Breastfeeding is a period that can be stressful and lactation can fluctuate depending on the day and the state of fatigue of the young mother. To improve milk secretion, there are various natural solutions. Presentation.
After childbirth, 67.6% of French women choose to breastfeed their baby*. To improve milk flow or increase lactation, they can use natural aids. “Overall, natural solutions can be taken as a one-time cure but never for the duration of breastfeeding because they artificially inflate lactation. However, this must be naturally stimulated by the baby when he suckles”, warns Françoise Couic-Marinier, doctor of pharmacy, aromatherapy expert and author of “Essential oils: the complete guide for the whole family” (Solar editions ).
Herbal teas with galactogenic plants
There are special breastfeeding herbal teas, ready to use, which consist of a mixture of so-called galactogenic plants, that is to say which improve the production of breast milk. Among these plants: green anise, fenugreek, liquorice, verbena, fennel… To take advantage of their virtues, it is advisable to infuse these tea bags in a cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. These herbal teas can be drunk up to four times a day, depending on the brand, to obtain an optimal effect.
It is possible to prepare your own infusion, on the same principle, with one of these plants such as star anise, also called star anise. Then put two stars in a cup and leave to infuse for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water.
However, some plants may have contraindications if consumed excessively. This is the case for example for licorice which is to be taken in moderation for people suffering from hypertension. Similarly, “fennel herbal tea, taken in large quantities, can cause digestive disorders with stomach cramps,” adds Françoise Couic-Marinier.
Breastfeeding: hydrosols, an alternative to essential oils
Hydrolats, distilled waters from which essential oils have been extracted, are another solution for taking advantage of galactogenic plants. Star anise, fennel and green anise hydrosols can be taken individually or together at the rate of one teaspoon mixed in a drink three times a day for ten days. If we mix these three hydrolats, we take a teaspoon of each. On the other hand, “the essential oils obtained from these plants are regulated in France. They are reserved for manufacturers of alcoholic beverages such as pastis”, specifies the pharmacist.
Food supplements to improve lactation
Galactogenic plants can also deliver their benefits when offered as a dietary supplement. Fenugreek is a herbaceous plant from the legume family. Its fruits contain hard and fragrant seeds that contain its active ingredients. Fenugreek thus contains diosgenin, a substance close to female hormones, which increases and improves the quality of breast milk. “Fenugreek is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. It stimulates the appetite and promotes milk flow,” adds Françoise Couic-Marinier. Its seeds are processed into a dietary supplement in the form of tablets, capsules or powder. The specialist advises taking it, for example, in the form of a capsule at the rate of one gram three times a day.
The galéga, a herbaceous plant of the fabaceae family, also has a galactogogue power. As such, it stimulates lactation. There is a specialty in pharmacies containing it, in the form of sachets, at the rate of one sachet three times a day for a few days.
Breastfeeding: foods to eat and foods to avoid
Certain foods or plants are counterproductive and should be avoided while breastfeeding. This is the case, among others, of sage, mint, parsley and dill. To have sufficient milk secretion, a varied and balanced diet is essential. This must in particular give pride of place to vitamins, minerals, omega 3 and omega 6. Certain foods have a direct favorable effect on the secretion of milk. It is thus advisable to decorate its dishes with garlic, cumin, oats, wheat germ… “Wheat germ enriches the milk with fat. It is of better quality and encourages the baby to suck more, which improves lactation,” adds Françoise Couic-Marinier. Another suggestion, nettle soup. It will also give better quality milk. “Nettles are full of iron and mineral salts. They contain seven times more vitamin C than an orange”, specifies the expert. On the drink side, water consumption must be increased (and therefore more than 1.5 L per day) to compensate for water losses due to breastfeeding and to cover the needs of the baby and the mother. “The body during breastfeeding becomes dehydrated more easily and this lack of water can cause fatigue. However, fatigue has a negative influence on lactation, ”explains the doctor of pharmacy. Finally, a non-alcoholic beer made from hops can also improve milk production and allow you to have fun without putting your baby at risk.