Before you begin a milk-boosting regimen, Diana West, IBCLC, co-author of The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk and co-owner of Mahala Lactation and Perinatal Services in New Jersey, recommends visiting a lactation consultant for personalized advice. That’s because moms who take galactagogues unnecessarily run the risk of plugged ducts, which can cause breast infection or inflammation.
“A skilled private-practice lactation consultant (look for the gold-standard certification IBCLC) is your best bet for the kind of expert help you need to get things on track,” says West. Once you’ve determined you need to increase your supply to meet the demand, West recommends looking for fennel, shatavari, goat’s rue and malunggay, which she’s found to be more effective than the popular fenugreek and blessed thistle. These herbs can be steeped in teas or dried and made into capsules, but consult your healthcare provider before use. “Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s completely safe,” West cautions. For a safer, though less researched option, mamas can also eat more fiber and whole grains, so try kick-starting your day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal.