Keep Your Milk Flowing: My Top 5 Galactagogues
A galactagogue is a food or drug that promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk.
Every mother, especially first time moms, run into the issue of thinking that we don’t produce enough milk. In reality, we produce just the right amount for our babies.
So why is it that we panic for no reason?
Well, first off because our breasts might not feel as full and engorged as they did the first few weeks postpartum and second, because we might get a lesser amount of milk when pumping.
The fact is that the fullness of one’s breast doesn’t determine how much milk a mother actually produces. If you’re unsure whether you produce enough milk for your child or not, pay attention to cues such as your baby sucking on it’s hand after feedings, fussing after feedings, your breasts not feeling any softer after feeding your baby and weight loss in baby. If any of those occur over the course of days, give your doc a call.
But most likely–just like I did–you are panicking for no reason. A woman’s body adjusts to exactly what baby needs. That means that after the first weeks of nursing, your milk supply will adapt to the amount your baby needs. If you pump and nurse at the same time, you will be producing more milk – which is good, because now you get the chance of storing your milk. My reason for including lactation support is because I’ve been getting short on frozen, stored milk as I went back to working full time. While reading this list about how to keep your milk flowing, please remember that different products work for different people.
Fenugreek is a plant from India, which is mostly used as an herb and spice. You can get in powder, tea, drop and seed form. I used ground fenugreek seed for about a month by adding it to smoothies. It has a very strong bitter taste; therefore solely mixing it with water wasn’t enough for me. You can easily find Fenugreek at a health store or order it off of Amazon. I honestly have to admit that Fenugreek has not worked for me personally. I didn’t see a significant increase in milk production. However, like I said earlier, what works for others may not work for me. And that was the case here. Reason why I added it to this list is because I have heard so many good reviews about it. A lot of women swear by it, so if you’re looking to find out what’s best for you – definitely give it a shot.
The combination of fennel, anise, coriander and fenugreek has really worked wonders for me. Every time I drink this tea I can literally feel my milk coming in and my breast getting fuller. It might not sound delicious; a lot of women said that they don’t like the taste; but once you add a sweetener of your choice this tea becomes very enjoyable. This organic, non-gmo tea has also proven to reduce fullness and bloating. A definite go to for me.
Talk about magic. I’ve been an advocate of this drink since the very first time I had it. This drink is a blend of blessed thistle (Mediterranean plant) and fenugreek. It’s in powder form so you simply mix it with water and add sweetener. Since it’s recommended dosage is 3 drinks per day, I usually make a big batch and leave it in the fridge to enjoy throughout the day.
You get to enjoy a delicious bowl of warm oatmeal and increase your milk supply at the same time? Yes! Although there is no scientific evidence of oatmeal increasing milk production, possible explanations for it include the relaxation it causes in women (relaxation encourages let-down) and it’s high iron content. You can also opt for oatmeal cookies if you don’t enjoy oatmeal as porridge.
- Pump, Pump, Pump
Pumping isn’t really a galactagogue but it definitely aids in milk production. If you want to keep your milk supply up, you need to feed your baby by demand and pump whenever you can. Some say twice a day, but I pump once daily. The amount of your milk production depends on how much is demanded. If you’re already pumping but still feel like you’re not producing enough, add an extra pumping session and double pump both breast whenever possible.
Please note that not every woman needs lactation enhancers. It’s entirely optional and basically only needed if you actually see a decrease or need to pump more for when you’re at work for example. Either way, I hope I could help some of you out. Give those methods a shot and leave me a comment of which worked best for you!