Breastfeeding & Supplements: FAQ
There seem to be a million people touting a million different ways to increase, decrease, speed up, slow down and overall help a breastfeeding parents’ breastmilk supply. Littlebeam understands that it can be hard to know what advice to listen to because you wouldn’t want to accidentally hurt yourself or your supply. We’ve decided to answer some Frequently Asked Questions about supplements for breastfeeding, and hopefully help shine some light on this topic for you all.
“How can I utilize supplements throughout my breastfeeding journey?”
The nursing parent should first ensure they are eating well and intaking all the necessary nutrition needed per day, as discussed with a medical professional. Supplements are supposed to be added nutrition, but it can’t add any value if the breastfeeding parent isn’t taking care of themselves with proper nutrition and exercise.
“Are all supplements safe?”
While we assume all supplements are safe because they don’t need a prescription to obtain, it is still important to get advice from a medical professional on which supplements to take and which to steer clear from. Every individual is different, and supplements may effect you differently than the other moms in your area!
“Are all breastfeeding/breastmilk supply supplements created equal?”
Not all supplements marketed towards breastfeeding parents are the same. Some supplements are created to help increase breastmilk supply output, like fenugreek. There are also supplements that can help thin the breastmilk and help with clogged ducts, like sunflower or soy lecithin.
“How do know where to start?”
If you are interested in beginning supplements, please reach out to a lactation consultant (IBCLC) in your area to discuss your options. If you are in the Baltimore-DC area, we recommended the consultants at Metropolitan Breastfeeding.
Here is a list of some common supplements along with their possible effects:
- Lecithin- If you are experiencing frequent clogged ducts and/or mastitis, lecithin helps thin the breastmilk to prevent clogged ducts.
- Fenugreek- If you are having trouble increasing your milk supply, talk to your doctor/consultant about whether or not you should take it. Note, if you have diabetes you might not be able to safely take fenugreek as it could affect blood sugar.
- Probiotics- If you or baby have to take antibiotics for any reason, it is suggested to take probiotics to prevent thrush. Talk to your doctor/consultant if you started antibiotics to see if probiotics are recommended.