Fenugreek Doesn't Work the Second Time?

Updated on October 19, 2009
M.A. asks from Austin, TX
38 answers

I am the mother of an eight month old. I work full time. When I first went back to work, when my daughter was 4 months old, my milk production decreased dramatically. I followed some advice I found on the web and started taking fenugreek pills. It worked wonders! But, my supply decreased again when she was 7 months old. I tried fenugreek again, just as I had the first time, but it didn't increase my supply. I've now started supplementing with formula. Has anyone else had this problem? I'm considering calling my doctor for a prescription to Reglan, but I'm nervous about the side effects as well as any problems my daughter may have if it gets into the breastmilk. Any advice?

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A.D.

answers from Houston on

You should try Mother's Milk tea at Whole Foods or another health food store. It did wonders for me. My daughter is 10 months and I still have A. abundance amount of milk. She pretty much is exclusively breastfed. I only pump once at work too.

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A.W.

answers from Houston on

Mother's Milk Tea worked for me too, but I faced not being able to pump at work, which is a must. I gave up after only getting an ounce out a day! (pumping every two hours for two weeks). Just a few weeks of not nursing/pumping caused this problem when I first went back to work. The Mother's Milk also seemed to help my daughters digestive system.

1 mom found this helpful
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A.G.

answers from Spartanburg on

good for you for breastfeeding. working and nursing can be tough!

I think you've gotten some wonderful responses. try everything listed!

I tried all the things they've listed, and some helped. but what helped me most was domperidone. i had to have it compounded by a pharmacists, and insurance didn't cover it. but it doubled my supply within 48 hours. I was pumping exclusively for a sick baby.

best wishes to you.

1 mom found this helpful
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N.M.

answers from Corpus Christi on

Are you pumping often at work??? In order to keep supply up with demand, frequency is most important. It's more important than long nursing sessions. I'd suggest trying to pump every 1 1/2 to 2 hours and see if it helps. If you've tried that already, contact a lactation consultant in your area. Usually, OB/GYNs or pediatricians have some they can recommend.

1 mom found this helpful
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L.D.

answers from San Antonio on

I took Fenugreek with my first (I was back to work at that time) and although it worked I did not take it for #2 and #3 b/c I read that it is related to the peanut plant and we have a family history of food allergies.

However, pump as frequently and as long as you can, drink water, and relax. I had limited time to pump at work which made it hard. I now stay home but I went through periods of low milk supply. I got through by nursing frequently, drinking water and eating oatmeal. Some of the literature suggests that oatmeal can increase supply and I swear it has helped me-I eat a bowl every morning! Good Luck and good for you-Bfeeding and back to work, tough stuff!!

1 mom found this helpful
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H.E.

answers from Austin on

I would like to offer my personal advice from experience. I breastfed my daughter for a full year and worked full-time. I would suggest that you not only pump at least 3 times at work, but you pump until you can't get a single drop out and then stay on the pump for a minute more. You should also drink a bottle of water while doing this. When I went back to work at 6 weeks, I pumped at 5am, 7:45, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4:45 and then breastfed her when I got off work. Once she got about your 7 month olds age, I believe I pumped at 5am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm and then fed her when I got off work. I also pumped empty right before bed.

I really hope that helps. YOu should also have a REALLY good pump. I used the Medela Pump in Style... The more demand, the more supply. Keep a clear head, relax and "try" not to stress... HB

1 mom found this helpful
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D.S.

answers from Houston on

Same thing happened to me, but I was ready to stop anyway, so no big deal for me.

Personally, I would not go with RX from doctor. Just as you mentioned....side affects.

Try increasing the dosage of your fenugreek.

Hope this helps.

Deborah

1 mom found this helpful
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J.V.

answers from Austin on

I understand your frustration. You got a lot of great advice so I will add one thing.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. The days where I am not constantly hydrating, my supply goes down. For every cup of caffeinated drink, you have to drink 2 cups of water (my rule :) )

Mother's Milk Tea: I boil water in the morning and put a tea bag in a quart container. Add a little maple syrup-- it makes it delicious! I like to then put it in the fridge. I make sure I drink the whole thing by the end of the day. It really helps. I ran out of the tea and my supply is going down. I need to get to the store! HEB has it as do herbal stores. Pick me up a box please :) hehe

Hang in there!

J.

ps if you are working full time, it might be hard to pump enough to feed your baby because pumping is not as effective as nursing for most people and besides, you probably cannot get away from working as much as you would like to.

Do your best but do not let yourself fall into a guilt trip just because you are supplementing. Be proud that you are working so hard to give her the best start you can.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.C.

answers from Austin on

It is natural that your milk supply decreases some after returning to work. Also at this age your baby may not be taking in quite as much milk. Here are some things that worked for me. I pumped at least 3 times a day. Sometimes I would have to do 4 or 5 times when my supply got too low. Also remember to drink about a gallon of water a day. The more fluids you take in the better. I used a Mothers milk teas and I also took Mothers Milk Capsules which worked wonders. Also try and find time to relax. I found that when my stress level went up my milk supply went down and vice versa. Most importantly get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep is one of the number one causes of milk reduction. Good luck and hang in there. You are almost over the hump.

1 mom found this helpful
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A.P.

answers from Austin on

Go to the Herb Bar. They are so helpful there.
Anytime I have a question about something like that, I always check them first and they usually have the answer.
Good Luck-Angela Peace

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N.R.

answers from Killeen on

Before you go that route try mothers milk tea it worked for me when fenugreek didn't.

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L.S.

answers from Houston on

Hello, This may sound crazy but I breast fed my son when he was born, he'll be 24 years old this month, and the dr. told me if I drank one beer a day it would keep my milk coming. It works. Be sure and ask your Dr. about it, they may frown on that this day and age. But it works. I am not a drinker but I breast fed for 10 1/2 months, he weaned himself. Good luck. and God bless.

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K.V.

answers from Austin on

Remember the more you "nurse" (or pump), the more you will make.Make sure you are drinking plenty of water as that is a huge factor. And make an effort to take deep breaths and relax your shoulders. Increase the frequency in pumpings. If you pump 4 times a day, try to add two extra pumping times. You may not see a huge difference at first, but it kick starts your body into thinking, "hey, we need more milk here!"
K.

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A.N.

answers from Austin on

M. -

The only think I can think of is beer - ha ha. Seriously, when I was nursing my son, this was 20 years ago - there was a study done that beer increases milk supply. I only drank the mini - Miller beer I think it was. It was just a little each day (I otherwise don't drink) and it did seem to work. This was not a lot - I don't know how you feel about this but may be worth a try. It took me years to dry up after my son weaned - I don't know if that's just me or if it was the beer.

Alli

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K.D.

answers from Houston on

Have you contacted LaLeche League, angels who give incredibly valuable information to nursing mothers?......Nursing mothers naturally hit several plateaus where they feel milk supply is inadequate, in folklore "drying up."However,if there's any milk at all, there's no problem except that your child has had a growth spurt and needs increased amounts. The solution usually is that you need to spend a day or so letting her nurse as constantly as she wants, encouraging her to do so, which will stimulate greater production.The supplementation with formula is counter-productive, as it lessens the stimulation you need for production and you will, indeed, dry up.

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M.T.

answers from College Station on

Hi- This happened to me as well. My milk started to decrease when my son was 5 months while I was fininshing nursing school. I took it as natures way of weaning my son at 5 1/2 months. I do not recommend any prescription drugs to increase your milk supply.If you are adamant about nursing your baby for a set time period try natural substances. The internet has great resources.

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K.G.

answers from Houston on

there is a tea you can buy call mothersmilk tea...it works great you can buy it at any health food store. you just put a tea bag in hot waterlet it sit for a few minutes and drink thats it.

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A.M.

answers from Corpus Christi on

My Great Grandfather told me to drink a beer. I did both baby and I slept really well that night. By morning I had produced so much milk my bed was wet. Oh my gosh an enourmous amount of milk. I'd suggest half a beer. Papa told me that's what the wet nurses used to do when he was little.

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D.B.

answers from Houston on

Call the La Leche League or any WIC office.

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N.G.

answers from Houston on

Hi M.---

First of all, how many pills of the Fenugreek were you taking? Fenugreek works best when you pump or nurse 7 times in a 24 hour period, so if you aren't pumping or nursing as much it isn't as effective. THere is another herbal suppliment that works well-More Milk Plus. It contains Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, Nettle and Fennel-all safe. This usually begins to work within 24 hours. If you want more information, you can go to our store at www.thebreastfeedingshoppe.com and look under Herbal Suppliments-this is a very popular item for us. Also, a lot of moms say that oatmeal works wonders too--try eating some in the morning and maybe some oatmeal cookies during the day.

Hope this helps,

N.
The Breastfeeding Shoppe

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R.L.

answers from Washington DC on

This happened to me to. I pumped like crazy for 2 weeks, didn't get an increase in output, then I started fenugreek increased until I saw a result which was 4 pills three times a day along with blessed thistle 3 pills three times a day. Output was back to where it was before. Then I stopped, wasn't able to pump a couple of times and the output again decreased to half the amount. I started the fenugreek again up to 6 pills 3 times a day and no increase. I stopped for a week then again 4 pills three times a day with blessed thistle for a week and no increase. So now I'm looking into domperidone but it's way more expensive than fenugreek.

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K.H.

answers from Austin on

M.,

Below is a link to a similar request. Instead of re-typing my lengthy answer...I hope this helps
http://www.mamasource.com/request/1887302033438932993

K., mama to
Catherine, 4y
Samuel, 15m

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J.W.

answers from Houston on

Dear M.
Is Reglan the same as Eglanol? Eglanol may be another trade name for Reglan - it can enhance breast milk supply even in mothers who adopt. I wouldn't worry about taking it, in fact if it is the same drug (you could check it on Mayo Clinic's drug list] it is also a calmative - all which helps to bring in extra milk.
A missionary once gave us all Alfalfa tablets to take - I kid you not - this is what cows eat!! All the breastfeeding mums in the church took them!
But basically, the rule of thumb is 'The more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you will make' and don't ever underestimate your milk because God sends the milk with the baby....as long as you are eating a balanced diet [important to continue with your pregnancy vitamins too] and drinking nutritive beverages and enough of them - there is no reason why you cannot conitnue to feed your baby.
I know this sounds impossible - but try to get more rest - ask a trusted relation [such as one of the grans] to take over while you have a long sleep.
All the best! You have done exceptionally well thus far...!
Kind regards
Jewel

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S.B.

answers from Killeen on

As for the side effects of Reglan, I had none. I can't say that it helped my production much though. I tried it during both of my children. Nothing helped me produce milk. I think I'm just a dud. Haha..But like I said I had no side effects. In fact, it also helped my nausea. The only bad thing is that the pill tastes horrible. But that's it. haha

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S.K.

answers from Houston on

I feel for you..I had lots of probs with my 3rd child in the breastfeeding area (but I didn't want to give up). I went to the hospital lactation dept (who were awesome) and they told me to take a large dose of fenugreek (5 pills 3 times a day) and also to take goat's rue (you can get it in pill or liquid form - I got the pill form as the liquid is supposed to taste horrible). I found it on line and at The Breastfeeding Shoppee down on FM1960. I also got the hospital grade pump (I had my own electric one but the hosp one is much better). I talked about it to my pediatrition at one of my daughter's well baby check and she gave me a precription for the pump (which I didn't know they could do) so insurance paid towards the rental.

I managed to carry on feeding her for 4 more months (through a few tough times and with the occassional supplimental bottle of formula) and decided as I had 2 older children that I would change her to formula at 6 months (my others breastfed til 8 months). My little one is fine and my pedi said the first 6 months are the crucial months for breastfeeding. I am glad I stuck with it and the additional goat's rue helped plus the large dose of fenugreek.

I hope this helps

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K.T.

answers from Houston on

Have you thought about the possibility that she is going through a growth spurt? Maybe she's trying to increase your milk supply for her needs. Their needs change at certain milestones. If that's not the case, I wouldn't worry. Just be grateful that you can supplement and still nurse her. While working full time with my 2nd, I had to supplement with formula at day-care. He sometimes had bottles of breastmilk, sometimes formula. He nursed in the mornings and in the evenings. I applaud you for nursing and working - that's hard work!!!
K.

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S.W.

answers from Denver on

Stay off the Reglan. All drugs have side effects. It is best try a different route. My lactation consultant also recommended Blessed Thistle along with Fenugreek. I took both, and the dairy was open the next day. The more you supplement with artificial milk (formula) the less your body produces. Your milk supply is based on supply and demand. You many need to pump or nurse more frequently. If you still need help, you can call La Leche League and talk to someone directly.

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C.G.

answers from Austin on

Hi M. -

Looks like you already got some really good suggestions! I would reiterate the "be sure to drink plenty of water, and limit your caffeine". Also, you might try Blessed Thistle with the Fenugreek.

Stress can also reduce your milk supple. so starting back to work could have something to do with it. If you are not pumping during the day that also can have something to do with it, the whold supply & demand thing!

GOOD LUCK!

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A.G.

answers from Killeen on

Try nursing one side, pumping what is left and pumping the other side that is still full. Then the next nursing, nurse the other side and pump the rest and pump the previous side. This has always increased my production. Pumping removes the milk but does not stimulate production, at least in my experience of nursing 4 children. Nurse your daughter more and for longer if you can and in a couple of weeks you will see things come back up, if it worked like mine did. Don't take medication, it is toxic to your body, just nurse more, this is the way we were designed.

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K.D.

answers from Austin on

I'm on the Austin Attached Families Yahoo group, & there is frequent discussion there regarding low-supply issues. In fact if you join you could search the archives for all of the ideas women have presented there. My problem was the opposite, so I don't have any great ideas, but they do! Good luck,
K.,
Mama to Milo
2.75 & still breastfed

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L.L.

answers from Orlando on

I don't think that it would not work the second time. It worked great for me. I also drank Mothers' milk tea from the gnc stores along with it. It really works.

Plus, be sure you are relaxed and using the same regular methods for pumping that work. You may be a bit stressed (from going back to work maybe), this will stop the flow also. So maybe go back to the old landmark and recall or research what works naturally too! Examine your routine and what your lifestyle may be like today compared to before. You might find drastic differences as you compare.

P.S. If you click on the "Infants and then Breastfeeding and Lactation" category to your left ( I think you have to click "Requests and Responses up top" first and you will find a lot of advice for this, some most recent too.)

Also see the Reduced Milk Production below! Great Pumping!!

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A.G.

answers from Austin on

Hi M. - One of my blog readers did a guest post about increasing breastmilk supply that you can see here http://www.entrepremusings.com/index.php/2007/11/11/guest...

She struggled with low breast milk supply with all of her children and found something wonderful for her now 3rd child.

A.

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C.P.

answers from Houston on

I heard that oatmeal can increase the breast milk supply. Have you tried pumping at work to keep the supply up? Also, I'm not sure where you live, but there should be a local La Leche League group that you can contact for help, they have been a lot of help for me. You can google LLL and the city you are in, and lots of information should be available to you. I have found them to be more help than my doctor, especially if your doctor did not breast feed. Hope I helped!

A.R.

answers from Houston on

It worked for me. If I was pumping I kept my baby close by or had a picture of my baby on the pump. Hang in there it gets easier...
Don't give up it will work!!!!!

La Leche helped me a whole lot too!!!!!!

LLLI | Home
La Leche League International and mothering through breastfeeding. You Can Help! ... Copyright © 2008 by La Leche League International and those posting information. ...

www.llli.org

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S.E.

answers from Austin on

Beer does work but the darker beer is better. Like guiness. You must take enough fenugreek that you can smell it on your skin like maple syrup. You must pump at the same time every day. Get a free pump from WIC. They have hospital grade pumps. The more your baby is at the breast the more milk you will make(if not the baby than the pump) Your baby is NOT weaning at 7 months! Babys need to be exclusively breastfeed for the first year at least! Good luck.
Sam Evans
Wholisticmidwifery.com

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M.R.

answers from Austin on

There was a drug on the market (Reglan) doctors used to prescribe for lack of breastmilk (I took it and it doubled my supply) well doctors don't prescribe it anymore..... therefore I used to combine fenugreek with blessed thistle (drops or pills). I used the blessed thistle drops. I made a concoction of mother's milk tea, blessed thistle drops, I also added some crystal light to it (for flavor, I can't stand the taste of tea) and topped my glass off with ice cubes to make a cold drink out of it. If you like the taste of tea, make the mother's milk tea and add the blessed thistle drops and swallow it down with some fenugreek pills : ) I have done this with both my children and need to get to the vitamin store as I am about to have a third child. HTH, it worked for me : )

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S.T.

answers from Houston on

Some people have a hard time pumping and their bodies naturally start loosing milk. With me, I never got more then 2 oz and then by 3 or 4 weeks I went down to half an oz. It was awful. And nothing helped me. That happened with my first twl babies The second two I exclusively breastfed and pumped only when I was leaving them with someone and my milk supply was great.

I wouldn't think the fenugreek would stop working. But stress can do it too...
S.

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C.S.

answers from Killeen on

have you tried mother's milk tea?

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