Both my child and myself got really gassy on Fenugreek. So after a week or two I stopped using it. I think it took a couple days to get out of my system.
I've heard that Goat Rue can actually mess up your system, so you may want to avoid that. Here are some other options that may work for you.
If you are interested in galactogogues (things to increase milk production), Here is a list I acquired a couple years ago off my pumping Yahoo group. Here is the complete list with some notes about what they are supposed to do plus cautions and things to look out for if you take them.
Safe and relatively safe galactogogues:fenugreek
- Start with 1 cap, 3x a day and work your way up. Typical dose is
2-3 caps 3x a day. Do not take it if you or baby has a peanut allergy because fenugreek is related to chick pea (both are legumes) and often people with an allergy to a legume will have an allergic reaction to fenugreek. Discontinue if baby gets diarrhea. Sometimes makes moms gassy but taking it in combination with blessed thistle often counteracts that. Also can make baby gassy and/or irritable. Fenugreek has a hypoglycemic effect so watch for symptoms especially if you are hypoglycemic or have diabetes. Do NOT take while pg as it's a uterine stimulant!blessed thistle
- one of the better ones. Works well in combination with fenugreek. Be careful if you have hay fever type allergies as it can aggravate them.oatmeal
- use in any form; quantity needed varies. Like many galactogogues, it's considered good for stomach ailments, is alkaloid and has a high GI index. Other than that, no one knows why it works though we do know that it increases the amount of testosterone in the blood.Brewer's Yeast
- High in B12 which is a vitamin we use up in great quantities when under stress. (No, it's not the same yeast that causes thrush.) You can use other sources of B12 instead. The pills aren't as hard to get down as the powder which tastes disgusting.protein
- in any form. similar theory as to why it work work as for brewer's yeast.Mother's Milk Tea
-- usually contains some combination of fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chamomile flowers, lemongrass, borage leaves, blessed thistle leaves, star anise, comfrey leaves, and fenugreek seeds; some formulations contain mint which can be drying to some women (see below for list of what some of these things are and what they might do)marshmallow
(the herb, not the candy with the similar name) - works for some women for reasons I have not been able to determine.Red Raspberry LEAF tea
(not raspberry flavor which usually doesn't even come from raspberries or so I'm told by a chemist I know) - this is generally recommended for any sort of "female problems". It is high in calcium and vitamin C which is good while nursing.alfalfa
- be careful if you have hay fever-type allergies as it can aggravate them. I can't remember why this one is supposed to work. Guess I need to check the archives because it's been posted here before. Evening Primrose Oil or Flax Seed Oil
- have essential fatty acids which we often don't get enough from food. Therefore even if it doesn't increase supply, it will give your milk more of the "good" kind of fats. The theory is that it improves your hormonal status and that allows you to make milk more efficiently. EPO in particular is a naturally occurring prostoglandin,
(which is why it's recommended as a vaginal suppository to help ripen the cervix post-term in the pg woman).fennel
- I'm not sure why it's considered a galactogogue but it gets recommended a lot and seems to work for some. Like a lot of galactogogues, it is supposed to be good for stomach ailments.Saw Palmetto
- not recommended very often but most supermarkets carry it so it's easy to get which is a plus in its favor. Again it is supposed to be good for stomach ailments.
(brewed from the actual root, not the commercial stuff) - Not sure where this recommendation comes from either but we talked about it on the Pump List before and I vaguely recall that whatever the logic was made a certain amount of sense.anise seed
- don't know why it's considered a galactogogue or how well it really works. It's also supposed to be good for stomach ailments.dill
- don't know why it's considered a galactogogue or how well it really worksBasil
- don't know why it's considered a galactogogue or how well it really workscress
- don't know why it's considered a galactogogue or how well it really works
There is a table in Ruth Lawrence's new book (Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession 5th edition) of possible ingredients in Mother's Milk Tea and the toxic side effects The list is on pg. 375:Fennel Seed
- weak diuretic, stimulant - Toxicity-CNS disturbancesCoriander seed
- Increases flow of saliva and gastric juices Toxicity-Not listedChamomile Flower
- Sudorific antispasmodic - Toxicity-vomiting, vertigoLemongrass
- Lemon flavor - Toxicity-Not listedBorage Leaf
- Diuretic, sudorific, euphoric - Toxicity-Possible. See below for some more dangers.Blessed thistle leaf
- Aperitif, galactagogue, diaphoretic Toxicity-Strongly emeticStar Anise
- Stimulant, mild expectorant - Toxicity-Not listed
- Used as mucilage to knit bones, weak sedative, demulcent, astringent - Toxicity- venoocclusive disease, hepatotoxicFenugreek Seed
- Digestive tonic, galactogogue, uterine stimulant, reduces blood sugar - Toxicity- Hypoglycemia, can induce laborCoffee plant
- Stimulant, diuretic, coloring - Toxicity- Insomnia, restlessness
- Oxytocic, potent, acts on voluntary and involuntary muscles - Toxicity-Irritant, causes pain in fingers and toes
The following galactogues are sometimes recommended but can be dangerous
for large quantities of women and babies:Lactuca Virosa
(aka as Wild Lettuce) - it is actually a narcotic, a sedative and resembles mild opium. Some herbalists use it to treat anxiety and insomnia and pain. However, it is not recommend for bfing moms because it really isn't a galactogogue. It *may* help temporarily due to it's relaxation qualities (i.e., it might help if you have a letdown problem due to stress or tension but not to actually improve your ability to make milk). But the chances are high that you'll get a very doped up baby and mom in a short period of time.Goat's rue
- generally not recommended for humans at all because of all the side-effects. Here is an excerpt from the "Encyclopaedia of Herbs" by Nico Vermeulen copyright 1998.
"Cows that eat goat's rue either give more milk or never give milk again. If they eat the herb before it has flowered, they produce more milk but when the plant flowers, it secretes a nervous toxin (galegin) from the roots throughout the plant which can kill cattle. The botanical name is derived from the Greek and refers to the lactation stimulation of the herb. The herb was used from early times to help women lactate and also to reduce the blood sugar level, aid digestion, and as a diuretic. The plant can be dangerous and is virtually unheard of in present day medical use."Borage
- This should not be taken by bfing moms because it can cause liver damage in the BABY. It could actually cause liver damage in the mom but it's more likely to affect the baby because the liver is one of the organs that is immature in babies. It's probably okay in the quantity that it appears in Mother's Milk Tea but it would be better if you got a blend that didn't have it and you shouldn't take it alone in any significant quantity.
As long as we are talking about galactogogues, let's talk about the opposite. Here are some things to avoid as they tend to suppress milk production:Sage Thyme Mint
(note: some "cinnamon" candies are actually made with mint oils) Decongestants Oregano cabbage leaves in the bra (but you can eat cabbage) Birth Control pills
Everything but birth control pills hurt milk production because they are drying. With birth control pills, it's the hormones. Combination pills almost always affect supply although the older the baby gets, the less chance of them doing that. Some women find they can take them okay once their baby is past a year old.The mini-pill
(and related bc like Depo-Provera) is generally considered okay though there is anecdotal evidence that for *some* women they impact supply. Also, they should *never* be taken before 6 weeks postpartum as it's the withdrawal of progesterone following the pg that signals the body to make milk. If you take the progesterone pill or shot during that time, your body gets an opposite signal.
Also, while sage, thyme, mint, etc are drying, usually in the quantities that most moms consume them in, they make no noticeable difference. So having a mint candy once in a while (which is mostly sugar and hardly any mint) is probably okay but if you've been guzzling mint tea or something, you might want to stop. Sometimes a typical Thanksgiving meal has enough combination of all these spices that some moms do notice a supply drop the next day.