Your Pregnancy Matters

How can I use fenugreek to increase my breast milk supply?

Your Pregnancy Matters

Fenugreek, a type of seed, can help increase your breast milk supply.

When a woman is breastfeeding, her milk supply sometimes might decrease due to stress, fatigue, or a variety of other factors. If you feel like your supply is dwindling, consuming fenugreek can be a simple, effective way to boost your production. 

Fenugreek is a type of seed that often is used in Asian and Middle Eastern recipes. It can range in taste from slightly maple-flavored to bitter, depending on your palette. In the U.S., fenugreek is available in bulk at health food stores or in supplement form. It’s also the main ingredient in foods and drinks that help promote lactation, or breast milk production.

Most women can consume fenugreek without having to check with their doctor first. However, if you’re allergic to peanuts or chickpeas, or if you take blood thinners or medication for diabetes, talk with your doctor before using it.

How to make fenugreek tea

When I was exclusively pumping with both my daughters, I used fenugreek tea to help increase my breast milk production. I purchased fenugreek seeds in bulk and followed these easy steps to make large batches of tea:

  1. Rinse the seeds gently in a strainer (about a teaspoon per cup of water you plan to add).
  2. Boil water in a stock pot or cooking pot.
  3. Transfer the seeds to the boiling water.
  4. Steep the seeds for at least three minutes (the longer you boil the seeds, the more concentrated the tea will become).
  5. Strain the seeds and put the liquid into a storage container – it should keep for about the same length of time as sun tea or iced tea.
  6. Enjoy a glass a day, hot or cold. 

I drank a glass daily and was able to maintain my supply for a year with both my children. A few pointers about fenugreek tea:

  • You can flavor it with honey, sugar, lemon, agave, or stevia.
  • If the stored tea gets thick or syrupy, just add more water to thin it again.
  • The more concentrated the tea, the more bitter it will be – but it doesn’t have to be super-concentrated to be effective.

A few more fenugreek recipes

If you’re not a tea fan or want a sweet treat, try one of these yummy recipes made with fenugreek and other lactation-promoting ingredients:

Remember, while we encourage breastfeeding, it’s not the only way for your baby to be healthy. If you have trouble maintaining an adequate milk supply, talk to a certified lactation expert or your doctor about how you can increase production or feed your baby in other ways. No matter the feeding method that works for your family, the goal is the same: a healthy mom and baby.

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