Fenugreek for Increasing Milk Supply: Does It Work, and How Do I Use It?
Do you have low milk supply? Are you returning to work and need to pump out a steady supply of breast milk? Have you heard of fenugreek increasing milk supply, and you are wondering what it is or if it works?
If this sounds like you, stop what you are doing and read this article. We will answer your questions regarding increasing milk supply, the use of fenugreek, what it does, and how to take it. Ultimately, we want to help you get the results you are looking for and determine if it is right for you.
Table of Contents
Why Would I Need to Increase My Milk Supply?
There are two main reasons a woman would look to increase her milk supply. The first is that she will begin pumping out a large amount of milk. She may need to have a fully stocked refrigerator/freezer in preparation for returning to work, or she may just like to have the option of family sharing in feeding responsibility.
The second is when a woman may think her milk supply is low when it is not. I was one of those women not too long ago and as it turns out I was wrong.
It is easy to think you are not producing enough milk, especially for a first-time mother.
Just because your breasts may be soft (which is common after your body has regulated its milk supply) or your little one feeds often (which may simply be a healthy appetite or a growth spurt) it does not mean your supply is low.
To determine if you really have low milk supply, you will want to look at your baby, not your body. If your little one is not gaining weight, or if she has fewer than 5-6 wet diapers and 1 stool movement a day, then you may be truly experiencing low milk supply.
If you are experiencing low milk supply, do not be discouraged. There is no need for you to discontinue breastfeeding, and the good news is that there are things you can do to increase your supply.
Consult your doctor if you have questions about low milk supply. This short video can also give you some insight into low milk supply, and it gives you some great solutions you can try. One of these solutions that come highly recommended is taking fenugreek supplements.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a herb native to southern Europe and Asia that has been used for hundreds of years, in ancient civilizations, to help nursing mothers increase their milk supply. It is now widely grown today and is also used for food additives, medicinal purposes, and dyes.
This herb belongs to a group known as galactagogues, or substance that increase milk supply in mammals. Doctors and scientists do not know exactly what causes fenugreek to increase milk production, but it is believed that it stimulates the hormones that create milk and sweat.
How Do You Take It?
The most common, and most effective, way to take fenugreek is in capsule form. It is most concentrated this way and yields the best results. The recommended dosage is two capsules (580-610 mg each) with every meal for a total of 6 a day.
When selecting a fenugreek supplement, be sure to consult your doctor or check reviews on products before purchasing. Stick to name brands, likeNature’s Way, which comes highly recommended by most nursing mothers.
You can also drink fenugreek tea, like this one. There are downsides to this option though. It tends to be a lot weaker than capsules, which means you will need to drink a lot more or it may not even work. It also has a bitter taste which may be unpleasant to some and make it difficult to “swallow”.
Does It Work?
Most mothers will notice an increase in their milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after starting off with a fenugreek supplement. A telltale sign that you have reached your maximum fenugreek intake, and milk supply, is when your sweat and urine begin to smell like maple syrup.
While most mothers reach their maximum supply with 6 capsules per day, some may need to increase their intake in order to see results. You will not see partial results if you are not taking enough. You need to reach your maximum intake to see any increase in milk supply.
If you are like me, trying to remember one more things per day (like taking vitamins and supplements) can be a chore. The good news is that once you have reached the point that your supply increases, you can stop taking fenugreek as long as you effectively drain your breasts at each pumping/feeding session.
Of course, there are some women that fenugreek supplementation will not work for. Although most women do see positive results. Supplements are inexpensive, so it is definitely worth a try if you are looking to increase your milk supply.
Are There Any Precautions I Should Be Aware Of?
There are very few side effects to taking fenugreek that affect most average women. Besides smelling sweet all the time, you may also notice looser stools. Not all women experience this, but it has been seen in some cases.
There are some precautions to take if you have an existing medical condition, such as nut allergies and/or asthma. Fenugreek has been known to make asthma symptoms worse, and it can also trigger a reaction in those with nut allergies due to similar properties found in both.
You should also consult a doctor before taking fenugreek if you are diabetic. The supplement has been found to cause blood sugar to drop very low, or hypoglycemia, which can be very bad news for diabetics.
Finally, should you become pregnant again while still nursing, discontinue fenugreek immediately. It can cause uterine contractions which can lead to premature labor and delivery. Consult your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have.
If you are looking to increase your milk supply, whether it is because it is low or you are just looking to get out a little extra, fenugreek is a great option. Remember, always consult your doctor before beginning an herbal supplement, especially when the health of your baby is involved.
If you have any comments or questions, be sure to leave them below. Share your experience with fenugreek with other mothers to give them support. And share this article with others who will find it helpful.