Herbal breastfeeding teas are generally considered safe, but there are always exceptions. Many of the herbs used in nursing teas have been used as medications throughout history. Just as with any other drug, herbs can have side effects when taken in large doses. Therefore, you should always consult your doctor or a lactation consultant before using any herbal supplements, including teas, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your health care provider can give you more information on the herbs and the amount you should take based on your particular situation and what you need.

How to Start Using Breastfeeding Tea

When you start a new herb or tea, it is always best to begin by taking a small amount and gradually increasing it over a few days. A slower, gradual start can help to prevent or minimize the risk of side effects. Dosages vary depending on the person. A small amount may work very well for some women while very high doses will not work at all for others.

How to Prepare Herbal Breastfeeding Tea

Tea can be made by the cup or by the pot. The amount of time the herbs steep (sit in hot water) will determine the strength of the tea. Steep 1 to 3 minutes for a weaker tea and 5 minutes or longer for a stronger dose. Some herbs are bitter, so you may not want to steep them too long.

By the Cup: Pour 1 cup (8 oz) of boiling water over one tea bag or 1 teaspoon of dried herb. Cover and steep for the desired amount of time.

By the Pot: Add one tea bag or 1 teaspoon of dried herbs per cup of boiling water in your teapot. Allow the tea to remain in the pot for the desired length of time and then remove the tea bags or strain the tea to remove the loose herbs. Do not drink the entire pot of tea in one sitting. Divide it into portions and drink it a few times throughout the day. Most teas can be consumed multiple times in a day. However, even tea can be dangerous depending on the dose or how much you drink. It is not recommended to drink more than 32 ounces per day.

Which Herbs Work Best in Nursing Tea?

The common breastfeeding herbs for nursing teas are fenugreek, blessed thistle, fennel, stinging nettle, goat's rue, alfalfa, milk thistle, anise, marshmallow root, red raspberry leaf, coriander, caraway, and verbena. Combining herbs that increase breast milk production with herbs that support relaxation and others that provide a pleasant flavor can create a tasty, soothing blend. 

You can choose to make your own tea by using the herbs that you prefer or the ones that work the best for you. If you do prepare your own blend, make sure you purchase high-quality herbs from a reliable source. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbs, so you may not be able to determine if they have been contaminated, they contain unknown additives, or they have been misidentified. Some herbs are even toxic.

Buying a Commercial Brand of Nursing Tea

If you do not wish to make you own, you can purchase a commercially prepared nursing tea at a grocery store, pharmacy, vitamin shop, or online. Below are six different brands of nursing teas that are available. Each brand has its own unique combination of herbs designed to promote relaxation and support a healthy supply of breast milk. 

1

This organic, caffeine-free, licorice flavored tea contains anise, fennel, coriander, fenugreek, blessed thistle, spearmint leaf, lemongrass leaf, lemon verbena leaf, and marshmallow root.

2

Each organic, kosher, caffeine-free tea bag of Milkmaid Tea contains fennel, fenugreek, red raspberry leaf, stinging nettle, milk thistle, orange peel, anise seed, caraway seed and alfalfa leaf.

3

Nursing Support Tea is a mixture of fennel, nettle, anise, fenugreek, chamomile, and lavender. It is organic and caffeine-free.

4

Weleda Nursing is organic. It contains fennel oil, fenugreek, anise seed, caraway seed, and lemon verbena leaves.

5

Nursing Time Tea doesn't come in tea bags. This loose tea is a blend of fennel seed, goat's rue, blessed thistle, alfalfa, anise seed, and lemon verbena. It is all natural, caffeine-free and has a lemon flavor.

6

Nursing Mother's Tea is an all natural combination of fennel seed, blessed thistle, fenugreek seeds, goat's rue, marshmallow root, nettle leaves, cotton root, anise seeds and milk thistle.

Disclosure

Source:

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM clinical protocol# 9: use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting the rate of maternal milk secretion (First revision January 2011). Breastfeeding Medicine. 2011 Feb 1;6(1):41-9.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Eighth Edition. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2015.

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