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I don’t make milk like a normal mama. I’m a too low – bare minimum type mama. My two boys were formula fed or part formula fed. This time however, I’m able to solely breastfeed.
In the beginning, I had too low of a supply. Baby #3 wasn’t gaining properly. I therefore, started on every method to increase supply known to women. Most of the methods, worked a bit for me. (Note: All supply increasing methods work differently for every woman. Some respond to one and not another.)
Those methods got me from not enough to just barely enough. However, I knew that it wasn’t going to be enough, if I wanted to breastfeed my daughter for longer then a month or two.
Enter Fenugreek. Fenugreek for increasing milk supply seems to be the winner for me.
Fenugreek is an herb that has been recommended for increasing milk supply for centuries. There’ve been plenty of studies showing that fenugreek helps increase breastmilk supply. Many women will double their supply with fenugreek.
Fenugreek isn’t some random herb either; we actually use it quite often in cooking. It can be found in many curries, chutneys, Five Spice mixtures, and even in artificial maple syrup.
How to Increase Milk Supply with Fenugreek
No less than 6 capsules a day. Most seem to recommend taking 3 pills 3 times a day. Yes, that is a whole lot of pills! If that dosage doesn’t work then you can up it to 4 pills 3 times a day for a total of 12.
It is also said that you will know you are taking enough and that it is working when your sweat and urine smell like maple syrup. I personally didn’t notice that strong of an odor…. but maybe it’s supposed to be faint.
Most women will notice a supply increase by 24-72 hours. However, it can take up to two weeks for some women to notice a change.
It took me about a week of taking fenugreek until I noticed that baby #3 was finally happy after a feeding.
Fenugreek does not need to be continually taken after supply has increased. There isn’t any harm in continuing to take the pills but generally once your supply has increased you can stop taking them.
Basically, fenugreek will get you to where you need to be and then baby will keep you there.
Cautions With Fenugreek:
Allergies – Those with peanut or chickpea allergies may want to use fenugreek with caution or avoid it all together. Fenugreek is in the same family as chickpeas and peanuts.
My lactation consultant actually didn’t prescribe me fenugreek because one of my sons is allergic to peanuts. She of course, didn’t want to take the risk. However, I felt like that wouldn’t be a problem for me as I am not the one allergic (I think she was more worried about the baby) and I had been drinking tea that had fenugreek in it with no problems. So I went out and bought myself a bottle.
However, the warning is still there. If you are allergic you may want to avoid fenugreek.
Diabetes or hypoglycemia – Fenugreek lowers blood glucose levels and in some studies reduces blood cholesterol. Generally this is only a concern if you are for some reason taking higher doses then the one above.
However diabetics should only take fenugreek if they have good control of their blood glucose levels.
Pregnancy – Fenugreek is considered a uterine stimulant and has been used to aid and induce labor. Therefore, if you are pregnant avoid fenugreek.
I’m glad I gave Fenugreek a try. It’s not much for a bottle of pills (I paid maybe $5) and it was what I needed. Baby #3 is now gaining properly again and she’s much happier.
I had a similar issue with a relatively low supply and my baby not gaining adequately enough. I tried fenugreek for awhile and it helped though I definitely smelled like maple syrup all of the time. Not so appetizing after a bit. 🙂
I tried it briefly and I reeked of syrup and it didn't work for me. Don't think it would hurt anyone to try though.
Yes, definitely! I have never taken it but I know so many people who have and it truly helps them!
I drink 3 cups of Healthy nursing tea and eat oatmeal and drink lots of water. I had a pretty good increase with that.
Please check with your physician before taking any herbal remedies. Just because they are considered “natural” does not make them safe for everyone. Fenugreek can also interact with medications, such as anti diabetic drugs, insulin, anticoagulants, platelet inhibitors, and MAOIs. Fenugreek can also cause loose stools and upset stomach. Inhalation of fenugreek powder can cause asthma and allergic symptoms. Medicinal doses of fenugreek can cause uterine contractions and should not be used if pregnant. Please always check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedy!