In light of breastfeeding awareness month: A holistic guide to supporting breastmilk production
For some mummas, milk supply is a concern at the start of their breastfeeding journey. For others, some feel a drop in their supply some time after. This is often their supply naturally regulating to the baby’s requirements. However, some feel their supply is still not adequate. As naturopaths we can look for an underlying cause as to why supply might be low. This is always a holistic and personalised approach, however a few general considerations are as follows:
1. Galactagogues: these are herbs that help to increase breast milk production. Some examples are fenugreek, chaste tree, aniseed, fennel seeds and goats rue. Mayde Tea’s Nursing is a tea blend that has been naturopath formulated to support breast milk production, as well as calm the digestive system of both mum and baby. We recommend up to 4 cups per day.
It is important to be aware of herbs that may reduce breastmilk production. These are sage and peppermint, and should be avoided.
2. Hydration: at least 2-3L filtered water per day is required to support milk production. This amount increases with exercise or during the warmer months.
3. Limit the toxic load: avoid smoking, alcohol, preservatives, additives and anything artificial in your diet as these have been found to impact a mother’s milk supply.
4. Maintain frequency of breastfeeding: the main key to producing breastmilk is to empty the breast to promote more production. Our body has a feedback mechanism which controls the supply, so using a breast pump between feeds can help to stimulate more breastmilk.
5. Support the nervous system: incorporate rest, meditation and gentle exercise into your day where possible to make sure you are nourishing your nervous system. Mayde Tea Serenity is a perfect addition to nourish the nervous system of both mum and baby.
6. Diet: your body is making extra nutrients for your baby while breastfeeding, so be mindful of increasing these key nutrients: protein (organic meat, eggs and fish), calcium (dairy, almonds, leafy greens), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil), iodine (dairy products, seafood), B12 (meat, fish and eggs.)
7. Skin to skin contact: this increases oxytocin, and thus prolactin (therefore increasing breastmilk)