37 answers

Using Fenugreek Vs. Reglan

My husband has started to give my son a bottle of breast milk during the evening while I continue to pump. He will easily take 2-3 ounces in one feeding. I've noticed that since he gets milk out of the bottle easier than my nipple now, he wants more food. Last night he ate 3 ounces then went to breast for an additional 30 minutes, then my husband gave him another ounce in a bottle.

At night, I feel like I am not able to produce as much milk since we started the bottle. I've heard various recommendations on fenugreek and reglan. My OB/GYN prescribed me reglan since she didn't know the side effects for fenugreek on both my son and myself. Any recommendations?

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I used fenugreek with good results. You can get it at GNC, etc. Go to Kellymom.com for great advise. There's ton to read or you can post in their forum if you need more info. Just do a search for increasing milk supply.

J. - First, let me say that I'm no expert. I tried both Fenugreek and Reglan without success. But that was just me -- my body just couldn't produce enough milk and we had to go to formula. Since I tried both, I can say that you should definitely try the Fenugreek first, and then after 10 days if you don't feel it has produced a result, then try the Reglan. Reglan is a perscription, and it has many more side effects than the Fenugreek. I've had several other mothers tell me that the Fenugreek worked just fine for them and without all the side effects.

I hope this is helpful, and if you'd like to ask me any questions, please feel free to email me from my profile. Also, I live in Mt Prospect, and I have some of the tablets and tea left over that I'd gladly give you for free. (I used the Mother Love product mentioned by another mom.) My son was born in April, so they're still good.

Good luck!
M.

I used fenugreek with my daughter 2 years ago. I thought it worked really well. The only side affect I noticed was when I sweat it smelled like maple syrup.
I don't know anything about Reglan.
The Fenugreek worked the same day I took it and I got it from GNC for a giant bottle it was like $20.00.

Hope this helps.

More Answers

Your baby is only 3 weeks old and clusterfeeding at night is very common at this age. This is how they build your milk supply up to grow and thrive. Reglan comes with serious side effects, among which is depression. Fenugreek is great, but better suited for an older baby. Taken in the recommended dose at this point can cause your baby to have gas and upset tummy. If you start to take either of these 2 and then stop cold turkey, your supply can really suffer, so you have to be careful and wean off slowly if you decide to take it.

What you can do at this point to help your supply is drink TONS of water, eat plenty of calorie rich healthy foods, drink Mother's Milk tea, rest whenever possible, AND nurse on demand. I know you think your dh is helping you out by offering a bottle in the evenings, but the best thing for your supply is to have your baby nurse constantly during these evening hours. It doesn't last forever--at most til he's 8 weeks old. He's a little guy and he can rebuild your supply to what he needs if you continue to nurse him on demand, frequently.

Park yourself on the couch or comfy chair each night and just switch from side to side as he fusses. Don't worry about what you can pump out at this point. You are still establishing your milk supply, which is not fully established until around 6 weeks of age. Put your dh on diaper duty, swaddling patrol, and in charge of keeping your water bottle refilled. This is what will help you make more milk than a prescription.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

At 2 about 2 weeks and 6 weeks of age babies go through growth spurts. They will nurse all day to increase your milk supply to meet their growing needs. Breast feeding is supply and demand. If you start cutting out nursings your supply will diminish. Why are you taking medications? Do you know reglan's side effect is to dry you out, ie. dry mouth! It is given pre-op to keep patients from vomitting during surgery.

You need to increase your fluid intake (no caffiene) and let the baby feed on demand. You are still establishing your milk supply. Maybe a bottle at a different time of day would work better. Why bottles at all. There are many other things dads can do - like bathing, playing, changing!

1 mom found this helpful

I would not worry about taking something right now. Instead nurse on demand. Letting him nurse when he wants it is what will up your supply over anything else.....nursing is all supply and demand. When he wants to eat more than normal it is his way of making your body make more milk. So just feed when he wants it...it may be more in the evening because it is true that you may make slightly less milk at night....I know I do. You can still pump maybe once a week or so and have your husband give him a bottle if you want to get him used to the bottle, but don't get him TOO used to a bottle or he will not want the breast anymore...milk comes out of a bottle easier and if he gets used to it he won't want to do the work anymore, and then with pumping only your supply will wane quickly.

I would not take Reglan unless I had tried every other possibility. It has serious risks with it. I did use Fenugreek but only when I was pumping full time and nursing on the weekend....and pumping just doesn't create the supply that direct nursing does so I had to take it every once in a while to help out. The only side effect Fenugreek has is that it can make you and baby smell like maple syrup (and you should take this much for it to be effective), and it can lower your blood sugar (this is one of it's other uses) so if you have low blood sugar to begin with, probably wouldn't be good. But a PP is right that it can cause upset tummy/gas in a baby that little. Let your baby make your supply, it the way nursing was intended to work. Pump inbetween to build up a stash, or maybe once a week just to keep him acclimated. My 5 month old gets a bottle maybe once every 2 or 3 weeks and he does find with it.

Also, babies go through growth spurts during which they may want to feed more often to up your supply. 3 weeks is a common time for a growth spurt. Read here for more info on that: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/growth-spurt.html

I went through a time with my older son where he was nursing every half hour. He'd barely be done before he wanted more again. It is normal and will pass quickly as long as you go with the flow and nurse him when he's hungry.

1 mom found this helpful

Stop pumping and bottle feeding. Just nurse him when he's hungry and stop stressing out! His nursing will stimulate additional milk production. Let your husband do something else to bond with him.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the others. You should be working completely on supply and demand right now... Stop the bottle for a while. Cluster feeding is normal. Totally normal. Expect to be doing not much else but nursing for the first couple months. It will get easier.

1 mom found this helpful

The advice I got was not to give a bottle or any sort of artificial nipple until they are between 6 and 8 weeks old. You don't want him getting used to a bottle, in my experience it can really screw things up. If you are serious about nursing, stick with the nursing for now, the bottle can come later. I have used Mother Milk Plus, side effect is that it may cause gas, but it works.
Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,
A couple of things that LC's have told me in the past. Your baby is more efficient than a pump at keeping your milk production up...and what you do today affects your production tomorrow. Can you add an extra feeding or two at other times during the day? And are you getting enough rest, water, and nutrition? You might decide to nurse exclusively for a week until your body catches up to your baby's new appetite. Good luck and congratulations on your new little one!

1 mom found this helpful

From what I have heard, starting the bottle can start between 5 and 8 weeks. Right now your supply is still getting established and responding to your son's need. I would hold off on the bottles for a few more weeks. You can still add a pumping in once a day at the same time (around 1 hour after a feeding)...but you can also wait on that too. Give your body a chance to adjust to your son. The female body is amazing. When he needs more your body will produce more. Feeding on demand is the best way to establish a good supply. Some moms do need herbal support...but give your body a chance first. It's still early.

hi! fenugreek has worked great for me. also there are teas with names like "mother's milk" and other lactation-oriented names at whole foods that seem to help. i also wanted to mention that it might not feel like your son is getting that much milk out when you breastfeed compared to when you can see him guzzle down a bottle, but trust that your body was MADE to make milk for him and it's doing a great job! i still feel like i'm not producing enough milk for my 8 month old, and i can't pump even an ounce to save my life, but my son is super healthy and in the 90th percentiles for size. it has taken me a while to fully trust that my body is doing it's job. unless your son's physician says he's malnourished (which i highly doubt!!) i'd just keep doing what you're doing!

and count your lucky stars that you can also pump and have your husband help out with a feeding. i could never get that to work! :)

J.:

your son may well be taking more milk than he needs.
that said, fenugreek is an herbal supplement/ reglan is a pharmaceutical.

the concern with reglan is that it crosses the blood/brain barrier and there can be side effects - which I will presume your md discussed with you.

what type of pump are you using? that can make a difference too.

P., RLC, IBCLC
Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions

Do you need to be bottle feeding? With my first, I felt a lot of pressure from relitives (my mother-in-law in general) to make sure that my baby would take a bottle because they wanted to feed him. There are other ways that your husband and family can bond with your baby that's not through a bottle. Your baby it the best breast pump in the world, it's only been three weeks, for first time moms, feeling like you're producing enough and on routine can take up to two-three months. Relax ditch the bottle, and follow your instincts and your baby. If he wants to nurse all night let him. If he nurses better on one side than the other then let him stay on as long as he want on that side. That will also insure that he's getting more hind-milk witc is more rich in the fat and nutrients the he needs. These first few months are really tough on new moms, but remember, it doesn't last forever. Both of my kids are now in Kidergarten and preschool, and I wish we could go back to those early days and cheerish them a little more. Congratulations!

Hi J.,
Congrats on the decision to breastfeed. My little guy was too premature to continue pumping till he could eat.
I did not know they could prescribe Reglan for milk production. My son is on it for reflux and his speech therapist STRONGLY recommends that he be taken off it. Something to do with misfiring Neurons, or non-firing neurons?? The Digestive Health Drs swear by Reglan because there is no other drug on the market to treat preemies with GERD. I would recommend that you look into the alternative, as your son can receive the negative side effects of the Reglan.

Enjoy your munchkin, he will grow and grow and grow so fast...

PS: My son's nurse helped me to make the decision to quit pumping b/c it just wasn't working out (he was 4 months early and "every two hours" was IMPOSSIBLE). If it comes down to it, do not feel guilty if your son needs to be bottle fed. Mine is just fine and we are still bonding more each day (although I do wish he could have at least tried the breast!).

There are lots of herbs/supplements you can use to increase your milk supply. Visit www.lowmilksupply.org for lots of suggestions.
Good for you for trying to make more milk and not just giving up :)

Hi J.!
I'm glad to express my personal feelings on pumping and breast feeding. I did the same thing. It was harder to feed the baby more then what I thought I had. But the biggest thing is the connection between your breasts and the needs of the baby. If you plan to breast feed for the first year you might want to kick out the bottle usage less then what you are giving him. I feel that when I would double a milks production together, I made less.. and I did make less for my baby. To produce you have to feed it from the breast. Pumps in my opinion are used when absolutely needed. No baby, have to pump. I went back to work after 6 weeks, with pumping late at night. I worked an hour away and by the time I got home, my husband had already fed the little one. I was very engorged, and the more often this happened the less milk I produced. I finally dried up at 4months. My plan was to breast feed her through the first year. She ended up being lactose intolerant and the formula got expensive. Remember that the more stress you put on yourself the less productive you can be. If you can stay calm and know that your baby is getting nourished, sometimes some babies need to stay on longer then 30min. To feel full. But remember that all babies eat differently. You can't go by one guideline we are given with our first babies. If I were you and you are capable of being around the baby all the time, I would stop using the bottle if you want to continue breastfeeding for a year. I wouldn't put the bottle into usage until your body is able to produce more milk to save.
I hope this helps you.

Sounds like he is going through a growth spurt. They go through those at around 1-2 wks, 3-4 weeks and then again at 3, 6, 12 mths. You just need to nurse more...not pump and your milk will grow to accomadate your baby. I was nursing about every 45 mins around that age for about 30 mins. You may not produce as much milk with pumping. Is there a reason why you can't just nurse exclusively? That will always maximize your amount of milk.

Take care and keep up the good work!!

H. (mom of a 23 mth old still happily nursing, and never supplimented)

J.- Drugs are acidic and ARE NOT natural I>E> bad for the body. ALL herbs are alkalizing and natural. Mother nature put everything here on this earth for a purpose. I use fenugreek, marshmallow and thistle to increase breastmilk production. These have been in use for thousands of years--absolutely no side effects whatsoever and only benefits you and baby.

I have four children and am counseling 4 women that are currently nursing now using these herbs.

I have more info, websites, etcc...let me know if you want these and send me an email so I can attached the info.

T.
Detox Coach

I would stop with the bottle for a while. It messes with the supply as you won't get as much pumping. I would only use the bottle very intermittently just so baby does know how to use it. the best way to get your supply up is to have baby nurse a lot. If you then pump in addition, you should get your supply up in relatively quick order.

I have taken both Fenugreek and Reglan. Fenugreek is just an herbal remedy, so it doesn't hurt you or the baby. I didn't get much result from using Fenugreek other than smelling like maple syrup. I took Reglan after each of my children and although it works wonderfully (it doubled my milk production), be careful of the side effects. I had no issues taking it the first time with my daughter. It helped tremendously. When my son was born, I took it again and ended up with a bout of depression. I've never had depression issues before in my life and couldn't figure out what was wrong with me until a friend mentioned it. After re-reading the side effects of reglan, I realized it was the culprit. Just stopping one dose of reglan, I woke up the next morning feeling like a new woman. So, just be careful. If you aren't getting sleep, plenty of nutrition and fluids and are stressed, you are going to reduce your milk supply and increase your odds of depression if taking reglan. Good luck.

Fenugreek worked great for me! Best of luck to you!

H.

Tons of water. Like to the point where you feel bloated. If you figure your baby is taking a few ounces of liquid from your body at every feeding, your body is going to prioritize and reserve enough fluids to keep your vital organs safe, so not getting that extra water can reduce the amount of milk you produce. I took fenugreek and blessed thistle together at the advice of my LC. It's a lot of pills to take every day, but it did help me for sure. The most important thing is to stay super-hydrated though. Good luck!

I did not try reglan but I did use Fenugreek. I agree with this statement made by another MOM...

I didn't get much result from using Fenugreek other than smelling like maple syrup.

I reeked of maple syrup. My underarms, my urine (TMI - but you should know). I was VERY self conscious about it.

Why are you bottle feeding at 3 weeks? Just curious. I also agree with the nursing on demand. Your son is the best pump, and the more he nurses, the more milk you will produce.

Good Luck! :)

I took both, and they both work. As far as I know, there is no reason you can't take the fenugreek supplement while taking Reglan also, although I don't know if that helped at all.

I agree that you should not be pumping while you have your baby available, though - nothing helps your supply like nursing, period. If you really want to pump, pump after he has nursed. I have tested this with a special baby scale, etc - it's not possible to pump as much as he will get when he nurses in a session, so the idea that he's going to get more in a bottle doesn't make sense - you won't be able to keep up.

And DO NOT skip that overnight feeding for a bottle! There is a hormonal effect that happens with night feedings that helps to increase supply.

Trust me, I had supply problems with both babies - nurse frequently (during a growth spurt, you can just hang out and put baby on the boob all day - you will be amazed how your supply will increase 24 hours later). Never give a bottle unless you absolutely have to, and nurse overnight. Drink lots of water. Some of us have to nurse more often, too - that's just my own experience, but it was not uncommon for me to put my kid to the breast after only 45 minutes in the first weeks.

Hi J.!

You need to be well hydrated to make milk. Make sure you are drinking lots of water, especially in the late afternoons leading up to the pumping/bottle time.

Also, even more important - you need PROTEIN to produce milk. Eat frequent snacks throughout the day that are proteins mixed with a fruit and/or vegetable. Cottage cheese with peaches or pears, apples with peanut butter or cheese, carrots and a slice of turkey, eggs with broccoli, you get the idea. Make sure you are eating and drinking enough - you should be eating 5-6 times a day. They don't have to be large amounts you just need constant fuel for you to keep up with the constant fuel needs of your baby.

It's also growth spurt time, these babies grow so much so quickly. He will get what he needs. Just relax and enjoy him so your let down reflex kicks in. And you may want to wait a few more weeks on the bottle feeding so you both don't upset your new routine of nursing.

Good luck!

I used Fenugreek when I nursed my daughter because my milk supply just didnt come in like it did for my other kids (age had alot to do with it). After 3 years I havent experienced any adverse affects for either of us.

I have used Fenugreek and Reglan at the same time. Both together really help your supply. I had no side effects with either one. I do agree with the other posts though.... if your baby is only 3 weeks old, the best is to constantly put him on the breast and allow him to nurse. That will help your supply. You can also rent a hospital graded pump. I didn't have to use any herbs or Prescription until the 6th month. At that time, I returned to work part-time and my body was expecting a cycle, so my supply decreased dramatically. I have been dealing with low supply issues every since that time and using Fenugreek and Reglan. And successfully breastfed up to this point - almost 12 months!!

Hi, J.! My son was a sleepy eater, so was not stimulating great production. My OB, his pediatrician, and my lactation consultant all recommended Fenugreek. I took 3 capsules, 3 times per day, and nursed successfully until we weaned just last month - he was 22 months old! I can say that the Fenugreek definitely helped, and there are no side effects other than a slightly maple smell. Could definitely be worse!

Good luck!

N.

J. - First, let me say that I'm no expert. I tried both Fenugreek and Reglan without success. But that was just me -- my body just couldn't produce enough milk and we had to go to formula. Since I tried both, I can say that you should definitely try the Fenugreek first, and then after 10 days if you don't feel it has produced a result, then try the Reglan. Reglan is a perscription, and it has many more side effects than the Fenugreek. I've had several other mothers tell me that the Fenugreek worked just fine for them and without all the side effects.

I hope this is helpful, and if you'd like to ask me any questions, please feel free to email me from my profile. Also, I live in Mt Prospect, and I have some of the tablets and tea left over that I'd gladly give you for free. (I used the Mother Love product mentioned by another mom.) My son was born in April, so they're still good.

Good luck!
M.

J.
I agree with pretty much what everyone else has responded to you. First of all, congratulations on your baby and your decision to breastfeed. You are doing a wonderful thing for your little one (and yourself) and it can be so rewarding. It can also be stressful. At almost 7 months, my daughter and I still have our struggles with my supply. I tried fenugreek before but I tried it in the More Milk Plus tincture by Motherlove and I don't think I used enough because I never smelled like maple syrup. Other moms have said that to truly see an increase you also end up smelling like maple syrup. Now I'm trying just Fenugreek capsules that I bought at GNC. We'll see.
I've also tried Reglan. It helped my supply, but also made me feel very strange, almost intoxicated, after taking it for 3 weeks. Because it crosses the blood brain barrier, it can cause CNS effects, like depression and tiredness. I never felt depressed, in fact almost the opposite, like I'd had couple of glasses of wine and was feeling really good (not good when you are working and taking care of your child!). But some women never have a problem and get great results.
And, as far as pumping and giving a bottle at 3 weeks...Because most babies cluster feed and feed and feed in the evenings before they go to bed in an attempt to fill themselves up before the long night when hopefully they sleep for awhile, they tend to eat alot at that time. This also helps your supply because the more he eats the more milk your body is told to make. Maybe try to pump once a day first thing after his first feed of the day since you may be pretty full after hopefully sleeping awhile at night and then have your husband give him a bottle as soon as he gets home from work. That gives you a break from the day and then you can still cluster feed all evening to help your supply. Obviously this may not work with your schedule, but I wish I would have known about all this when my daughter was smaller because I think I ruined my supply by not breastfeeding or pumping enough.
I'm not sure if any of this will help, but I hope you find something that works. Even though my daughter only probably gets drops of breastmilk when she nurses these days, we both seem to enjoy it and it's better than nothing.
Good luck
J. M

First, let me say this: A doctor who cares for breastfeeding women really should know more about fenugreek, and maybe you can be the one to help educate him/her with what you find out yourself. I would try safe natural methods to increase breastmilk production first because breastfeeding is natural! Honestly, I don't know anything about Reglan.

I used fenugreek capsules (not the tea--I thought it was icky and had to drink A LOT to get results) with my first son when I returned to work after my 3-month maternity leave. I was also worried about my milk production because I pumped 3x/day during the week. The fenugreek really did seem to increase my milk production, and the only side effect was that my urine and sweat smelled like maple syrup (it's the artificial flavor used in most store brands of maple syrup, so it's safe).

Even while using the fenugreek, I found that my son did want to nurse more at night, but I attributed it to his missing me during the daytime and wanting more than just the milk; he wanted comfort and closeness. I used the evenings and weekends to help boost my supply and nursed him on demand. I also wore him in a baby carrier/sling to keep him close, and that seemed to help, too.

I was a single mom working full-time, getting my master's degree, and going to court regularly to iron out the details of visitation, custody, child support, etc., so stress really took a toll on my breastfeeding efforts, although I did make it almost to my son's first birthday.

Best wishes to you! If you need more fantastic breastfeeding advice, don't forget about LaLeche League (www.llli.org)!

P.S. I'm nursing my second child still: he's 16 months old and never had a drop of formula or cow's milk of any kind. It can be done if you commit yourself and get the support and help you need!

I used fenugreek with good results. You can get it at GNC, etc. Go to Kellymom.com for great advise. There's ton to read or you can post in their forum if you need more info. Just do a search for increasing milk supply.

J., when I went back to work, I had a huge issue with supply and trying to keep it up.

I agree with pp's about milk supply generally keeps up with demand. And that pumps are not as efficient as the baby. Even some of the high end double electric pumps will never yield as much milk as a baby will so even if you use Reglen or Fenugreek, you will have mixed results if your child does not need as much as you think.

First off, do not underestimate the importance of hydration in this time! You are still recovering from your own post partum and you need liquids as well as you need moisture in your body to produce milk. It is very common to seem like you don't have enough by the evening simply from dehydration. While normally you should be having 8-10 cups a day, while BF'ing that number should be more like 12-20 cups a day.

Second, a book I loved and got a huge lift in my production was "The Breast Feeding Diet". Changing my diet to the recommendations of the book was a huge help. And it's a healthy diet as well that will help you lose post partum weight, but still be healthy. It is not a weight loss book. It is a book to help you generate good healthy milk. Weight loss is just a nice by-product.

Those two items helped me early on. As my daughter started requiring more milk and production was not keeping up, Fenugreek was EXTREMELY valuable. I took the pills as well as "Mother's Milk" Tincture. It combines other herbal galactagogues as well. Fennel tea is also supposed to be good as well as "Mother's Milk Tea" by Traditional Medicinals. With a little honey, they were lovely.

A great web site to help would be www.kellymom.com. It has a lot of very helpful advice on keeping supply up.

Ultimately though, need is the primary thing. If your body feels that the milk is not needed it is not produced. and around 3 months, the breasts get very efficient so it may not feel like you're producing any when in actuality you are producing what your son needs.

I personally would hold off on the galactagogues until your son is older and try changes in H2O and diet. Those alone may help enough.

Good luck!

Jeniffer, please consider that no pump can stimulate you to produce more milk like nursing. If you really need to pump yourself then please do it after you have breastfed the baby.
If you drink and eat well, probably you won't need to use fenugreek or reglan at all.
By the way, congratulations on you baby!

The fenugreek is absoultely safe and delicious as a tea. Easiest is the Nursing Mama's tea selection available in tea bags at most any health food stores. They taste lovely and do work and have no side effects for you or your beautiful babe. Herbs have stood the test of time and are what was put on this earth for humans to use. Man-made chemical drugs tested for 2-20 years, however, who knows? We cannot possibly know all the side effects of them, esp. when combined with other chemicals in our food, water, soaps, household cleaners, etc...

By the way, the more baby-sucking stimulation your nipples get, the more milk you will make. You can also begin stimulating them with your fingers some time before your baby comes to nurse, thus getting a head start so he doesn't have to wait for the "let down".

Best of luck to you!

Hi J.,

I am still nursing my 13 month old 6/day. I have consulted with Lactation consultants,etc, read. The best herbal conbination is More Milk Plus capsules, by Motherlove. You will see your milk supply increase in 24 hours. You can purchase it online or at Whole Foods. Keep up the good work.
D.

I used fenugreek with my daughter 2 years ago. I thought it worked really well. The only side affect I noticed was when I sweat it smelled like maple syrup.
I don't know anything about Reglan.
The Fenugreek worked the same day I took it and I got it from GNC for a giant bottle it was like $20.00.

Hope this helps.

Personally, I notice I need to drink double my fluids when I pump or I dont get enough.

As long as you keep feeding him, he should be getting enough milk. The pump does not get as much milk as your son does when he nurses. And even if you think you are empty, if he is still sucking then the milk will keep coming out. Also, if you feed him with a bottle make sure you pump for that missed feeding so your supply doesn't go down. One more thing, he might be going through a growth spurt for a couple of days and that might be why he wants to eat all the time. I have a 4 month old and felt the same way and talked to a lactation consultant and she said as long as you nurse them, they will always get enough milk. Good luck.

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