LEGAL STUFF: I am not a Doctor, Naturopath or any other person of the sort. This is just information I gathered at a class. These are my notes, so that I can have access to the information later, and share it easily. I welcome any corrections or information I might have missed.
Maximizing Milk Supply With Herbal Galactogogues: Sheila Kingsbury, ND, RH
This was a great session, in that she listed the information simply, and kept the same format throughout the presentation so I could easily gather the keypoints and have them to utilize in the future. However, it doesn't make for good blogging, just lists of herbs, doses, and preparation. Here goes!
Necessary elements should be checked before resorting to supplements. These include:
- Wide Mouth
- Good Suction
- Active Suckle
- Outside interferences
- Oral Anatomy (tounge tie)
- Good Gland Funtions (thyroid, mammary, ect.)
- Good Signaling (feed on demand)
- Adequate mammary tissue
Best to address any issues in the first 2 weeks, after that isn't impossible, but it gets much harder as time goes on. Herbs should not be the only tool utilized, all aspects of the breastfeeding relationship should be looked into and adjusted in conjunction.
Galactogogues fall into 4 categories:
True Galactogogues: Actually increases milk supply.
- Fenugreek (Trigonella fenum-grecum): 1500mg 3x/day. Should work within a few days. Generally a base herb to which others are added, but is usually the only supplement needed. Capsules seem to work better than tinctures. Also works to lower blood sugar.
- Goat's Rue (Galega officinalis): Range of effective dose can vary greatly, but generally 500mg 3x/day. Also works to lower blood sugar.
- Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus): 4g 2x/day, but high doses are hard to find so 2 capsules 2-3x per day. Generally used in conjunction with others.
- Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgaris): 50-150mg 3-4x/day. Not as reliable, but used frequently in culinary purposes. Major player in Mother's Milk Tea, not just as a galactogogue, but as a carminative- it increases digestive enzymes, reducing cramping and gas. For this purpose, it also works well for mother's of babies with colic. 2-3 tea bags a day.
Carminatives/Digestive Aids: thought to increase lactation by way of relieving stomach issues.
- Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum): Similar to fennel, traditional use around the world. 50-150mg 3-4x/day.
- Caraway (Carum carvi): Usually combined with true galactogogues.
- Milk Thistle (Sylibum marianum): Traditionally taught as "Makes waters flow", it helps detoxify as it is known for its ability to regenerate liver tissue. Transference is difficult, and best taken as a capsule. 500-1000mg 2x/day.
- Hops Flowers (Humulus lupulus): Of course makes people think of BEER! Really, beer was created to help with digestion. Usually better brewed in a tea than extracted in alcohol. Also helps as a Nervine- calms and relaxed aiding in the release of oxytocin.
Nutritives: Adds nutrients when combines with other supplements to aid in mother's overall health. Never used alone, but combined with other galactogogues.
- Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis): Nutrient dense. Great for relieving clogged ducts. Best in a tea, but brewed with cold water: 1/4c whole cut in 1 qt water, let sit overnight, drain and drink.
- Oat (Avena sativa): Use whole pod, not just the straw or oatmeal. Strongest nutritive value. Calming, and a supportive ingredient.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Dried or fresh, best in combination with others. Also mildly lowers thyroid hormones for hyperthyroid conditions.
- Sage (Salvia officinalis): As little as 8mg a day can affect milk levels.
- Raspberry Leaf (Rubus ideaus): Though useful in readying uterus pre-labor, care should be taken continuing use postpartum.