Making breast milk is a natural thing…but it’s not always an easy thing, as many new moms discover. A low milk supply and a hungry baby is a common, frustrating concern. “I look at the whole situation: is this person getting enough rest, food and water? How’s their mood?” says Dr. Mahalia Freed, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto who specializes in fertility, pregnancy and post-partum care in her practice. “You can’t make milk if you’re not nourished yourself.”
Herbs have been used for countless years in traditional medicine to help increase milk supply. Known as galactagogue herbs, they include blessed thistle, fenugreek, chastetree, and goat’s rue. “These are nutritive herbs; they nourish a woman postpartum,” says Dr. Mahalia. Red raspberry and nettle are good for helping to restore iron levels due to blood loss during birth, and milky oat seed can be used in a nerve tonic to calm anxiety.
She favours both tinctures and teas: using the herbs in a tea to make sure you’re well-hydrated, and adding the tincture to the tea as well. “And if it’s one of those busy days, it’s fine for just take the tincture,” she adds.
Nutrition, hydration and support are all key, she says. “The more support you get from the people around you so you can recover from childbirth, the faster your milk will come back.”
Be sure to talk to your doctor, lactation consultant or midwife to rule out issues like a tongue tie or lip tie in the baby (which means he would have trouble latching to the breast) or an underlying health condition in mom, like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome