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Thread: Galactogogues

  1. #1

    Default Galactogogues

    Galactagogues are herbal supplements, foods, or medications that are believe to increase milk production. Many moms look to galactagogues to boost their milk supply if they’re worried it’s low or if they want to build a freezer stash. However, there are some important things to keep in mind if you’re considering trying one:

    • Frequent and effective breastfeeding or milk expression is the most important factor in increasing milk supply. If the breast isn't drained thoroughly or often enough, no food or supplement will help increase milk production.

    • There is little evidence to support the effectiveness of galactagogues. Few quality studies have been done, and the results have been inconclusive. In fact, when the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine revised their protocol on galactagogues, they found that the evidence supporting the use of pharmacologic and herbal galactagogues had grown weaker. Because of weak evidence and the potential for side effects, the ABM currently does not recommend any specific galactagogues.

    • Natural is not a synonym for safe. All medicines, including herbal ones, may cause side effects or drug interactions. 


    • Many herbal galactagogues can have adverse drug interactions with common medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antihistamines, and birth control pills. Please talk to your health care provider before trying any herbal or pharmaceutical treatments.

    • Many herbal galactagogues should not be used during pregnancy. Please talk to your health care provider before trying any herbal or pharmaceutical treatments.

    • The ingredients in herbal products often do not match what's on the label. Recent studies have shown that many herbal products are poorly controlled for quality and contain other plant species, contaminants, or fillers that are not listed on the label.


    LLL Sources

    The Breastfeeding Answer Book: Galactogogues supplement to The Breastfeeding Answer Book, March 2012 - Discusses pharmaceutical galactogogues (domperidone and metoclopramide/Reglan)


    Non-LLL Sources

    Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine: Protocol on The Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting the Rate of Maternal Milk Secretion, 2011 - Covers both pharmaceutical and herbal galactogogues
    Health Canada: Domperidone safety warning addressed to health care professionals
    Kellymom: What is a galactogogue? Do I need one?
    Fenugreek Seed for Increasing Milk Supply
    Prescription drugs used for increasing milk supply
    Oatmeal for increasing milk supply
    LowMilkSupply.com: Galactogogues to Increase Milk Production
    has short sections on
    • alfalfa
    • blessed thistle
    • fennel
    • fenugreek
    • nettle
    • goat's rue
    • shatavari
    with dosage recommendations



    Tagged Forum Threads

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    General: galactogogues
    Herbal galactogogues: alfalfa
    blessed thistle
    fennel
    fenugreek
    goat's rue
    lactation cookies
    mother's milk tea
    oatmeal
    shatavari
    Pharmaceutical galactogogues: domperidone
    metoclopramide/Reglan
    metformin (possible treatment for low supply caused by PCOS)


    Related Resource Topics


    Last edited by @llli*lllkaren; March 7th, 2015 at 06:47 AM.
    Karen
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Galactogogues

    Below is some basic information on these herbal galactagogues:


    Wherever possible, the lactation safety rating from Medications and Mothers' Milk/InfantRisk is included:

    L1 - Safest
    Drug which has been taken by a large number of breastfeeding mothers without any observed increase in adverse effects in the infant. Controlled studies in breastfeeding women fail to demonstrate a risk to the infant and the possibility of harm to the breastfeeding infant is remote; or the product is not orally bioavailable in an infant.

    L2 - Safer
    Drug which has been studied in a limited number of breastfeeding women without an increase in adverse effects in the infant. And/or, the evidence of a demonstrated risk which is likely to follow use of this medication in a breastfeeding woman is remote.

    L3 - Moderately Safe
    There are no controlled studies in breastfeeding women, however the risk of untoward effects to a breastfed infant is possible; or, controlled studies show only minimal non-threatening adverse effects. Drugs should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the infant.

    L4 - Possibly Hazardous
    There is positive evidence of risk to a breastfed infant or to breastmilk production, but the benefits from use in breastfeeding mothers may be acceptable despite the risk to the infant. (e.g. if the drug is needed in a life-threatening situation or for a serious disease for which safer drugs cannot be used or are ineffective).

    L5 - Contraindicated
    Studies in breastfeeding mothers have demonstrated that there is significant and documented risk to the infant based on human experience, or it is a medication that has a high risk of causing significant damage to an infant. The risk of using the drug in breastfeeding women clearly outweighs any possible benefit from breastfeeding. The drug is contraindicated in women who are breastfeeding an infant.

    There may be other drug interactions, side effects, or allergic cross-reactivity in addition to what’s listed. Please be sure to talk to your doctor before use, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition or are taking ANY medication, even occasionally.
    Last edited by @llli*lllkaren; March 7th, 2015 at 09:34 AM.
    Karen
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    Feel like you need professional help? ¿Es usted necesita ayuda profesional? --> Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) <--

  3. #3

    Default Fenugreek

    FENUGREEK

    Do not use during pregnancy


    Fenugreek is the most commonly recommended herbal galactagogue. It’s used in many mothers’ milk teas and combination herbal products, like MotherLove More Milk Plus.

    Published studies on fenugreek as a galactagogue are of low to moderate quality, and inconclusive. The evidence for its use is mainly anecdotal.

    The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine says that there is insufficient evidence to support using fenugreek as a galactagogue, and that there is "likely a significant placebo effect.”

    Use During Breastfeeding:

    • InfantRisk Safety Rating: L3 (Moderately Safe)- Limited Data-Probably Compatible

    • The dose commonly employed is variable but is approximately 2-3 capsules taken three times daily, for a total daily dose of no more than 6 grams.

    • No information available on the transfer of fenugreek into breastmilk.

    Possible Side Effects:

    • Decreased blood sugar
    • Slowed blood clotting, bleeding, bruising, break-through menstrual bleeding
    • Nausea, diarrhea, gas
    • Maple-syrup odor in mother and baby
    • May contribute to miscarriage or birth defects — do not use during pregnancy


    Drug Interactions:

    • Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen (increased likelihood of bruising/bleeding)
    • Medications for diabetes
    • Anticoagulants, warfarin

    May cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to:

    • Fabaceae family: peanuts, chickpeas, soybeans, green peas
    • Asteraceae/Compositae family: ragweed, daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums
    Last edited by @llli*lllkaren; March 7th, 2015 at 09:26 AM.
    Karen
    Forums Admin

    Find an LLL Leader or Meeting | Get one-on-one help from a Leader online | Become a Member of LLLI

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  4. #4

    Default Blessed Thistle

    BLESSED THISTLE

    Do not use during pregnancy


    Blessed thistle is a common ingredient in supplements and teas promoted to increase milk production, though there is no evidence to support its use as a galactagogue.

    In Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, Dr. Ruth Lawrence suggests that the use of blessed thistle as a galactagogue may be due to confusion between it and milk thistle (Silybum marianum, which is also known as holy thistle).

    Use During Breastfeeding:

    • InfantRisk Safety Rating: L3 (Moderately Safe)- No Data - Probably Compatible

    • No information is available on the safety of using blessed thistle during breastfeeding or its transfer to breastmilk.

    Possible Side Effects:

    • Generally regarded as safe, though in very high doses it may cause digestive irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
    • May aggravate intestinal infections, Crohn's disease, or other inflammatory conditions.
    • May contribute to miscarriage — do not use during pregnancy


    Drug Interactions:

    • Antacids
    • H2 blockers
    • Proton pump inhibitors

    May cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to:

    • Asteraceae/Compositae family: ragweed, daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums
    Karen
    Forums Admin

    Find an LLL Leader or Meeting | Get one-on-one help from a Leader online | Become a Member of LLLI

    Feel like you need professional help? ¿Es usted necesita ayuda profesional? --> Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) <--

  5. #5

    Default Fennel

    FENNEL

    In traditional medicine, fennel is used to treat intestinal problems like gas and bloating.

    Fennel is a common ingredient in supplements and teas intended to increase milk production. There are no high-quality studies to support its use as a galactagogue.

    Use During Breastfeeding:

    • InfantRisk Safety Rating: L3 (Moderately Safe)- No Data - Probably Compatible

    • Fennel is believed to be estrogenic, which could theoretically suppress milk production

    • No information is available on the transfer of fennel to breastmilk.

    • Excessive use of teas containing anise and fennel may cause toxicity in breastfed babies (two reported cases)

    Possible Side Effects:

    • Photosensitivity (getting sunburned more easily)
    • Slowed blood clotting, bleeding, bruising

    Drug Interactions:

    • Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen (increased likelihood of bruising/bleeding)
    • Birth control pills
    • Estrogen therapy
    • Ciprofloxacin
    • Anticoagulants
    • Some types of calcium channel blockers, antifungals, antihistamines, and pain medications

    May cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to:

    • Celery, carrots, mugwort, aniseed, caraway, coriander, dill
    Karen
    Forums Admin

    Find an LLL Leader or Meeting | Get one-on-one help from a Leader online | Become a Member of LLLI

    Feel like you need professional help? ¿Es usted necesita ayuda profesional? --> Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) <--

  6. #6

    Default Nettle

    NETTLE

    Nettle (also called stinging nettle) is a common ingredient in supplements and teas promoted to increase milk production, though there is no evidence to support its use as a galactagogue.

    Use During Breastfeeding:

    • InfantRisk Safety Rating: Not rated

    • No information is available on the safety of using nettle during breastfeeding or its transfer to breastmilk.

    Possible Side Effects:

    • Stomach irritation and upset
    • Sweating
    • Decreased blood sugar
    • Decreased blood pressure
    • Diuretic (increased urine flow)

    Drug Interactions:

    • Diabetes medications
    • Blood pressure medications
    • Sedatives
    • Lithium
    • Warfarin
    Karen
    Forums Admin

    Find an LLL Leader or Meeting | Get one-on-one help from a Leader online | Become a Member of LLLI

    Feel like you need professional help? ¿Es usted necesita ayuda profesional? --> Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) <--

  7. #7

    Default Goat's Rue

    GOAT'S RUE

    The use of goat's rue as a galactagogue may date back to the early 20th century, when it was seen to increase milk production in cows. There are no high-quality studies on the use of goat's rue as a galactagogue.

    Also called galega. Considered a noxious weed in the US, it is poisonous to goats and sheep.

    Use During Breastfeeding:

    • InfantRisk Safety Rating: Not rated

    • No information is available on the safety of using goat's rue during breastfeeding or its transfer to breastmilk.

    Possible Side Effects:

    • Decreased blood sugar/hypoglycemia
    • Slowed blood clotting

    Drug Interactions:

    • Diabetes medications
    • Anticoagulants
    Karen
    Forums Admin

    Find an LLL Leader or Meeting | Get one-on-one help from a Leader online | Become a Member of LLLI

    Feel like you need professional help? ¿Es usted necesita ayuda profesional? --> Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) <--

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