For years, many women have been choosing to take fenugreek as a galactagogue - a substance that promotes lactation in humans and animals. Although there is no scientific proof of the effectiveness of this plant for this purpose, many women report that fenugreek does help in lactation. So if you're producing little breast milk and want to try this natural galactagogue alternative, read on and learn the step-by-step instructions below.
Method 1 of 3: Realizing Your Child Needs More Milk
Step 1. See if you are producing enough milk
Most women produce enough for their baby. Breastfeeding and the way a woman feels during that time, however, can change over time as the baby grows. That's why it's common to think that you're not producing enough milk when, in fact, you're just getting used to breastfeeding and adapting naturally to your body's changes. So, if you leaked a lot of milk in the beginning and now that doesn't happen, it doesn't mean that you decreased your milk production; it simply means that your body is regulating the amount of milk needed by your child.
Step 2. Track your child's weight gain
This is the easiest and most effective way to know if he needs you to produce more milk or not. Babies generally gain 30 g per day from birth to three months (after the weight drop shortly after birth) and then about 15 g per day from three to six months of age. So if your child is getting fat and looks healthy and happy, that's probably okay.
Step 3. See your child's pediatrician
Each woman produces a different amount of milk, but it is almost always enough for a single baby. Normally, the milk supply is regulated within a few weeks after the baby is born, and you start producing enough for your baby. However, sometimes that doesn't happen. In addition, you may still experience a decrease in milk production when you return to work and start pumping milk.
Step 4. Talk about lactation early with your gynecologist if you are pregnant with twins or triplets
In these cases, mothers often find it difficult to cope with breastfeeding two or more babies and, as milk production ends up being lower, some decide to take fenugreek to help in this situation.
Step 5. Discuss the reasons for this lower-than-normal milk production with the gynecologist
Women with fertility problems often face problems with milk production, as do those who have had breast cancer or have had breast surgery. Environmental toxins may also be responsible for this issue. In addition to these cases, for some women, not fully emptying their breasts becomes a problem, as the breasts need to be emptied regularly so that their body understands that it can fill them up again.
Method 2 of 3: Deciding to Take Fenugreek
Step 1. Ask your gynecologist for advice on the use of fenugreek
Although several women claim that fenugreek helps to increase breast milk production, scientific studies indicate that the effectiveness of this plant for this purpose has not yet been proven. So if you're considering using fenugreek to stimulate milk production, it's best to talk to a gynecologist first to see if this could be a viable option for you.
Step 2. Take the fenugreek if you have the doctor's approval
This plant can be found in health food and food stores in capsule or powder form. If you prefer, you can simply eat the seeds of fenugreek - a teaspoon is equivalent to about three capsules of this plant - but it is much easier to find it in the form of a food supplement. In this case, the recommended dosage is two or three capsules a day, and you can take them together or one at a time throughout the day. Women who took the fenugreek seed reported an increase in lactation within one to three days after taking it. Also, as soon as you are producing enough milk, stop taking these capsules.
Step 3. Monitor your signs for any possible side effects
Many mothers report that their urine or sweat smells like burgundy syrup, a sign that only goes away when they stop taking the capsules. The most serious side effects include flatulence and diarrhea, which also subside when the use of fenugreek is discontinued. Also, be aware that women with diabetes, hypoglycemia, or asthma need to be very careful when consuming fenugreek as it can worsen these health conditions.
Step 4. Do not take fenugreek if you are pregnant
This plant can affect the uterus, inducing premature labor. So if you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, don't take fenugreek.
Method 3 of 3: Increasing lactation in other ways
Step 1. Sleep as much as you can
Although life with a baby often doesn't allow for long periods of uninterrupted sleep, try to take a nap when you're tired whenever you can. Even resting can help to regulate your milk production.
Step 2. Drink plenty of water
Take at least 2 L of water a day, as breastfeeding depletes your body of fluids. So, remember to restock.
Step 3. Eat well
You may find that you need to eat more, which is normal. After all, breastfeeding a baby requires about 20 calories per 30g of milk, which means you'll probably burn between 400 and 600 calories a day, depending on how much your baby feeds. Therefore, have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, vegetables, whole grains, fish and good fats such as nuts, nuts and avocados.
Step 4. Breastfeed your child more often
Sometimes the easiest and best way to encourage more lactation is to breastfeed your child more often. So instead of doing this every two and a half to three hours (which is usually the recommended time), try interspersing feedings every one hour to an hour and a half.
Step 5. Give your child a formula
If none of this is working, supplement your child's diet by giving him formula. While breastfeeding is still the best option for both mother and baby, unfortunately, it doesn't always work for everyone.