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How To Increase Breastmilk Supply Through Galactogogues

How To Increase Breastmilk Supply Through Galactogogues

After learning how to breastfeed their babies, some mothers seek more advice from other moms on how to increase breastmilk supply. Some say that what you eat affects milk production, but have you come across the term galactagogues? What are they and how can they increase breastmilk supply? Find out here.

Milk production is often a big concern of new mothers. Some mothers may have trouble producing milk because of improper positioning and attachment to the breast. Others may simply be unsure if they are producing enough milk for their baby. While most mothers produce a sufficient amount of milk, some may wish to increase production through galactagogues.

What Are Galactogogues?

Galactogogues refer to any substance herbs, food, medications that induce milk production to supply babies with the nutrients they need.

Prolactin is the hormone responsible for sufficient milk supply. And the release of prolactin is controlled by nipple stimulation. The release of milk, known as the letdown reflex — the release of milk triggered by latching — is controlled by another hormone called oxytocin. Through these hormones, a mother’s body is made to produce exactly the amount of milk their baby needs.

There are times when milk production can be a problem. After a premature delivery, milk supply is frequently limited, lasting only for a few weeks. There are also studies that show the link between smoking and decreased milk production. Mothers who are smokers are much more likely to find their milk supply taper off earlier.

Because of these problems and more, galactogogues can be worth looking into for ways on how to increase breastmilk supply.

How To Increase Breastmilk Supply Through Galactogogues: Natural Herbs

When people ask more about how to increase breastmilk supply with galactogogues, herbs are first on the list.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is probably the most common of all the effective herbal supplements that can aid breastmilk supply. It is a seed extract from the pea family that stimulates the production of milk.

The recommended daily dose for this herb is 3.5-6 grams, depending on your doctor’s advice.

When taking fenugreek, some women notice that they smell like maple syrup. Those who are sensitive to such a smell may have contractions or allergic reactions to it. Therefore, pregnant women, or those allergic to peanuts or soybeans, should avoid taking fenugreek.

You may discontinue the use of this herb once milk supply has reached an adequate level. But, it can be used safely for an extended period of time.

Goat’s Rue

Goat’s Rue, or Galega officinalis, is a potent galactogogue that works well with other herbs on this list. Because it is toxic in its fresh form, only use commercially prepared dry leaves licensed by the FDA for tea or capsules.

Blessed Thistle

For hundreds of years, this plant has been used as a medicine in many cultures. As such, it could be the answer for you on how to increase breastmilk supply. It is most effective when combined with fenugreek.

Blessed thistle is available as a capsule or a tea and should be taken three times per day.

Alfalfa

Alfafa is another type of pea with a mild effect on milk supply as it can bind on estrogen receptors. Like the other types of herbs, it can also be combined with fenugreek. Its sprouts have a pleasant, nutty flavor, alongside its several health benefits.

This herb can come in different forms, such as pills, or tablets. You can also use these herbs to brew some tea as their galactogogue effects are still present in this form.

How To Increase Breastmilk Supply through Galactogogues: Drugs and Medications

Aside from the natural and organic herbs that can help you with milk production, there are also a few medications that work as galactogogues.

Some have pharmacologic effects by interacting with dopamine receptors, leading to higher prolactin levels and thus increased milk supply.

Metoclopramide

This medication is used to treat nausea and vomiting. Clinical studies have shown that a dose of 10 milligrams three times per day increases prolactin levels, thus aiding the milk supply. However, it can cause extrapyramidal side effects such as tremors and slow, shuffling movements, as well as depression.

Domperidone

People use this drug to treat dyspepsia after meals, reflux esophagitis, and vomiting by accelerating gastric emptying. It is also available as an over-the-counter treatment for after-meal bloating. The typical dose is 10 milligrams three times per day.

Some prefer Metoclopramideas due to its proven efficacy and safety in women and infants. But Domperidone is also considered safe as it DOES NOT cross the blood brain barrier. It enters the breast milk to a lesser extent than metoclopramide, lowering the risk of toxicity to both mother and infant. This potentially makes it a more appealing option.

Key Takeaways

While breastmilk supply shouldn’t be an issue as long as you continue breastfeeding, galactogogues can offer breastfeeding mothers a method of how to increase breastmilk supply.
Before taking any of these herbs or supplements for lactation, it is important to consult your doctor first. Some people may have allergic reactions with either the herbs or the medicines.

Learn more about Breastfeeding here.

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Sources

Efficacy of Herbal Galactogogues in Breastfeeding Mothers (Galactogogue) – Dilek Dilli, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02740751, Accessed December 16, 2021

Galactagogues – Boosting Your Milk Supply, https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/breastfeeding/galactagogues-boosting-your-milk-supply/, Accessed December 16, 2021

Galactogogues: medications that induce lactation – Micheal P. Gabay, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12192964/, Accessed December 16, 2021

Increasing Milk Supply – use of Galactogogues, https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/Galactogogues.pdf, Accessed December 16, 2021

Relactation and Induced Lactation, https://www.laleche.org.uk/relactation-induced-lactation/#galact, Accessed December 16, 2021

Supplement Sampler, https://www.fammed.wisc.edu/files/webfm-uploads/documents/outreach/im/ss_galactogogues.pdf, Accessed December 16, 2021

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated 2 weeks ago
Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD