Experiences and Testimonials of others
Please note: The information
provided below is a compilation of
the experiences of others that have
used essential oils and has NOT been
scientifically verified with
clinical tests nor reviewed by
medical experts. It is anecdotal
information and should be treated as
such. For serious medical concerns
please seek professional medical
Our thanks to:
Hi, I just found this website and I
saw the breastfeeding page and thought I'd
add my experience with my first child. With
him, I went through 24 hours of induced
labor and 3 full hours of pushing, only to
end up with a c-section. During the
surgery, it was discovered that my red blood
cell count was so low they almost had to
transfuse me. This was due to an
undiscovered iron deficiency prior to the
birth. As a result, my immune system was
devastated. By the time we left the
hospital, I had thrush on both nipples,
although I didn't realize that's what it
was, I just thought we weren't latching
correctly. When we went back for our 48 hour
post-discharge appointment, I was
immediately put on Nystatin cream. Two
weeks of diligent use and I only got worse -
deep, open sores and excruciating pain.
Then it got into the ducts in my left
breast. *shudder* They put me on Diflucan
orally, which got it out of the ducts, but I
was still fighting it.
Finally, I made online contact with a
lactation consultant who used natural
healing. She sent me a bottle of Oil of
Oregano mixed with EVOO. I think she said
it was 20 drops Oregano to a 15ml bottle of
olive oil. I applied it to my nipples both
before an after nursing, which helped my son
get the anti-fungal effects first, and then
created an anti-fungal atmosphere inside my
nursing pads. I smelled like a pizza for a
while, but it was the only thing that
worked. Made a believer out of me!
Our thanks to:
For women that are breast feeding
and your milk is drying up, you want to use
Basil essential oil. My sister-in-law was
having the same problems till we looked in
our wonderful essential oils book and
started using Basil. Also do not use
Peppermint or any oil blends that have
Peppermint in them because they will dry you
up very fast even using small amounts.
Our thanks to:
I have had many experiences with
(...) essential oils in the last few
months and I would like to share them with
I I LOVE MY LAVENDER!! My 5-month-old son is
the best-behaved baby I have yet to meet. Of
course he has his moments, but for the most
part he is so happy. We use Lavender
sometimes in the bath, or in lotion, or on
his feet. I also used it behind his ears on
the plane ride from SLT to PHX (think he
only cried once!). I sometimes even just put
the Lavender on me so he can smell it on me
while I hold or feed him.
Increasing milk supply
Autumn - I have
a friend with a newborn who wants to know what oils will
help increase breast milk production. Any ideas?
Julia - Invigorating Blend and our women's
blend Calming Blend would be good. Also below is a
blend to increase milk flow, and a list of essential
oils that can be used safely, as well as an excellent
article on traditional herbs that can be used to support
breastfeeding (this article is included under the tab
Diet & Nutrition).
To help increase milk flow, add one of the following
oils to 2 Tbsp. of grapeseed oil: Fennel (15 drops),
Geranium (15 drops) or Clary Sage (10 drops). Rub the
oil into the breasts and area around them in a circular
motion once a day. Here’s a list of
additional essential oils considered safe to use:
Bergamot, Chamomile, Grapefruit, Geranium, Jasmine,
Lavender, Lemon, mandarin, neroli, Orange, Patchouli (pogostemon
Sherri - I am
so devastated. I read about the Peppermint and
cried because I drank it every day for the three weeks
leading up to my delivery. Now I am even more
devastated. I had heard that with a C-section the
medicine they give you causes constipation.
I thought I would be smart and use Digestive Blend. I am
now 1 week after having my baby, and my milk is
struggling to come in and I didn't know why till I read
the post about Peppermint. Tonight I went to put
on my Digestive Blend and about died. It smelled like
Peppermint, and the ingredients read that it has it in
it. Now I officially know why I am not getting any
milk. I know there are a lot of benefits to using
the oils, but now all I want to do is cry. I don't
know if I dare use them anymore because I don't know
what their side effects, or how they will effect
different things. I bought my doctor mom kit
knowing with a C-section my sons immune system would be
compromised. However, I am now so upset my milk
would have given him so much more than the essential
oils, and now its gone and I am struggling to get any
out. Breast feeding is so important to me, the
health of my child is so important to me, I don't know
how I am going to reverse the damage I have done and
bring back my milk.
Monica - I know that I've spoken
with Emily Wright, who told me that Digest Zen is
recommended for pregnancy-related morning sickness, so
maybe as the delivery date nears, perhaps not so much...
I encourage you to make sure that you are well
hydrated...drink LOTS of water, and give yourself a
break... Stress and frustration can slow systems of the
body, as can surgery... My own milk production came
slowly at first, post c-section (all 3 times), but
eventually, we got it worked out (my "secret" was simply
that I refused to give up)... I was never a 'heavy
milker', but I was able to successfully feed the boys
for at least a little while (years ago - they're all
ginormous now)... Be patient, and enjoy your baby!
Jonelle - Sherri- I am so sorry you
are dealing with this. Honestly, I have used Peppermint
throughout all my pregnancies (4- one with twins, as I
have 5 children), and I have used Peppermint often
postpartum. Essential oil precautions are just
that. The FDA mandates that warning labels be put on
anything about pregnancy and nursing. Some of these are
founded and some are not. As a consumer, it is hard to
tell sometimes. Use your own intuition and judgment. I
personally don't think that the Peppermint could have
lessened your milk supply that dramatically. In my
history as a doula and childbirth educator, I have not
seen this problem with Peppermint. Respiratory
drink lots of water. Snuggle up with your baby in bed
and your only job is to eat good food, drink water and
teas and nurse. Seriously. I have seen this do
wonders for milk supply, and I mean wonders! I would
recommend Mother's Milk Tea (not a tea but an herbal infusiotn, really) from Traditional Medicinals, and I
also love an herbal blend of encapsulated herbs called
Nursing Magic. Also KellyMom.com has some great
ideas. Hang in there. It may take some work,
but it will be well worth it.
Samara - I had a problem with breast
milk also. I know how horrible it can be. I
found out after the fact that my thyroid was compromised
during pregnancy and was causing the breast milk
problem. I used the herb goat's rue. You can
buy it online. It was the most effective thing I
tried, besides not giving up.
Tamalu - I hear your frustration and
concern. You only want the best for your baby. As do we
all. The essential oils can do wonders for your baby's
health, and for yours. My recommendation is Calming Blend (on
neck and chest where you hold baby -- calming) and
Joyful Blend (Elevating Blend) (use as deodorant in the armpits-- to
stimulate milk production), with Grounding Blend on your feet.
Lots and lots of water, and the teas that have been
recommended are terrific as well.
If baby is fussy, I am not afraid to boil a little
water now and then to keep baby hydrated and give me a
few more minutes to rest up for the next feeding. My
experience is that if my nipples are sore, it is harder
to relax and make milk. In addition to the oils
mentioned before for sore nipples, I have used
Helichrysum. We are here for you, Sherri. Don't give up.
You are a wonderful mom!
Tahna Lee - I used 5-10 drops
Digestive Blend in a capsule everyday for three weeks after my
baby was born this January. It kept the bowels moving
and there was not a decrease in my milk supply compared
to the other 3 babies I have had and nursed using o-t-c
laxatives vs. Digestive Blend. Mine was a vaginal delivery, so
maybe the C-section is more to blame than the oil?
Debbie - What Tamalu suggests kind
of makes sense - maybe the body had that baby so fast
with a C-section that it takes a little more time
kicking in with the milk production. I have 3
daughter/daughter-in-laws that had babies this year.
The two that had vaginal births had no problem with
nursing. The other who had an emergency C-section
struggled with milk production. I do know there are
wonderful lactation experts out there who will do
anything to help a mom with this challenge. The best to
Keri- I am really sorry about the
stress you are feeling, I know exactly what you are
going through. I have had three children and try as I
might, I do not produce breast milk. For the first 3
months after childbirth I tried everything to get my
milk to come in (I can produce an ounce at a time).
Because of this experience, I have been blessed to come
in contact with scores of women who have suffered from
this same problem. The bottom line is, not all women
produce enough milk to feed their baby. Some women I
talked to had great breastfeeding experiences with their
first and second child and then had very little milk for
their third or fourth baby. I think that it's important
that as women we share our experiences so that we can
stop feeling like we are the only ones suffering. When I
had my first baby, I spent the first 3 months crying and
feeling like the most worthless woman on the planet.
Looking back at it, I realize that all the agony was for
nothing (and actually ended up being a blessing). My
kids have always been very healthy, they are at the top
of their class, and they are very talented. Who would
have imagined that such great kids could come from
drinking formula. Yes, breast milk is "best", but
formula is pretty darn awesome too.
Sore nipples and baby help
Sherri - Help!
Are there any oils that will help me with breastfeeding.
1) first my milk is not coming in very strong, barely 2
ounces when I feed. 2) My nipples are so sore.
Is there anything that will help with that? As a side
note. Which oils should I be using on my baby on a
regular basis. I only have the Doctor Mom kit so
anything I do has to use those oils. Thank you,
Maria - Here are my thoughts for
you... For your milk not coming in Julia posted a
wonderful answer about increasing milk flow. She said
Invigorating Blend was wonderful for this and then listed many
others. Here are a few of the others she listed -
"Fennel (15 drops), Geranium (15 drops) or Clary Sage
(10 drops). Rub the oil into the breasts and area around
them in a circular motion once a day."
For your sore nipples, I would get a snug nursing bra
and some nursing cups and wear the nursing cups 24/7 for
a week or so. Breast milk is very healing for sore
nipples and the cups will catch any and sooth you.
You can put nursing pads at the top of the cups where
the holes are so it won't leak at all while you are
sleeping or laying down. You may want to try this
even if not much milk is coming out. Hope this gives you
Julia - II just registered that you
only have the Dr. Mom kit on hand so use Lavender in a
little carrier oil massaged in for you. Lemon can be
used too. Lemon and Lavender are always so nice
together. Relax and hang in there. The more relaxed you
are the easier it is. Have faith that you and your baby
will know what to do. Maria's suggestion on the nursing
bra was awesome.
Decreasing milk supply
Holly - have
been breastfeeding my twins for 4 months now and I have
such a great supply that I have also managed to save up
a deep freeze and a half of milk so I've decided to quit
since the babies will still have breastmilk. I
haven't breastfed or pumped for 12 hours and I'm in so
much pain! Is there any oil I could use that will
help dry up the milk faster and what is the best oil for
the pain? Help me, that pump is callin my name but
I'm really ready to stop!
Dani - I used Peppermint to dry up
my milk and I might get in trouble for saying this, but
Tylenol helped me, because I was in such bad pain.
It took about 48 hours for my engorgement to go down.
Ramona - I'm so jealous of your
milk!!! I always struggled with a good supply.
Use lots of Peppermint! Peppermint is supposed to
reduce supply and it will help with the pain. I
would also do it gradually. If you haven't pumped
or nursed in 12 hours, then I would pump what you have
to relieve the pain and it won't reproduce as quickly
before. Then I would string it out a bit and see
if you can go 24 hours without a lot of pain, etc.
You don't want to let it build up too much without
releasing some of the pressure, because you put yourself
at risk for infection. Also, binding yourself
helps a ton. I would just get a brown wrap and
wrap it tight around your chest area for the next few
Holly - My baby’s pediatrician said
the same thing so I'm going to put the pump away now so
the temptation isn't there. Sorry to ask more
questions but did you drink the Peppermint or put in on
topically? Thanks again for your help, this mom stuff is
Pat - Peppermint will dry up your
milk, I would drink it (Peppermint tea) or just rub it
on the breast. Make sure you use a carrier oil as the
Peppermint can be a little warm.
Connie - I agree. Peppermint, sage
and parsley are all good for drying up milk. Good luck
Netti - Is it
ok to take Metabolic Blend whilst breastfeeding?
Larissa - Well, I was taking Metabolic Blend while I was breastfeeding and I noticed a decrease
in my milk production. About the same time I learned
that Peppermint decreases milk production and Metabolic Blend does have Peppermint in it. I'm sure it's safe for
the mother and the baby, but just keep in mind the 'side
effects' Peppermint has.
Tiffany - I took Metabolic Blend for
two weeks while nursing and it decreased my milk supply
from getting five ounces when I pumped to only getting
3/4 oz combined. I immediately stopped using it and
called a lactation consultants and others to try to see
if I could get it back. I tried using essential oils to
build it back but it was too late. The quality had
already decreased to such a point that it was almost
clear milk. So it was like feeding my baby skim milk.
Once the quality is gone you can't get it back whereas
sometimes when quantity goes, you can get the quantity
back. So personally, if you are not ready to wean, I
wouldn't use it because you never know! Some people
respond to the Peppermint differently. Just because it
dried my supply up doesn't mean that there is a 100%
chance it will do it to you, but it could happen. But,
as far as it being unhealthy for you or the baby, it is
Ramona - I had a very similar
reaction in using Peppermint. It was before Metabolic Blend came out, but I was using Peppermint for other
things and it decreased my milk.
Does anyone know if I can take the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV)
trio pack while I am nursing?
Pat - You can take the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) supplements while nursing, in fact it is
Linsay - I
would like to do the Cleanse and Restore Kit, but is it
okay to use GI Cleansing Formula while breastfeeding?
Joyce - My daughter asked Emily Wright
if she should do the GI Cleansing Formula while nursing and Emily said
that she better wait. However, Emily did say that
using Metabolic Blend would be ok while nursing because the
peppermint in it would be such a small amount, that it
wouldn't affect the milk supply.
Leah - If you really want to use the GI Cleansing Formula, I would build up to it. I'm also a breastfeeding mom
and haven't been ready to commit to GI Cleansing Formula for the
potential detoxing into the milk.
Larissa - When I was breastfeeding, I
used Metabolic Blend before I knew that peppermint could dry
up milk. I noticed a huge difference within a day -- it
decreased my milk so much! I would be real careful with any
product with peppermint in it while breastfeeding. So I
would stay away from the GI Cleansing Formula pills (they have
peppermint) and do the original formula that Leah posted:
Melaleuca, Oregano, and Lemon.
Ramona - One thing to be careful of is
that with GI Cleansing Formula and any cleanse, it will pull toxins out
to flush them, but can dump them into your breast milk.
I did the GI Cleansing Formula while still breastfeeding and it caused
so many stomach and diaper issues with my baby. I felt
horrible for not researching more. That is my two
cents. I would never do it again-personally. Now, that
I'm not breastfeeding, I love GI Cleansing Formula and all the others,
but I would be careful.
Editor - More
comments on breastfeeding cautions.
Kelly - I would just like to share my
experience with using the lyme protocol (Protective Blend,
Frankincense, Oregano). I took all the drops internally..
unfortunately no one warned me that it would make my breast
milk “hot”. Not sure which one did it, but “wow” it had
quite the kick and my baby screamed her head off for quite a
while. Might want to let breastfeeding mom’s know to not
breastfeed for a while after taking it. I took it at
about 8 and wasn’t able to “successfully” (i.e. without a
screaming baby) nurse until about midnight.
Emily - It is important to understand
that anything a mother ingests will be passed through to
breast milk. The flavor of the milk is very much affected by
what the mother consumes. That is why when an infant is
exhibiting food allergies the mother would be instructed to
remove that allergen from her own diet. Some infants are
more sensitive to hot foods, therefore hot oils as well. In
this particular case, the infant could be crying due to the
unpleasant flavor or the spiciness.
Kendra - Is it
ok to breastfeed while taking Oregano internally?
Is that safe?
Shannon - It is safe. It may slow
milk production so keep an eye on that. If you notice a
lower supply, you may want to discontinue.
Missymae - I
have Rheumatoid Arthritis and am breast feeding right
now. My baby is only 2 months old so I am
wondering if it would be safe for me to do the GI Cleansing Formula
and also Probiotic Defense Formula. Also how often can I do this?
Every month or do I need to give my system a break? I
know I could probably benefit from the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) supplements but to be honest there is only so
much I can afford at this stage in my life. What
do you think would be the most effective? Thanks
Monica - Dr. Hill says that all of
our products are safe to use while pregnant and
breastfeeding. The only consideration that I've
heard from him regarding this is that Peppermint
essential oil can possibly reduce milk flow. So,
if you are breastfeeding, and notice a reduction, then
of course, consider reducing or eliminating your use of
Peppermint during this time.
Regarding the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) supplements, I would
recommend that as your first step every day, to help
bring your body back into balance from your recent
pregnancy. If possible you could also use the GI Cleansing Formula for 10 days, followed by the Probiotic Defense Formula for 5 days
(resting from both of those two products for the
remainder of each month). However, I do understand
Nicotine and breastfeeding
Tara - We
have a friend who's baby is a week old and is having
nicotine withdrawal’s and jaundice. Which oils would be the
best? We are trying to help the mom as well , who is still
smoking and breastfeeding . How does that affect the breast
milk. We know its not good but need some facts to help
her make better choices and educate her. Thanks in advance.
Pat - I would suggest using a very small
(one drop, rub fingers together and then apply) drop of
Lavender on the bottom of her feet, then later in the day I
would do another small drop of Protective Blend. I would also suggest
the mom stop smoking and use the Cinnamon on her tongue when
the craving for tobacco hits her. If she won't stop smoking
then she needs to stop nursing. There is a lot to say about
this but I will not judge, no one knows the journey she is
on. You are great to be helping her through this.
Mellanie - I would have to respectfully
disagree with you on the need for mom to stop breastfeeding
if she doesn't stop smoking. Breastfeeding at least
offers baby some protection against the negative effects of
smoking. As bad as it is, breastfed babies of smokers fare
better than formula fed babies of smokers. There is
more information on the web on this. Really hope this mom is
able to stop smoking, for her baby’s sake.
DT - I agree with Pat. I had a friend
who smoked and breastfed and the story is sad. I don’t agree
with any article that says otherwise but that is just my
opinion. Good Luck, you are a great friend for her!
Pat - I know there are articles saying
its good for the baby to stay on the breast, but what can be
good about the baby getting nicotine in its system?
Mandie - The baby will be getting
nicotine from mommy's clothes, hands, etc. regardless of
nursing. Why deprive the chiild of breast milk as well?
Mellanie - It's not good at all for baby
to get nicotine, but the problem is, baby will still get
nicotine through second hand smoke even if the mom is not
breastfeeding. We tend to make the assumption that
there are no risks with formula feeding, but that is not the
case. Babies who are not breastfed are at greater risk of
illness and asthma, greater risk of ear infections, greater
risk of heart disease as an adult, greater risk of obesity
as an adult and on and on. Breast milk is a
species-specific food, designed specifically for baby
humans. Breast milk helps protect baby's lungs from the
smoke that baby will be exposed to no matter how he is fed.
In addition it will give him antibodies and growth factors
that he desperately needs in this situation. Formula
won't make the situation any better. Whatever moms feeding
choice, it is a sad situation. If someone is selfish
enough to smoke through a pregnancy, it is hard to believe
they will do much to protect the child from smoke
Gin - I would also add, last year I
tried to help someone find a formula that wasn't loaded with
sugar and it was impossible. Many of them have high fructose
corn syrup in them. The organic ones have organic sugar
(brown rice syrup or something) and I was horrified. It left
me thinking that I'd lean toward goat’s milk or a breast
milk bank if one was available. I understand breast milk has
a high sugar content but it’s different than those kinds of
sugars. My big concern is candida in the infants/toddlers.
So then they would tend to be colicky, have ear infections,
thrush and so on. Not a lot of good choices.
Diet and Nutritional
complements to essential oils
Lactogenic Foods and
By Hilary Jacobson CH.HU.SI.
Based on her book Mother Food for Breastfeeding
What mothers eat can influence their
Around the world and throughout history, mothers have
known that certain foods support their milk production.
These foods were valued in earliest cultures and
highlighted in mythology. Mother Goddesses were
associated with barley grain, the almond, coconut,
lotus, the elder tree, and many other plants and foods
that were used historically to increase milk production.
Today, mothers dealing with low milk supply are again
interested to learn how foods and herbs can support
their milk production. Experts who work closely with
low-supply mothers report that certain foods influence
milk supply for some mothers. These so-called “lactogenic
foods and herbs” are the subject of this article.
Dietary Guidelines Following Birth
Getting a good start the first few weeks after birth
can be helpful in supporting the onset and development
of a mother’s milk supply:
· Get enough to eat. Simply eating regularly and
getting enough calories will support your milk supply.
· Get enough to drink, but not too much. Between 2 – 3
quarts a day is a good goal to aim for. Some mothers
discover they need much more, and some find that they
need to get “just enough” fluids to maintain an optimal
milk supply. /p>
· Eat at least one warm meal per day that includes a
source of protein, a portion of green salad, a grain
such as millet or rice, and cooked vegetables such as
yam, carrot, and Fennel.
· Spice moderately with lactogenic spices, for
instance with sea-salt or gomasio, with dill or caraway,
or Basil and Marjoram, and, if tolerated, with garlic.
· Avoid food that is hard to digest such as fried or
extremely fatty food. /p>
· Take probiotic yogurt or lactobacilli supplements to
protect your intestinal flora and to help prevent colic
and allergy in your baby(1).
· Get healthy fats such as butter and olive oil, and
remember to supplement with essential fatty acids. /p>
· Herbs useful after birth include stinging nettle to
rebuild the blood lost during birth, turmeric, to help
prevent breast inflammation, oat-straw, to nurture the
nerves and to help prevent nervous exhaustion. These
herbs also increase milk supply, so keep an eye on your
supply and reduce or increase your dosage of these herbs
· If you lost a lot of blood during birth, avoid
taking Ginger for several weeks.
· A traditional Chinese remedy used in the early
postpartum is homemade chicken soup, simmered with the
bones for several hours and rich with chicken fat, taken
only once a week—otherwise, it is said to over-stimulate
the baby. This remedy is reputed to prevent depression,
to restore a mother's vitality, and to help develop an
abundant milk supply.
Individual Dosage Requirements
Mothers have individual needs when it comes to
lactogenic foods and herbs. Although most mothers
produce milk well without having to consider their use
at all, a few mothers find that they need to take a good
amount every day, and that they may need to take a high
dosage for two to four days to kick-start lactation.
As a breastfeeding mother gathers experience about
her unique reaction to foods and herbs, she will learn
the dosage that works best for her, both for building
and for maintaining milk supply.
All mothers should consider the following: If you do
not have low milk supply, and you take an abundance of
herbs and foods to increase your supply, you may create
unnecessary difficulties for yourself such as
over-supply, engorgement, plugged ducts, or mastitis.
Your baby may develop colic due to too much foremilk, or
sucking difficulties due to an overly strong let-down
reflex, both of which are common with over-supply. Use
these foods and herbs wisely, and reduce or stop their
use if you notice such problems. /p>
Lactogenic foods support lactation for many reasons.
Eating sufficient calories and getting an abundant
supply of nutrients is helpful in itself for lactation,
but these foods also contain substances that interact
with and support the chemistry of lactation. These
substances include phytoestrogen, natural plant
sedatives, plant sterols and saponins, and tryptophan,
among others. In addition, a rich supply of minerals and
a good balance of fats ensure that the mother’s cells
and nerves are functioning at an optimal level.
Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked, for instance,
steamed, or sautéed in butter and then simmered in a bit
of water. Fennel seed is well-known as an herb to
increase milk production. The vegetable, containing the
same pharmacologically active volatile oils, acts as a
Carrot, Beet, Yam
These reddish vegetables are full of beta-carotene,
needed in extra amounts during lactation. Carrot seed
has been used as a galactagogue, and the vegetable, also
containing the volatile oils and phytoestrogen, acts as
a gentler support. The beet is a wonderful source of
minerals and iron. Taking raw beet can help alleviate
iron deficiency. These vegetables are naturally sweet,
and they support the liver.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green vegetables are a potent source of
minerals, vitamins and enzymes, as well as phytoestrogen
that support lactation. Dandelion and stinging nettle
leaves are diuretic, and can help reduce edema during
pregnancy and after birth. They can be plucked from your
garden in early spring and eaten whole, chopped into
salad, or used to make tea. Stinging nettle can be
harvested for salad or cooked as spinach. In your
market, you'll find arugula, beet leaves, kale, Swiss
chard, spinach, chicory, collard greens and others.
Grains and Legumes
Grains and legumes have a long history as
galactagogues. The most commonly used grains include
oats, millet, barley and rice. Oats are the most widely
used lactogenic food in the US. Legumes to include in
your diet are chickpea, mung beans and lentils.
Nuts that support milk supply include almonds,
cashews, and macadamia nuts. As much as possible, eat
raw nuts, not roasted or salted. The taste of raw nuts
will grow on you.
Oils and fats
Healthy fats play a vital role in cellular and neural
metabolism. The kinds of fats a mother eats will
influence the composition of fats in her milk. Please
see the article “Dietary Tips for Pregnancy and the
Postpartum” for more information.
The renowned expert in fats, Mary G. Enig, suggests
that mothers get regular and substantial dosages of
butter and coconut oil. In addition, use cold-pressed
virgin olive oil, and take equal amounts of cold-pressed
sesame oil and flaxseed oil in salads.
One way to balance the fats is to dribble a quarter
teaspoon of olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, and a
thin slab of butter over meals. Be sure to eliminate
unhealthy fats such as partially hydrogenated vegetable
oils and transfatty acids from your diet, as these will
also enter your milk.
In addition, be sure to have a source for essential
fatty acids. For more information, see “Dietary Tips.”
Lactogenic beverages include getting enough plain
water to hydrate the body, drinking commercial lactation
teas, non-alcoholic beer, Ginger ale, Rivella, and
natural herbal root-beers from your health food store.
Check out coffee substitutes based on the lactogenic
grain barley, such as CARO, Roma, Caffix, Pero or Dandy
Blend. These imitation coffees usually also contain
chicory or dandelion, plus malt—ingredients that are all
lactogenic. A recipe for "Barley Water," a potent
lactogenic beverage, is at the bottom of this article.
Garlic is famous for its medical benefits, and has a
long history as a galactagogue.
In one study, babies were seen to latch on better,
suckle more actively, and drink more milk when the
mother had garlic prior to nursing(2). If you do not
wish to eat garlic, try adding a capsule of garlic
extract to a meal eaten about an hour before
If you would like to introduce garlic to your diet,
and are not used to eating garlic, introduce it very
slowly and observe your baby’s reaction. Take only 1 – 2
Cloves per day. These can be chopped or pressed through
a garlic press into any food after it has finished
cooking. Try it in vegetables, rice, grains, pulses,
salad sauce, spaghetti sauce, or other sauce.
Our culture does not encourage eating garlic, and
many people do not tolerate garlic well (or onions,
another food which is traditionally lactogenic). For
this reason, garlic is not recommended by the American
Herbal Product’s Association while breastfeeding except
under the guidance of a qualified herbalist. However, if
you do tolerate garlic there is no reason that you
should not benefit from it. Take garlic in moderation as
do mothers all over the world.
Caution: Do not combine with anticoagulants, as
garlic has blood-thinning actions.
Danger: Babies and small children should never be
given garlic in any form, whether fresh, dry, powdered
or in capsules, to chew, swallow, eat or suck on. Garlic
is highly caustic to delicate body tissues, and rubbing
it in one’s nose or eyes could be painful and dangerous.
Babies will benefit from the garlic a mother eats, and
that reaches him through her milk.
Ginger is helpful for the letdown and milk flow. Some
mothers benefit from drinking Ginger ale. Even
commercial Ginger ale is flavored with “natural
flavoring” that is real Ginger.
Warning: Do not use Ginger or Ginger ale in the early
postpartum if there was significant blood loss during
birth. Do not take Ginger immediately after birth due to
danger of hemorrhaging.
Caution: Ginger tends to compound and increase the
effects of medication being taken. Talk to your doctor
if you are taking medication, especially diabetic,
blood-thinning, or heart medicine.
Sources: You can find Ginger at your local grocery
store. Check out stores that sell Asian foods, health
food stores, and on line.
Spices in your kitchen can be used to support milk
production. Try adding Marjoram and Basil to your meals,
and anise, dill or caraway. Black Pepper, taken in
moderation, is helpful.
This powdered yellow root gives curry its yellow
color and basic flavor. A potent anti-inflammatory and
antioxidant, turmeric is being studied in connection
with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatism,
and cancer. Turmeric has lactogenic properties and can
also be taken to help prevent inflammatory conditions.
One half teaspoon of turmeric a day may help prevent
inflammation in the breasts.
Caution: Some herbalists warn that pregnant women
should not use turmeric if they are at risk for
Oats (Avena Sativa)
The humble oat is one of our most nutritious foods,
and contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace
elements that nourish the nerves, support the metabolism
of fats, and uplift the spirit. In traditional medicine,
both the seed and the leaf—called oat-straw—are taken.
Oats are prescribed as a nervine tonic in the treatment
of nervous exhaustion. In Europe, women traditionally
take oats after birth. Oats are taken today in the US to
increase milk production, both as food and as a
supplement. Like other galactagogues, oats are
antidepressant, antispasmodic, and they increase
Allergy: Occasional. Persons sensitive to gluten in
wheat are frequently able to tolerate oats.
Dosage and Preparation:
Taking large dosages of oats is helpful in
kick-starting milk production.
Oatmeal can be taken for breakfast or an afternoon
Oat-straw is especially rich in minerals. It is
available as capsules or as an ingredient in so-called
“green-drinks.” Take as indicated on the package.
Fluid extract: 3 – 5 ml (15 – 35 drops), three times
Nutritional and Brewer's Yeast
Nutritional or brewer’s yeast frequently leads to a
significant boosts in a mothers’ milk supply. Mothers
sometimes say that they feel much more energetic and
emotionally balanced while taking yeast. This may signal
a lack of essential nutrients in their diet, in
particular, chromium, vitamin B complex, and especially
vitamin B12, found in some brands of fortified
nutritional yeast. Brewer’s and nutritional yeast also
contain protein and good levels of phytoestrogen.
Allergy: Persons who are allergic to yeast should
avoid these products.
Side-effects: Occasionally, mothers or babies become
gassy, more so with brewer’s yeast than nutritional
yeast. To be on the safe side, start with a small dosage
and slowly increase.
Sources: Vegetarian stores and health food stores.
Green foods are reputed to increase the fat content
of breastmilk. Some mothers supplement with chlorophyll.
So-called "green drinks" can be very helpful. Their
ingredients include barley-grass, alfalfa leaf,
spirulina, corellas, kelp, oat-straw and other herbs
with lactogenic and medicinal properties.
Caution: Chlorella, a common ingredient in commercial
green-drinks, is used by medical specialists to chelate
(remove) heavy metals from the body, especially mercury.
If not taken at the correct dosage, chlorella can lead
to an increase of mercury in the bloodstream and
probably in a mother’s milk as well. It is wise to
choose green-drinks that only contain a low percent of
Sources: Super markets, health food stores, online.
Green papaya is taken as a galactagogue across Asia.
It is a superb source of enzymes, vitamins, and
minerals, including vitamins C, A, B, and E. Green
papaya is the unripe fruit, and it needs to be simmered
until soft. Green papaya can also be taken in supplement
Allergy: Persons allergic to latex may be allergic to
papaya and other fruit.
Caution: Persons taking Warfarin should consult with
their doctor before taking papaya supplements.
Large, black sesame seeds are used to increase milk
production across Asia. Husked, light-colored sesame
seeds are also effective and easier to digest. Sesame
seed "butter" known as Tahini can be found in health
food stores. Sesame is our most potent vegetable source
Allergy: Allergy to sesame is becoming more common.
Spirulina is a non-toxic variety of blue-green algae.
It has been farmed in lakes and ponds as a food source
for thousands of years. It is valued for its proteins,
enzymes, minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll, and essential
fatty acids. Spirulina's nutrients are easily absorbed,
even when a person’s digestion is not up to par.
It is important that spirulina be cultivated on a
farm that is not located in waters that are
contaminated, in particular with heavy metals. It is
also advisable not to use spirulina that has been
genetically ‘improved.’ Spirulina and other “green
foods” may increase the fat-content of breastmilk.
Note: It is not wise to rely on spirulina as a source
Barley-water is used medicinally to treat colds,
intestinal problems (both constipation and diarrhea) and
liver disorders. It was recorded in Greek medicine two
thousand years ago as a galactagogue. Taken for a week
or two, it often helps mothers with chronic low milk
supply. Make a pot in the morning and drink it
throughout the day, warming each cup and sweetening it
with a natural sweetener as desired.
Barley-water can be made with whole grain or pearl
barley. Barley flakes can also be used, though these
have been processed and are possibly less potent than
the whole or pearled grain.
· Quick-and-easy: 1/2 cup of flakes or pearled barley
can be simmered in 1 quart of water for twenty minutes.
· Long-and-intensive: 1 cup of whole or pearled barley
is simmered in 3 quarts of water for up to 2 hours.
About half the liquid should cook off. Some recipes call
for only 1/2 hour cooking time. However, the longer the
barley simmers and the more pinkish (and slimier) the
water becomes, the more of the ‘cream’ will enter the
water and the stronger the medicinal effect will be.
· If the barley water becomes too thick to drink
comfortably, add in more water.
· When finished, remove from the stove and sieve off
the water. The grain is now tasteless and can be thrown
· Add 1 tablespoon of Fennel powder or steep 2 – 3
teaspoons of Fennel seeds for ten minutes in the
barley-water before drinking.
· The traditional recipe calls for Fennel seed. I
personally find that powdered fenugreek seed is tastier
than Fennel in barley-water.
1. While studies on focusing on probiotics and
allergy during pregnancy and in childhood continue and
are controversial, a series of studies on the
anthroposophic community in Europe convincingly shows
results of a different composition of bacteria and
lactobacteria in the stool of the lifestyle of these
children: breastfed, eating naturally fermented
vegetables, fewer treatments with antibiotics and
vaccines. Therefore in this author’s opinion, it is fair
to assume that each of these factors, and all of them
combined, serve to protect the child against allergy.
Julia suggested the following article for natural nutritional
helps while breast feeding.
Natural Remedies for Problems in Breastfeeding by Susun S. Weed
With the resurgence of interest in breastfeeding,
there is increasing demand for natural remedies for the
minor problems that accompany nursing. These remedies,
taken from my book Wise Woman Herbal for the
Childbearing Year, offer simple, safe ways for nursing
women and their infants to counter problems and stay
healthy. This information has been collected from wise
women, old wives, and granny midwives. May you benefit
from their wisdom.
Increasing and Maintaining Milk
One of the easiest problems to remedy is lack of
sufficient milk. first, it is important to see to it
that nursing takes place in a safe, inviting space where
both mom and babe can be relaxed. Second, try to include
one or more of these herbs and foods that are well known
galactagogues, that is, able to encourage abundant
Nourishing herbs, such as raspberry leaves, stinging
nettle, oatstraw, and red Clover blossoms - prepared as
strong infusions (see below), not taken in pills,
capsules, tinctures, or teas - not only encourage a
plentiful supply of breast milk, they support the
overall health of mother and child. The minerals in
these herbs are amazingly abundant, so they counter
mineral loss from nursing, and help keep mom calm and
alert during those first few weeks of round-the-clock
infant care. I don't combine the herbs, but use them
individually, to derive the unique benefit of each.
To make an infusion :
· Place one ounce, by weight, of dried
herb in a quart canning jar.
· Fill to the top with boiling water.
· Lid tightly and let steep for at
least four hours or overnight.
· Then strain.
· Drink liquid portion hot, cold, or in
· Refrigerate what you don't consume at
once; use within 48 hours. (Water houseplants with old
or excess infusion.)
Foods rich in carotenes , such as cooked apricots,
asparagus, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes,
tomatoes, peas, and all cooked leafy greens - including
kale, collards, mustard greens, beet greens, parsley,
watercress, and dandelion leaves - are considered
critical for women wishing to increase or sustain
lactation. Carotenes are most available when foods are
well cooked: tomato sauce has over 2000 times more of
them than a fresh tomato. And carotenes are more easily
utilized in the body when consumed with plenty of fat.
(Olive or butter are my favorite fats.)
Blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus) is famed for its
ability to increase milk supply. As the tea is very
bitter, this herb is best used as a tincture. A dose is
10 - 20 drops, two to four times daily. Blessed thistle
is said to lift postpartum depression and relieve
suicidal feelings, too.
Borage leaves (Borago officinalis) are highly
respected for their ability to increase milk flow. But
because they contain compounds that may have a harmful
effect on an infant's liver, it is best to drink borage
only as a weak tea, and to take it after, rather than
before nursing. Half a cupful of borage leaf tea, made
by steeping a spoonful of herb in a cup of water for a
few minutes, taken two or three times a day will ensure
an abundant supply of milk, act as a mild laxative, and
soothe jangled nerves.
Comfrey roots (Symphytum uplandica x) contain the
same liver-damaging compounds sometimes found in borage.
But comfrey leaves do not. That's a relief, because
comfrey leaf infusion is one of the most treasured of
all remedies. Comfrey leaf infusion (*"To make an
infusion" above) not only to increase the amount and
richness of the breast milk, but also to build strong
bones and teeth for mother and child, to improve
digestion, to check allergies, and to repair ligaments,
muscles, or other tissues traumatized during the birth.
I love comfrey leaf infusion and drink it freely.
Fennel/barley water is a tried-and-true classic. Soak one‑half cup pearled (regular) barley in three cups cold
water overnight, or boil the barley and water for 25
minutes. Strain out barley. (You may save it and add it
to a soup.) Store barley water in refrigerator or cool
place until needed. Then heat a cup or two to boiling
and add Fennel seeds - one teaspoon per cup of barley
water. Steep for no longer than 30 minutes. This
combination not only increases the breast milk, but
eases afterpains and settles the digestion of mom and
Hops (Humulus lupulus) is another old remedy. It is
especially for mothers of twins who need lots more milk.
Hops tea is a suitable accompaniment to nighttime
feedings, as it brings sleep along with increased milk
flow. Hops is also used in beer, which tastes better
than the tea. No more than one high-quality,
additive‑free beer, such as Guiness Stout, per day is
fine. For those who wish to avoid alcohol, there are
alcohol-free brews rich in hops and malt available.
Aromatic seeds such as anise, cumin, Fennel,
caraway, Coriander, and dill increase milk production
and tone the digestive system. Their powers are carried
through the breast milk, curtailing colic and
indigestion. To brew, simply put a heaping spoonful of
dried seeds in a cup and fill to the top with boiling
water. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Drink warm with
honey. Up to two quarts a day can be consumed.
Triple Blessing Brew. Combine 1/2 ounce dried
blessed thistle leaves with 1/2 ounce dried oatstraw or
nettle. Place in a quart jar. Add boiling water until
the jar is full. Cap tightly and let steep overnight or
for at least four hours. Strain out herbs. Refrigerate
liquid until needed. Before nursing, pour off one cupful
of the brew and heat it nearly to a boil. Pour it over a
teaspoon of anise, cumin, Fennel, caraway, Coriander, or
dill seeds (not a spoonful of each). Let it brew for
five minutes before drinking. Blessed thistle stimulates
the milk flow and helps restore vitality to weary
mothers. Both oatstraw and nettle are rich sources of
vitamins and minerals, notably calcium, magnesium, and
potassium. The aromatic seeds improve the quality and
quantity of milk and ease digestion.
For more information about herbs and pregnancy,
including herbs to use during birth, to improve
lactation, and to help the newborn infant, see: Wise
Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, by Ash Tree