27 answers

Seeking Opinions on Taking Fenugreek to Increase Milk Supply.

Hey Mamas,
A few of you have already recommended Fenugreek to me to help increase my supply while I continue to nurse my son- and I have done a lot of research on it- and it is a toss up between- whether it is safe or not. Since it is an herb it isn't officially approved or banned through the govt. I'm sure my pediatrician wouldn't suggest it, however a lactation consultant has. Who has taken it and were there any side effects? Can you guys tell me some pros and cons about this herb! I have taken a few pills already- just since last night. I picked up a bottle from GNC. I haven't noticed anything yet. Before I continue to take it I wanted some opinions. I have read it usually takes only 24-72 hours for results, so we'll see. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi, I used Fenugreek and Mothers Milk Tea when my supply had a decrease. It worked for me. I didn't get the maple syrup odor, but the lactaction woman at the hospital recommended it to me. No side effects. Good luck!

T.

1 mom found this helpful

My pediatrician recommended boiling fennel seeds (you'll find them in the spice area of grocery stores). Just put some fennel in water, boil it and drink the water. It tastes a bit like tea.

The benefit of it is you do drink more water, which is critical in producing milk. It worked for me and I never worried about it.

And, when I was done using it to increase milk production, I have it as a seasoning for cooking(used in itailian recipes).

D.,

I took Fenugreek when I just had my baby as my milk wasn't coming (my little guy didn't know how to suck).
Lactation consultant told me to take 3 pills of Fenugreek a day and pump, pump after each session as it stimulates production of BM.

HTH
J.

More Answers

Hi, I used Fenugreek and Mothers Milk Tea when my supply had a decrease. It worked for me. I didn't get the maple syrup odor, but the lactaction woman at the hospital recommended it to me. No side effects. Good luck!

T.

1 mom found this helpful

I've taken fenugreek (still am) and I did notice a difference. I needed to take two pills three times a day, along with more water (not drowning myself, an extra glass was enough) I noticed a difference on the third day! the only side effect I had was the maple-y smell to my urine. Aftter about a week, I only take two pills a day to keep it up. I also drink the mother's milk tea, but only because I already have two boxes of it--when I was only using that, no difference. good luck!

My pediatrician recommended boiling fennel seeds (you'll find them in the spice area of grocery stores). Just put some fennel in water, boil it and drink the water. It tastes a bit like tea.

The benefit of it is you do drink more water, which is critical in producing milk. It worked for me and I never worried about it.

And, when I was done using it to increase milk production, I have it as a seasoning for cooking(used in itailian recipes).

Hi D.,
I took Fenugreek while Nursing and found that it works very well ( too well!). And had no side affects. My pediatrician said it was ok and the hospital lacatation consultants said it was fine too. I also used Mothers Milk tea - it is fenugreek free and it has several different safe herbs that helps increase your supply. It is found at Whole Foods in Wheaton or at any health food store. It doesnt work as well at Fenugreek but it does help.
H.

D.,

I took Fenugreek when I just had my baby as my milk wasn't coming (my little guy didn't know how to suck).
Lactation consultant told me to take 3 pills of Fenugreek a day and pump, pump after each session as it stimulates production of BM.

HTH
J.

D.,
No herbal or vitamin supplements are approved by the FDA - so you're not going to find any recommendations from there. When you are looking for vitamins and herbs, look for a reputable company and find out about their research.

Having said that . .. :-)

I used fenugreek 3 years ago after my son was born as well as soy lecithin - the lecithin helped more than the fenugreek - for both it took a couple of days to see some results (along with drinking more water!).
I am currently pregnant and several of my friends have told me about Mother's Milk Tea as well as Raspberry Leaf tea to help with milk production.

Good Luck!
B.

D.,

I took it with great success. My lactation consultant recommended it. I took it short-term when my supply slowed at 3, 6 and 9 months. I recall it taking about 2 weeks when I took 2 pills 3X a day. I also pumped in between nursing for 15 min incements. While no milk would pump initially, eventually I began to produce substantially more milk. I think MODERATION is key. Take it until your body catches up and then gradually decrese. Your urine might smell like maple syrup...that's normal. Good luck!

