Can the herb fenugreek increase a mom’s milk supply?

Yes. Women have used the spice fenugreek since ancient times in the Middle East, North Africa, and India to stimulate milk flow. Research has shown that fenugreek can increase milk production as much as 900 percent, although no one knows exactly how. The oil contained in fenugreek seeds is believed to play a role in boosting milk supply

At my breastfeeding clinic in San Luis Obispo, California, I recommend fenugreek to women who aren’t producing enough milk. Nearly all mothers report an increase in their milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after taking the herb. Most find that they can stop taking the herb once their level of milk production goes up as long as they make sure that both breasts are being completely emptied every two to three hours. Fenugreek will not improve low production when the breasts are not being well drained.

You can buy fenugreek capsules containing ground seeds at most health food stores. The capsules of brands I am aware of contain either 580 or 610 mgs of the spice in each. A bottle of a hundred capsules costs around seven or eight dollars. Although some brands recommend that you take one capsule three times a day, this dosage is too low to adequately improve milk production. In our clinic, we recommend two or three capsules three times a day. You may also drink fenugreek tea, but it has an unpleasant bitter taste and is not considered as potent as taking the herb directly.

Few women have bad reactions to fenugreek, although you will notice a maple syrup-like odor to your urine and sweat. In our experience with hundreds of women, a handful developed diarrhea that quickly subsided when the amount was decreased or they stopped taking the herb. Two asthmatic mothers said it aggravated their condition, an interesting reaction as fenugreek is thought to help asthma by decreasing mucus production (in fact, many natural healers use fenugreek to treat coughs, bronchitis, and sinus problems for this very reason). If you are diabetic, use this herb with caution as it can lower blood glucose levels. And if you are pregnant, you should not take fenugreek since it may stimulate the uterus, causing contractions. There are no apparent side effects in babies whose mothers take the herb.

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7 thoughts on “Can the herb fenugreek increase a mom’s milk supply?”

  1. I started taking it 2 days ago, first day just 2 capsules at a time, and second time just one after dinner. I had significant increase in milk supply the first night, and almost too much that i decided to take just one the next day. I think it really works well, although the downside is that i kind of smell like the supplement which has an unpleasant odor (i do not think that smells much like maple unfortunately). Give it a try, i think it is worth it!

  2. I started taking fenugreek, 3 tabs (610 mg) 3 x’s a day. The first dose seemed to start the process. Originally while pumping I was barely getting 2 oz total, that night alone when I started I was able to pump 4 oz. Now while at work (hence the pumping) I am able to get 3-6 oz total each time I pump, which is every 2-3 hours. My baby seems more satisfied now too and those extra ounces add up. Note she was gaining weight, as she should, my concern and reasoning for the fenugreek was due to the lack of milk I was able to pump for her while I was away at work. This stuff is a blessing! I paid $8 for 200 at GNC. My fiancée’ jokes I smell like pancakes, but he also loves the smell so it’s not that bad considering the rewards. Good luck ladies and thanks everyone who wrote a prior post.

  3. Fenugreek saved me!! My son is 9 months old, and for the past 4 months, I only produced from my left breast. I was afraid that he wasn’t getting enough, so I took the herb to help increase my supply. The first time I took it, it was about 8:30 at night. At 2 am I woke up, about to explode. I got Noah out of bed to eat. because I was so full. I would recommend fenugreek to anyone worried about their milk supply. I hope it works for you!!

  4. My little girl is two months old and she eats 3oz every 2 hours during the day and once at night. I started to worry about my milk supply. I was producing only 2oz every time I pumped, I pumped every 2 hours even at night. I had to pump at night so I have enought milk for her. I started taking Fenugreek 2 days ago, I notice a complete change. I pump about 4oz every 2 hours and I dont have to wake up at night to pump. I noticed that if i miss one of my pumps I have twice more milk next time I pump. Im so happy that I dont have to put my little one on formula. I recommed this herb to anyone, it really helps, and yes you do smell like maple syrup. If it helps with milk supply I dont care about the smell. I got 100 pills for $6 at Dominicks Store and im pretty sure I will not need more. To anyone skeptical about this herb, try it for 3 days and you will see. My baby is full, sleeps normaly, and has no problems from Fenugreek. Try it, it really helps.

  5. The first time I tried fenugreek, I had a great surge in my supply on the third day, but was unable to maintain it after I stopped taking the pills (3 pills 3xs a day for 3 days). While subsequent attempts have served to increase my supply, it’s never been as drastic as the first time. This is the first time though that I’ve heard of taking it for more than 3 days so I’m going to give that a try. As for side effects, I usually get a headache. Nothing a little Tylenol can’t handle.

  6. When I returned to work, I failed to keep up with pumping every 2 to 3 hours. I noticed my milk supply started to drop, and I refused to give my son formula. I therefore did some research and learned about Fenugreek. After taking Fenugreek for a few days and disciplining myself to pump every 2-3 hours my milk supply not only came back, but increased more than what it originally use to be. My freezer is filled with breast milk. I barely have enough room for food. Fenugreek increases the supply, but remember to keep up with breast feeding and or pumping. And if your child is like mine where he doesn’t eat much at night, wake up once in the middle of the night to pump. It helps maintain your milk supply.

  7. I had to take it for two weeks until I noticed an increase in my milk supply. (3 pills, 3 times a day) I do feed or express milk every 2 to 3 hours. At first I could only produce 3 ounces at a time and now after 14 days of taking this herb, I am happy to report that I can now express 6 ounces at a time!!! I don’t consider the maple syrup smell a side effect… I consider it a bonus!! Instead of smelling stinky when I sweat, I now smell like pancakes!

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