How Are Galactagogues Useful During Lactation?
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Galactagogues and Their Benefits During Lactation

Published on Nov 10, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 06, 2023   -  4 min read


Galactagogues are known to boost breast milk secretion. This article delivers the knowledge one must possess about the use of galactagogues.


The word galactagogues is derived from a Greek word "galact" meaning milk, and "ogogue" meaning leading to or promoting. Therefore, galactagogues include any food items, herbs, and even prescription medications.

Breastfeeding is widely accepted for promoting health benefits for both the mother and infant. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Association,exclusive breastfeeding should be encouraged for up to six months of age for all mothers, with ongoing breastfeeding for two years or until the mother and infant desires.

Breast milk is considered as the best source of nutrition for newborns. There is no known substitute for breast milk despite various research in making formula milk. Breastfeeding is crucial for the growth and development of infants. It fulfills the growing nutritional need of the infant and creates an emotional dependency of the newborn on the mother. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop a smooth bonding between the mother and the newborn for establishing prolonged breastfeeding. Maintaining a close association with the newborn can help to promote breastfeeding. Research indicates that lactation insufficiency which is also referred to as low breast milk supply is the most common reason for early cessation of breastfeeding.

What Are the Factors Responsible for Low Milk Supply?

Many factors are responsible for lactation insufficiency and could affect the mother's ability to produce milk production. Some commonly known elements are:

  • Irregular hormone levels.

Some other causes are previous breast history surgery, premature birth, and pregnancy-induced blood pressure are known to affect breast milk formation. These factors are considered as physiological barriers to the development of lactation.

How Do Herbal Galactagogues Help Breastfeeding?

Many breastfeeding mothers worry about secreting enough breast milk that fulfill the growing need of the infant. Commonly, some non-pharmacological methods are known to improve breast milk secretion, which include improving a baby's latch, fully emptying of the breast, and breast massage is enough to help promote a breast milk supply. However, if a mother needs more help, she can use galactagogues, teas, supplements and any other food items that are known to support breast milk production. Many herbs and foods have been used traditionally to increase the breast milk secretion. The most popular items that is known for milk making property include:

  1. Fenugreek: It is one of the most commonly used galactagogues. The recommended daily dose for a lactating mother is 3.5 to 6 grams. But it is important to take fenugreek seeds only after consultation with your lactation specialist. Some mothers reported allergic reactions to fenugreek seeds.

  2. Blessed Thistle: This plant is known for its medicinal benefits for hundreds of years as it is known to promote breast milk supply. Blessed thistle in combination with fenugreek seeds has tremendous benefits. It is supplied in a capsule or tea form and is recommended three times per day.

  3. Alfalfa: It is a type of tea which has a mild effect on promoting breast milk supply which is often used in combination with fenugreek. It is supplied in pill, tea, or other food form. Alfalfa sprouts have a nutty flavor and are known to have numerous health benefits. Alfalfa leaves can be consumed in the form of a tablet or as a tea.

  4. Goat’s Rue: It is a popular galactagogue that is often taken in combination with fenugreek seeds or some other herbs. It is considered toxic and should not be taken as a fresh format. It is consumed in the form of dry leaves for tea or as capsules.

  5. Brewers Yeast: It is a galactogogue which has few side effects. However, it should not be taken if a mother has a recurrent yeast problem. It is rich in Vitamin B, some minerals, iron and amino acids. The recommended dose is 3 to 5 capsules per day.

  6. Fennel Seeds: It can also be consumed in small amounts to promote breast milk supply in a lactating mother.

  7. Red raspberry leaf.

  8. Flax seeds.

  9. Nettle leaf or capsules.

  10. Milk tea.

All these herbs are good for promoting lactation. In addition, these herbal medicines can be taken as a supplement while breastfeeding. Still, you need to consult your doctor or lactation consultant before taking any supplements to increase the breast milk supply, especially when you are allergic or undertaking other prescription medications.

What Are Galactagogue Foods With Lactogenic Properties?

Some foods are known to have lactogenic properties.

These include:

  • Garlics: Studies have shown that if a mother eats a lot of garlic, it gives a nice taste to the breast milk which stimulates the baby's attachment to the mother’s breast which ultimately promotes breast milk supply.

  • Ginger: It should not be taken along with any other medicines.

  • Carrot seeds.

  • Oats.

  • Green Papaya.

  • Raw nuts.

  • Flaxseed and sesame oils.

What Is the American Pregnancy Association Recommendation?

The American Association of Pregnancy recommends Fairhaven Health’s products. It is because these breastfeeding supplements were developed in collaboration with obstetrics, gynecologists and lactation Consultants. Fairhaven Health’s products are natural. It is effective and known to fulfill optimal nutritional supplementation needs of a breastfeeding woman.


Usually, all women produce enough milk to meet the nutritional needs of the growing infant. Still, some women suffer from insufficient breast milk secretion. As a result, almost all women experience various problems during their early breastfeeding phase. Proper breastfeeding develops with time and practice. Sometimes the difficulties resolve with practice; other times, they require lactation consultants' support. Women with insufficient milk production who cannot respond to lactation counseling may use herbal and pharmaceutical galactagogues in consultation with a lactation specialist.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
06 Feb 2023  -  4 min read




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