Lactation Tea to Boost Breast Milk Supply: How Safe Are Herbal Teas For Breastfeeding?
Herbal tea (Pixabay)

If you are a new mum, you must be frantically turning to Google for 'foods that boost milk supply'. Experts online and offline recommend a number of foods to boost breast milk supply, and when lactation teas pop on your search results, you might be tempted to click 'purchase'. An herbal breastfeeding tea may sound like a great idea. But are these herbal teas legit? Are they really safe to boost milk supply? Let us find out.

Fenugreek – A Common Ingredient in Herbal Teas

Lactation teas usually include fenugreek, which is thought to increase milk flow.  A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concluded that it is the presence of phytoestrogens like anethole, dianethole and photoanethole that are chemically similar to estrogen that is effective for promoting the milk-ejection reflex, or let-down. Here's how to make breast milk healthier and fattier. 

Possible Side Effects of Fenugreek Tea

However, it’s important not to overdo it. In large amounts, the estrogen-like compounds in this herb may actually decrease breast milk production. Overdoing on fenugreek can also sometimes cause abdominal pain and heartburn. Besides, fenugreek may act like estrogen in your body, so it isn’t safe if you have a history of hormone-sensitive cancers. That said, lactation teas are generally considered safe for your baby.  In some cases, the baby's urine may develop a sweet, maple odour if your tea consumption is very high.

Herbal Tea Dosage

When you start consuming a new herb or tea, it is always best to begin by taking a small amount and gradually increasing it over a few days. A slower, gradual start can help to prevent or minimise the risk of side effects. The dosage, however, may vary in different individuals. You can choose to make your own tea by using the herbs that you prefer or the ones that work the best for you. If you do prepare your own blend, make sure you purchase high-quality herbs from a reliable source. Also, eat these foods to increase breast milk production. 

To boost your milk supply, make sure you are staying well-hydrated, nurse your baby frequently, and avoid supplementing with bottles. As for lactation teas, it is probably okay to use them, but it’s really best to check with your doctor first.