Herbal medicines have been a pivotal part of medical history. If we look back a century or two there were hardly any medications for cough, flu, pain and fever. People mostly relied on herbs to stay healthy, fit and cure any illness that came their way. These herbal medicines are plant-based and made with traditional knowledge people have acquired from centuries of experience of their forefathers. Today, herbal medication has carved a special niche for themselves even though medical science has broken many boundaries. One of the best supplements for lactation is herbal, mothers trust them blindly and use them often for various reasons.
Herbal medication comes under the category of complementary and alternative medication (CAM) which also includes other traditional methods to cure health problems. Herbal medications and dietary supplements can be easily accessed from pharmacies, health stores, supermarkets and grocery stores. Herbalists, therapists and naturopaths often suggest herbal medication for maintaining a healthy life, minor health problems and overall well-being. But another very popular usage of herbal supplements is as a milk supply booster. For centuries, mothers have been relying on herbal teas and even now, the global demand for herbal supplements is on a constant rise as the industry grossed $60 billion annually!
Breastfeeding mothers are mostly worried about their supply of milk as the child is dependent on mother’s milk exclusively for the first 6 months. Most mothers make enough milk for their child and usually there is some other problem that is hindering the process like, wrong latching, missed feeding sessions or SIDS. Firstly, make sure that there isn’t any other reason for you to consider before coming to the conclusion that your milk supply is insufficient. When all other possible reasons are ruled out you can use herbal supplements as a milk supply booster.
When to Add Herbal Lactation Supplements in your Diet?
As I mentioned earlier, mostly mothers are making enough milk to satiate their little one’s hunger. Even when you feel that your breasts are soft and empty, there is still milk in them and more is being produced constantly. Having said that, there are sometimes when the supply of milk diminishes and there can be a number of valid reasons for it. Usually when the mothers are menstruating, are expecting another child, start taking birth control pills, decide to wean off the baby, change the baby’s schedule or going through a stressful event in life can lead to shortness of milk. Sometimes the baby is on a growth spurt and the mother needs to increase milk supply in order to meet the demand. In all such cases, herbal lactation supplements are the best supplements for lactation. Consult a doctor or lactation consultant to advise you on the best suited herbal supplements for your situation.
Things to Consider Before Taking Herbal Lactation Supplements
Although there’s no doubt about the efficacy and benefits of herbs, its still advisable to them with caution. Contrary to popular belief, herbal supplements can also have side effects which can seep into the milk and reach your little one. herbal supplements and other traditional medications, although approved by FDA are still mostly unregulated and many of them are not even scientifically proven. This means that mothers should always consult their lactation expert before introducing any herbal supplement in their diet and also be sure to inform the paediatrician about it so that possible side effects can be identified easily. Even though herbs have little side effects they can be dangerous and have severe consequences if taken for a long period of time, in unregulated doses or when mixed with other medications and supplements.
Best Rated Lactation Supplements
Herbal supplements that boost milk supply are known as galactagogues. The two most common, well-known and FDA approved herbs to safely increase milk supply are Fenugreek and Fennel. Even though there are several other herbs that are known for increasing milk supply significantly like Milk thistle, blessed thistle, Alfalfa, Shatavari root, Black seed, Stinging Nettle, Brewer’s yeast, Ginger, Garlic and Goat’s rue. So, if you feel the need to increase milk due to any reason, try out these herbs to make a difference.
Other Benefits of Herbal Supplements
There are many other benefits of herbal supplements besides working as a milk supply booster. Here are a few benefits that everyone can get from trying these supplements.
- Depression Evader
Everyone knows about postpartum depression mother’s have to face after delivering the child. Nursing the baby is itself great for fighting with postpartum depression and anxiety but herbal supplements can further aid in that process. They increase the feel-good brain activity which reduces depression and anxiety. Beside that many herbs can also be smelled or used as essence to create a calming and soothing environment. Herbal supplements have other amazing effects on mental health as well. It can improve memory, boost cognitive abilities and heal other problems in a natural way with far less complications.
- Promotes Healthy Skin
A mother goes through drastic and dramatic changes all through her pregnancy and nursing journey. It not only takes a toll mentally but also physically. Many mothers find that their skin isn’t fresh and glowing like before, hyper pigmentation, acne, open pores, oily accumulation and other problems start to appear more often. Drinking herbal teas or taking herbal supplements can give you fresh, glowing skin in days. These herbs have antibacterial properties that fights bacteria, cure skin infections, clears blood and gives you sparkling skin that increases your confidence.
- Increases Immunity
A mother’s immunity can go down marginally after child birth and during lactation period as the body’s main focus is sustaining the baby in the healthiest way. The body will tap on the storage of mother’s nutrients for everything that the child needs. Herbal supplements help in strengthening the immune system, fights against common diseases and provides antioxidants, vitamins and phytosterols that help in improving the immune system.
Herbal supplements have slow effects but if you take them with continuity then the benefits will show up for a long period of time. Natural things tend to take time but will have results that will benefit for a long time.