I’ve been really encouraged by the response we’ve been getting from women who’ve come to trust us at the Great Green Wall. We strive for as personalized health and fitness writing as we can, given that we probably won’t ever meet any of our readers in person.
So whether we’re providing insight into fat-burners for just women, or trying to shed light on data for specific diet routines, we always look for the most detailed information possible. That’s why I was so excited to get a question about Fenugreek for breast milk production. It’s a traditional remedy for low-milk production that not many people are aware of, so I was happy to get this article punched up for any curious mothers.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a natural herb that grows all over the world, but it’s traditionally grown in the Mediterranean, India, and Asia. Its small, edible seeds are a great addition to nearly any diet, as well as an herbal regimen for overall wellness.
But what exactly makes it so great in diets and as a medicinal herb? Sometimes we need to take a look back at the basic nutrients–we’ll get to the hard science and clinical trials, but for now, let’s let the numbers speak for themselves.
All data from the USDA database, calculated based on 100 grams of Fenugreek seed.
Why Fenugreek May Be Good for Mothers
Now we can connect some dots.
All of these nutritional elements can make Fenugreek quite attractive for moms, and we haven’t even gotten to the traditional reason breastfeeding women take Fenugreek: increased milk production.
For generations moms have been given this or that herb or tea to help improve their milk production, especially if the child isn’t gaining enough weight. But few of these remedies get to see action in actual clinical trials because of the safety risks. But we have the good fortune to have several trials where women took a Fenugreek preparation, and the effects on breast milk production were measured.
The first study we’ll look at took weight measurements of the babies, and measured how often mothers were able to produce milk.
They found that after only 4 weeks, women with Fenugreek increased their frequency of milk production from 9 times to 16 times, and the babies’ weights went from 5,200 grams to an incredible 6,400 grams.
The placebo in this study didn’t increase breastfeeding frequency at all, and only increased baby weight by 700 grams.
This study went on to cite three other studies like this one here that all had the same results–increased frequency of breastfeeding, increased baby weight.
None of the studies I’ve so far mentioned, or any of the studies they’ve cited, raised any safety concerns. No side effects for the mother or child were reported.
Although I should mention that the American Center for Complementary and Integrative Health claims that Fenugreek has been “linked” to birth defects after women took it while pregnant. This is most probably why they advise breastfeeding mothers to stay away from it. One such study “suggests” that Fenugreek "may have [neurological] side effects." But this study doesn’t mention breastfeeding or cite any case studies involving breastfeeding mothers.
No matter how good a supplement or ingredient may seem, you can never be too safe regarding your infant’s health. The flip side is also true: if your baby is underweight or you’re not producing enough milk, then you should do everything safely within your power to change those things.
Ultimately, you should consult your physician or Obstetrician to formulate the best plan for you and your baby. While Fenugreek has multiple potential benefits, it’s just as vital to make safe choices for the long term health of your child.