Can supplements such as fenugreek increase milk supply? According to research, probably not. To date, there has not been enough evidence based research to prove that any food or supplement can increase milk supply.
To be honest I was pretty shocked to learn this in my CLC cert class. When I was breastfeeding my girls, I took fenugreek, ate lots of oatmeal and increased my water intake. Only to find out, there is no evidence to back up the claims that this will actually do anything to help my milk supply. But I could have sworn it did! So why did I see an increase in milk supply while making these changes?
Oxytocin! When you are relaxed, happy and less stressed, your oxytocin increases which is the key hormone needed for milk to flow abundantly. Taking supplements may spark a placebo effect making mom calm and more comfortable knowing she is taking supplements or foods to help increase her milk flow.
I never steer a Mom away from doing what she thinks may help her milk supply. But I do give her the most recent updated research on the topic so she doesn’t spend too much time and money on something that’s not proven to help.
Here’s my advice on supplements/foods said to increase milk supply. First, if it doesn’t hurt mom or baby (like a safe food, drink or supplement) then why not try it? Secondly, research is always changing! Maybe one day we will have evidence based research that tells us that oats for example, does in fact increase milk supply. So what’s the harm in eating them? Thirdly, the only thing that has been proven to increase milk supply is to remove more milk! So nurse, nurse, nurse and pump/hand express after a feeding if you want to try a research proven way to make more milk.