Low Milk Supply and Herbal Supplements

Updated on December 23, 2015
J.F. asks from Dublin, OH
21 answers

I am exclusively breastfeeding my almost 5 mo old son. He has dairy and soy intollerances (blood in his stool and diarhea). Other than that, he is a big, healthy boy (off the charts on almost all categories). Developmentally, he seems ready to start solids (plenty of saliva, interest in mom and dad eating, chewing on everything, and getting up in the middle of the night to eat when he was previously sleeping through the night). The pediatricians don't want him to start because of his allergy/intollerance issues. Unfortunately, my milk supply isn't enough to sustain him these days. I have some frozen milk that I use to supplement, but that won't last long. I stay very hydrated, and I've been pumping every two hours when I'm away from him, but that isn't really helping. I've tried taking More Milk Plus, but I think my son is having a reaction to it (very runny green pooh)--it is made with Fenugrek which is related to soybean. A lactation consultant suggested Shatavari but it comes in a capsule and capsules are usually made with some kind of soy ingredient, plus, I don't know of a reliable source to get it. I'd appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for your advice! We now have an answer to the issue. Many of you suggested that he might be teething--HE IS! He has 4 teeth coming in! The poor guy is miserable!

Some of you asked why I thought my supply wasn't enough. I felt that way because my breasts were really empty by 5pm (moreso than normal). He'd be sucking but he wasn't swallowing for long periods of time.

I stopped taking the herbal supplement and am maintaining my supply by keeping hydrated, feeding on demand, and eating a little oatmeal. I don't eat a lot because he's had a little blood in his stool lately. I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, but I thought it was causing bloody stool, so I stopped a couple of months ago. Is it possible that oatmeal could be the culprit??

Anyway, thank you again to everyone!

More Answers



answers from Columbus on

Hi Julia,
I recommend eating oatmeal to increase your supply.

I also want to mention that "plenty of saliva, chewing on everything, and getting up in the middle of the night to eat when he was previously sleeping through the night" are all signs of teething as well.

I'm not sure exactly why you say your supply isn't meeting his demand, but as long as you are nursing on demand your supply WILL meet his needs. He could also be going through a growth spurt, which will trigger him to eat more, hence upping your supply. However, a lot of women misinterpret frequent eating for low milk. Have you tried breast compressions while nursing? This can help him get more milk.

In any case, your pedi is right that babies, especially ones with allergies, shouldn't start solids until they are *at least* 6 months old.

Congrats on your decision to breastfeed!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

One of the best ways to increase supply is to let the baby nurse as often as he wants, for as long as he wants. A baby is much more efficient than a pump so while pumping is good, him nursing is much better. You already know to stay well hydrated but also eat healthy and even take prenatal vitamins. Oatmeal is also supposed to be good for milk supply - I eat have it 4 or 5 times a week when nursing and daily when I'm sick (milk supply decreases when I'm sick). Do you take any medications? There are quite a few meds that are "safe" when breastfeeding as far as not affecting the baby but they negatively affect the milk supply (sudafed comes to mind first). Lots of rest is also important - and less stress (which is hard when you start to stress over the milk supply!).

What works for me (I've nursed 3 kiddos well past a year each) when the milk supply starts to decrease when I'm sick is to simply stay on the couch or bed all day long holding the baby and letting him/her nurse as much as he/she wants. Even when they fall asleep, I let them nurse in their sleep. I felt guilty doing that with my first child, especially after he was to the point of not needing to nurse to sleep. However, my 3rd and last baby is 8 months old and I now know how precious that time is and how much I miss it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

Try eating mre Oatmeal. That will help increase your supply.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Hang in there! The ped is correct about delaying solids - actually, a non-allergic child shouldn't start until 6 months, those prone to allergies should wait even longer. Have you tried oatmeal? In any form it can help to increase breastmilk production. Have you checked out www.breasfeeding.com? This is a wonderful, helpful site. There are many mothers that have nursed children with multiple allergies and are better experienced with this situation than I. You may want to check out the site and post this question on the forum. You'll get many helpful hints.

"Unfortunately, my milk supply isn't enough to sustain him these days. " What has led you to this conclusion? Is your child having at least six wet diapers per day? If so, then he's properly hydtrated. If he's showing signs of teething, he may want to nurse more frequently even if he's not really hungry. The night wakings can also be a sign that the teething process has begun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

Julia, Hi. The best way to increase your milk supply is to nurse as often as possible. You would be very suprised but Oatmeal is awesome for milk supply. I tried Fenugreek with my son and it didn't work for me. With my youngest I would eat Oatmeal when my milk supply needed a boost. i had major surgery when she was 5 weeks old and my supply completely dried up. It all came back. It is possible. Also I would avoid sage and limit oregano and pepperment. They decrease milk supply. Hope this help. J.( Mom of 3-breastfeeding peer counselor for 3 years) P.S. Someone suggested Reglan. I have known several mothers who have taken it with great responses. The only thing is it can cause depression. Watch out for it. I wouldn't take it over 2 weeks. Long term effects can occur.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

There are homeopathic ways to increase your milk supply without harming your infant. The homeopath MUST be trained in classical homeopathy though. I don't know what area you are from, but there a few good ones across the US.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

First, congrats for breastfeeding your little guy w/ his food allergies - that's WONDERFUL, and such a healthy choice for BOTH of you.

Second, here are just a few things to consider:

1) As another mom already noted, the symptoms you mentioned actually sound a lot more like TEETHING to me than "solids readiness" -- here's a list of signs of developmental readiness that I think really "gets it right" in case you are open to considering that at 5 months he is likely not ready for solids, especially considering his history of food allergies:
Additionally, babies w/ food allergies typically start solids LATER, almost like they have this instinctual self-protection mechanism. Plus, breastfed babies in general tend to start solids later than average. So try to trust that when your son is ready, he will simply be very obvious about grabbing food from your plates at mealtimes, eating it, and clearly looking for more. This is different from his wanting to play and experiment w/ food, which he might currently want to do and which is really normal as well.

2) Teething can also create green stool and temporary stomach upset. But, so can the fenugreek! So if you can determine his teething status and can really confidently say he is not teething, then I'd suspect the fenugreek. There are other options for galactagogues, both herbal (goat's rue, blessed thistle, etc.) and pharmaceutical (Reglan, Domperidone), and likely without soy (herbal tincture, not in capsule, for example). For help w/ galactagogues to increase your production that are free of dairy and soy, you can consult a local, respected lactation consultant (IBCLC).

3) As you're looking for here online, you can also connect with your local breastfeeding/parenting community to talk to other moms who have been through what you're currently going through -- that is, breastfeeding a baby w/ known food sensitivities and what things to consider w/ maintaining milk production and introducing solids. Here are just 2 places to look locally and in person, if that interests you:

4) Pumping -- I'm assuming you're using a personal pump that you purchased or got as a hand-me-down from a friend/relative. There's a possibility that your pump is not optimally functioning, thus not removing the milk as thoroughly, thus causing your milk production to decrease. In order to increase your production, you can temporarily rent and use one of the hospital grade pumps like the Medela Symphony or Classic (more effective, better for production issues). Hospital grade pumps can be rented from lactation practices and some pharmacies and some hospitals (call your local LLL if you have trouble finding a rental location). You can also increase your # of pumpings while away from your son (ie., add 1 more than usual). And of course, your baby is the best milk-remover, so when you're with him, you can feed him on cue which should help your body to produce exactly what your son needs.

5) If starting solids still seems like your only option, simply be very systematic about how you go about it --> to maintain your milk production, ALWAYS nurse first and then offer solids, keeping a detailed food diary for the first 6 months where you record what he's eating and how his behavior and his body react (fussy? constipated? eczema? painful gas? baby acne?). Only introduce one single-ingredient whole food at a time - preferably that you make at home (even baby food purees often have more than 1 ingredient!). Good starting choices include bananas, avocados, sweet potato, poached chicken, etc. Most of those grain baby cereals are not so nutritious for breastfed babies, but they are an unfortunate cultural habit that still sticks around (rice cereal flakes, blecch, have you tasted that stuff?). Whole foods are your best bet, and you *always* know a sweet potato is dairy free, soy free, and preservative free! Can't say the same for cheerios or gerber finger puffs or wagon wheels, KWIM?

Hope some of these ideas have helped in some way -- and if any of the suggestions don't resonate with you, simply ignore them! :) And once again, please give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for breastfeeding and for being so aware of your baby's food sensitivities. Having been through it myself with my son (dairy and soy, too!), I know it takes dedication and effort to stick with the breastfeeding while eliminating the offending foods from mom's diet --> but I also wouldn't have it any other way and feel grateful that breastfeeding worked out (we're still going strong, and he's well over a year now).

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I took Domperidone with wonderful results but this was about 5-6 years ago...It was purchased online from New Zealand but my supply increased within days. It literally doubled or tripled!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

I am not familiar with much about allergies or intolerance, but I do know that oatmeal is a galactogogue (sp?), that is, something that helps mom make more milk.

I am curious as to why the pediatrician wants to bar all solids ? Will eating some mashed up banana somehow affect him negatively because of his unrelated allergy? I can definitely see avoiding cereal and formula right now, but you may want to follow up with your ped. regarding the safety of other types of foods.

Good luck with your little guy!



answers from Boston on

I suggest you to start Healthy Nursing Tea by secrets of tea which is naturally boost your milk supply and without caffeine...Great..!!!



answers from Cincinnati on

Mother's Milk herbal tea helps too. I don't know if he'll be sensitive to it. I have found it st Biggs in the natural ffods section. Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

I tried fenugreek with no noticeable improvement in my milk supply - I've heard you have to take a ton- my Dr put me on reglan and that was miraculous. He warned me about the side effects and gave me info to share with my hubbie so he could help watch me. It made me a little sleepy and sad sometimes- but who can tell when you have a little one -everything seems to make you sleepy and sad. I was on it for about 6 months. I tried weening off of it several times and everytime my milk supply dropped so I stayed on it. Both of my kids started solids at 5 months but none of them had allergy issues, so I don't know what to say there other than to follow your instincts and your doctor's recommendations. If you really feel strongly that he needs more, ask what is the best for him to start with.



answers from Lima on

I noticed your note about the runny nose symptom. My daughter breastfed both of her children, and had no real problems. However, her son (now 3) developed a green runny nose when he was a couple weeks old. This has persisted, despite attempts to cure his "cold". Recently, after reading a book about milk, my daughter and her husband began purchasing unpasteurized mild direct from a farm. Low and behold, the runny nose (and bloody stools) stopped! They put him back on pasteurized milk for a week and the symptoms started again. So it's fresh milk from now on. When she was nursing, she drank lots of pasteurized milk, so he was getting it that way. You might try to find unpasteurized milk and see if that helps you.



answers from Kokomo on

There is a tea called Mother's Milk that works similiar to the More Milk Plus. It is all natural and can usually be found at a local Meijer and sometimes even Walmart. The taste is not the best but it does seem to work. I am not sure if it contains soy or not.



answers from Indianapolis on

Call your OB and ask for Reglan. It worked great for me!



answers from Indianapolis on

Don't be afraid of formula! I wasn't able to breast feed either of my children. Both are happy, healthy, intelligent, well adjusted and loving kids. One adult and one a teen! I would ask around for another pediatrician!



answers from South Bend on

I don't know what age you can start using but as a toddler my son had bad reactions to regular milk. When he was a baby he was on soy formula but when he turned one I started him on almond milk. Its in the baking section at the stores I have been to. They have vanilla,strawberry or chocolate. He may not be old enough for something like that now but in might be an alternative to milk in the future.



answers from Mansfield on

I would go ahead and start him on something more substantial. Doctors don't know everything and if you are as careful and observant of your baby's behavior and tummy patterns with baby food as you have been of breastmilk only, he will be fine. If he's waking up hungry, you're right, he's ready for something more. Yellow veggies are the easiest to digest. I started my daughter on baby food at 5 months and she had AWFUL dairy issues. I had to cut out all dairy from my diet for almost the whole duration of breastfeeding (10months) Hope this helps!



answers from Cincinnati on

I've never actually had a supply problem, but in one of the forums I'm a member of, they suggest Fenugreek often. Also there is Oasis Prolactation Tea, Mother's Tea, and Mother's Milk Tea. I would talk to your LC about these options.



answers from Indianapolis on

Fenugreek works wonders for milk supply!! Look in to capsules and if there is a soy element you can get it in powder form instead. I will warn you, I have used the powder and it tastes awful. I ended up making Jello shots (minus the liquer) and just putting the powder in those and swallowing them whole. It was easier. Also, oatmeal every morning for breakfast and the hops in beer help a lot.
You can get Fenugreek powder at spice stores - I know Penzey's spices has it on the North side. I got mine on ebay.
Good Luck:) PM me for any more info.



answers from Indianapolis on

The only common side effect of Fenugreek is mild gastrointestinal distress when taken in high doses. Maybe the dosage YOU'RE taking might be okay for you, but might be more than the infant can handle. Recommendations say 5g - about the same amount as if you were using it as a spice.

You didn't mention whether you use nipple shields. This can damage nipples and reduce stimulation and decrease milk supply.

Nutrient wise......you need to make sure you're getting plenty of free form amino acids (as directed on the label) These help supply the needed protein. PLENTY of fluids..a MINIMUM of half your body weight in ounces DAILY. THIS DOES NOT mean sodas or coffee. WATER, 100% juice, herbal tea, etc.

Herbs beneficial to nursing moms are alfalfa, blessed thistle, fennel and raspberry.

There is also a book you might want to get called NATURALLY HEALTHY BABIES & CHILDREN by Romm (Herbalist)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches