Moms always ask me what supplements they should be taking while breastfeeding. If you are eating a well balanced diet and things are going well with breastfeeding, you don’t have to add additional supplements to your diet. However, there may be issues you’re experiencing that might justify adding certain supplements to your breastfeeding care plan.
Moms most often ask about supplements to increase their milk supply. Interestingly enough, only two of the supplements I commonly recommend are considered to be galactagogues (food/drinks thought to increase milk supply). For the most part, galactagogues aren’t successful for EVERY mom, they can be expensive and some are even thought to decrease milk supply. There is no supplement that works better than extra nursing/milk expression to increase milk supply.
When I recommend supplements, they are only in addition to the extensive care plan we’ve come up in our lactation session and they act as extra reinforcement. The 10 supplements I love best are thought to help with colic, digestive discomfort, clogged ducts, thrush, spit up, energy stores, etc.
If you’re interested in trying any of the top 10 breastfeeding supplements I mention below, you should definitely run it by your doctor first just to make sure it’s safe for you and/or your baby.
-Probiotics- For mom AND baby. I can’t stress how important gut health is for everyone, breastfeeding or not! Luckily, breast milk is a natural probiotic. However, if your baby experiences reflux, spit up, gas, colic, thrush, etc. you may want to add in an additional probiotic supplement for both of you to see if you notice an improvement in symptoms.
-Digestive Enzymes-For mom. DI’s breaks down the larger protein molecules in moms diet making it even easier for baby to break down. They can help with digestion, gas and can help calm fussiness.
-Sunflower Lecithin- For mom. Sunflower Lecithin is a fat emulsifier and it helps to prevent clogged ducts and mastitis. It’s much more successful when used as a preventative rather than a treatment.
-Calcium and Magnesium- For mom. Our bodies extract calcium from our bones when we breastfeed so it’s important to add extra calcium to our diet via food or supplement. Magnesium helps with calcium absorption and also helps mom recover from birth and sleep better at night. *It’s important to note that after weaning, our bodies recover from the calcium loss whether we supplement or not!
-Omega 3- For mom. Omegas-3 is great for better mood (may help mom release more oxytocin), circulation, and brain health.
-Vitamin D-For mom and baby. Vitamin D is not easily passed through breast milk. Mom should take 6,400 IU of it to make sure baby gets the recommended dose via her milk or supplement baby with 400 IU. Whether you’re supplementing or not, get outside and soak up some natural Vit D from the sun each day!
-Cumin & Fennel- For mom. These herbs are anti-inflammatory and can provide digestive support for mom and baby via her milk. They make cumin and fennel teas or you can add these yummy herbs to your food!
-Morniga- For mom. Morniga has been associated with an increased milk supply in mothers who consume it. This is the only galactagogue I like to recommend because even if it doesn’t increase a mamas milk supply, it can at least help boost her immune system, assist with sensitivity to allergies and provide an overall nutrient boost.
-Ginger- For mom. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, anti nausea, immune booster and has been thought to increase milk supply. It also is great to use in place of coffee/caffeine in the morning for a boost of energy.