Hello,

I'm also a nursing momma to a 13 month old boy (and nursed my first boy to 18 months--had to wean early b/c my body couldn't handle both nursing and pregnancy). Since I was working FT with my older son it included lots of pumping. Had trouble keeping up my supply sometimes due in part to a bad cord on my breast pump. I tried lots of things but Fenugreek was the only thing that I had to stop due to side effects. The maple syrup smell in the urine was not bothersome but Fenugreek actually lowered my blood pressure so much that I was lethargic and frequently had dizzy spells (and yes I did go see my doctor and my bp was extremely low). This does not seem to be all that common but just something to be aware of. The absolute best way to increase your supply is frequent feedings at the breast or pumping (with breast being the best, of course). My 13 mos old has never had a bottle (I'm now a SAHM) and he still nurses at least 3 times/day and b4 bed and is still eating solids and gaining/growing well. Hope this helps! All the best to you.

Karen

Fenugreek works very well for a lot of women. I am not aware of any side effects, and many lactation consultants I know recommend it. I am not sure about quality of specific brands, and I personally took the tea, not the pills. I saw results in about 48 hours myself. It does make your whole body smell like fenugreek, for what it's worth.

Hi,

The FDA only approves presriptions. they don't seem to do a good job of keeping bad ones off the market, so i wouldn't necessarily use their "nod of approval" (or lack thereof) to mean anything.

With that said, i had a breast cancer scare during my pregnancy. I wanted to pump as much milk as possible while I could. I wanted my Dh to have it for our baby in case something happened to me. I used Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle for almost five months with no problems.

If you are interested, there is a group of knowledgeable women who help moms in this situation.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/mobi/

All the best to you.

Hi D.! I tried Fenugreek with my first son 3 years ago. I never noticed an increase in my supply which was very low to start with. I did have side effects and got a rash on my arms and legs. I ended up discontinuing it after a week because of the rash and was fine a couple days after I stopped it.

My wife took Fenugreek at the advice of the lactation consultant and with the blessing of both the pediatrician and her OBGYN. It worked pretty good and she noticed no side affects.

Good luck.
K.

I too contimplated fenugreek when my supply started to decrease but after I read that you should not take it if you are planning on getting pregnant again I decided that it was not for me if it would be harmful to my reproductive system. My pediatrician did not recommend it as she explained the side effects to me. These two things made me decide to go another way. I got the mothers milk without the fenugreek but it did not work for me either so unfortunately I had to suppliment formula and eventually stop breastfeeding. Good luck with your decision, ultimately go with your gut and what is best for your body and your baby's.

I never had any side effects, but I have heard that some women smell like maple syrup/urine smells like maple syrup. This supplement is also used for blood pressure issues, so if you are concerned at all about that, I would see if you can monitor your blood pressure while you are taking it. It worked well for me, I used it as my son got older and my milk production went down because I was pumping and only nursing 2x a day and he was wanting more in his bottles at daycare.

I just also wanted to respond about the tea...it is a very very weak version of Fenugreek, so you would have to drink ALOT of it to do anything. I used it in conjunction with the pills just to give me a little boost and help with the water intake.

Raspberry leaf may help, but I wouldnt' suggest it to anyone who is pregnant as it can also bring on labor.

I took fenugreek (and yes, it does make you stink a bit), drank Mothers Milk tea and followed some dietary advice such as eating oatmeal to increase supply when my twins were born. I've never had a production problem before, but was concerned that I'd have trouble keeping up with twins. No side effects to report and I'm still nursing them at 20 months. Good luck!!

loved it
and i drank a breastfeeding tea from whole foods i think i have seen it at the bigger jewels now too

Hi, D.!
I took Fenugreek when I came home from the hospital with my son (I had a C-Section, so I was in the hospital for 5 days.) My milk never "came in" while I was in the hospital. I honestly can't say if it worked or not b/c I had a breast reduction 9 years prior and that, more than likely, had a lot to do with my lack of milk production. So what I can tell you is the side effects I experienced and that taking the Fenugreek did not increase my milk supply. The pill made my skin smell like maple syrup. It was an overwhelming smell and I felt like a big stack of pancakes. Other than the odor, I did not have any side effects. Good luck.
M.

Hi D.,

This may sound strange, but drink a beer. Something to do with either the yeast or the hops. I have a non-alcoholic beer a few times a week and it seems to help. I have been noticing more fullness at night and even have to pump to avoid engorgement. Besides, after a long day a cold beer goes down good...

I tried fenugreek at the recommendation of my midwife who had used it herself with great success. It did not seem to help me, but I think I was already too far gone because of supplementing with formula. The only side effect I noticed was the maple syrup smell of my sweat and urine.

I think to make it effective you want to take 3-4 pills 3 times a day- I can't remember the size of the pills. You have to take quite a bit though.

I have heard that along with oatmeal, mother's milk tea, and blessed thistle are very effective. There are also prescription options like Reglan, Oxytocin nasal sprays, and domperidone (spelling?) which carry greater side effects but you could discuss with your doc. Also, simply increasing fluid intake can help.

Like other posters said, the FDA doesn't approve herbal supplements for medical treatment. Actually, no drugs are really "approved" for use during pregnancy and lactation because it would be unethical to test the drugs that way. So they do retrospective studies to see what happened to women and babies exposed to the drugs and grade them that way. Even Tylenol is not really approved! So don't worry too much about that.

I believe at 10 months your body is probably adjusting to breastfeeding well. Good luck to you.
The website www.kellymom.com is a great resource.

HI,

I've taken fenugreek too and there are no side effects. I'm a nutritionist and I do recommend it. MY pedritician recommended too but he said beer would help increase the milk. I suggest you feed frequently or pump and follow your babies cues for nursing. The more you nurse the more milk you'll produce but fenugreek does help.

D.

D.,
Congratulations for nursing 10 months so far!
You have gotten some good advice here, and I have heard good things about the herbs and teas that have been suggested. However, I believe you will get a purer, more potent supplement at a specialty health food store or natural grocery.
Also, give it more time, pump like crazy to stimulate milk production and call La Leche League. Your son is probably having a growth spurt, which means your body needs a few days to meet his increased demand. Also, if you have been nursing for 10 months, this should be no problem for you and your baby. You have been through the hardest time, which was in the beginning.
Good job.
Amy

Hi, D.. My son is 10 months old, too, and I've been taking fenugreek for a few weeks. I have actually noticed that I seem to have a bit more milk. Most breastfeeding ladies (including my lactation consultant nurse and my La Leche League leaders) agree that fenugreek is safe because it is just ONE supplement, not a multi-supplement, like "Mother's Milk --don't take this by the way-- so I decided to take fenugreek to increase my supply. I had noticed that my breasts didn't seem as full anymore, I could only get an oz. or two when expressing, and my son is a bit skinny, however, I did talk to my LLL leader and apparently around 9-12 months or so, a woman's breasts tend to become more efficient at producing milk so it doesn't need as much capacity/volume, so your breasts may not "feel full" anymore or look as big. Also, at 10 months, my son definitely knows his way around nursing and snacks when and if he feels like it since he's soooo actively crawling now. He's just naturally thin 'cause I'm very tall and my husband is skinny, but he seems satisfied after nursing, so I'm not as worried anymore. If you still hear your son gulping and swallowing and he seems satisfied, and he still has wet diapers, then your supply is probably fine. Take care!

Hi,
I took Fenugreek because I had a very low milk supply. It worked very well for me and I didn't have any side effects. I was taking 3 pills 3 times a day. I noticed results after 24 hours. Good Luck!

Good for you keeping up with the nursing!

Why do you think your supply is low is the first question you should ask yourself..... if you haven't had problems up to now-- you are probably doing fine.

I also took fenugreek with no problem. I also would add fennel to my water. I also drank the nursing mother's tea (which is yummy)

I'm STILL nursing my 2 1/2 year old and have one on the way in November!

My ped. recommended it-he said the oil is more potent. It tasted horrible! It didn't really work for me, but maybe I wasn't taking enough. I thought it was completely safe. Good luck!

I took Fenugreek with my second child because I had such a hard time getting enough milk with my first. I didn't have any side effects, but I didn't notice any great increace in milk production. I did have feelings of fullness and let down which I didn't have with my first but I gave up breastfeeding about two week into it when I got a yeast infection in my milk ducts so I'm not certain if thing would have gotten better over time or not. I do have a friend that took it and she says it helped her tremendously! She didn't have much milk for her first two children, but after taking fenugreek for her 3rd child, she was able to nurse without problems. Fenugreek was recommended to me by a lactation consultant as well and was approveed by my midwife but I don't recall if my pediatrician had any opinions about it.

Good Luck

A lactation consultant recommended Fenugreek to me too and it worked so well I only had to take it for a couple days (3 times a day) and my milk supply was back on track. The only side effect was that I smelled a little like maple syrup for a couple days. Anyway, my husband sometimes uses Fenugreek in cooking (for Indian dishes), so to me, it's pretty safe.

Good luck!

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