Simply put, fenugreek is a good remedy for low milk production. As for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding new baby, for sure many nursing mothers will choose the former because it carries many health benefits for both infants and mothers. For example, it protects the child against asthma and the mother against breast cancer. Unfortunately, some women aren’t producing enough milk. In this case, drinking plenty of water can help sometimes. However, fenugreek seeds can be a better solution in boosting milk supply, which has been used by centuries although how it works still remains unclear.
As mentioned above, fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) has been known as a galactagogue for hundreds of years in India, the Middle East and other regions. Some studies have showed that taking the correct dosage of this herb is able to see a big change in milk production, sometimes ideally a 900 percent increase. The researchers believe that it is the phytoestrogens contained in fenugreek seeds that make the difference.
The majority of nursing mothers with low milk production will get different degrees of a boost 1 to 3 days after taking the fenugreek supplement or tea. The key is to frequently empty both breasts after milk supply has increased. If not, it won’t work.
In fact, the plant chemicals contained in the brown seeds of fenugreek work just like the female sex hormone. Thanks to these hormone precursors, this herb can act as a galactagogue to increase a woman’s breast milk supply. Besides, milk production and sweat production have something in common. So, another reason for this is most likely that fenugreek stimulates the mammary glands and ducts just like sweat glands.
The good news is that fenugreek, often in the form of 100 capsules in a bottle, is available at most health food stores. Besides, fenugreek tea is another option. But tea is less popular since it has an unpleasant bitter taste and, more importantly, it is much less potent. Typically each capsule contains 580 or 610 mgs of this herb and one bottle costs less than 10 dollars. The recommended dosage is one at a time and three times a day. However, according to the feedback from many users, they often need to double or even triple the dosage to get the expected result.
So, how long does it take for fenugreek to increase milk supply? It must be admitted that fenugreek’s effect of improving milk supply is not instant. That’s to say, the nursing mother won’t get the desired level overnight. Instead, it may take about 1 day to 15 days to see a change depending on the mothers. The good news is that some can notice an increase 1 to 3 days after starting this home remedy. Of course, in a few cases women won’t see a change in milk production at all even though they continue taking fenugreek for more than a month.
In general, fenugreek is safe for most nursing women and their babies. It is worth mentioning that the consumption of this herb can change the odor of urine and sweat and make them smell like a maple syrup, but it is not considered one of bad reactions. Instead, diarrhea is one of typical side effects although it will disappear on its own after this herb is withdrawn. And it doesn’t make sense to asthmatic and diabetic mothers either since it can make these two conditions worse. As for asthma, that one’s a bit more controversial because natural healers tend to use it to treat coughs, bronchitis, and similar conditions, thanks to its amazing properties in getting rid of mucus. When it comes to diabetes, caution should be taken in the use of this herb because it can cause hypoglycemia. In addition, pregnant women shouldn’t use it either since it can cause uterine contractions.
Fenugreek is usually considered safe when nursing moms use it in moderation. However, it is a good idea to consult lactation consultant or medical care provider before taking this spice no matter it is used for short-term or long-term purposes, just to be safe.