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    Lactation Tea: Does It Really Work?

    Published 03 December 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Parents always want the best for their babies. Breastfeeding moms want to make sure the baby has enough nutrients and calories for healthy and normal growth. If your milk supply is low, you can drink tea that helps increase your milk production. 

    Women’s bodies go through hormonal changes during and after the first six months after delivery. This, along with several other factors, can lessen the milk supply and make it hard to meet the baby’s demands. Some of those factors include:

    • Going back to work
    • Changing the feeding schedule
    • The baby’s six-month growth spurt
    • Stress

    A simple and effective way to increase your milk supply is a lactation tea. These herbal teas can be bought at the store, or you can make them yourself. The herbs in the tea offer lactation support and help your body produce more milk, so you can go back to work, change schedules, and manage stress with ease. 

    How do you know if you need tea for nursing mothers? What are the signs of a low milk supply? What exactly is in lactation tea? Read on to find answers to these questions, as well as ways to make your own tea.

    Signs and causes of low milk supply

    Breast milk is made by supply and demand. The more the baby nurses, the more milk the mother’s body makes to replace what the baby has taken. 

    If your milk supply seems low, you use a pump, and you’re not pumping as much as you used to, it may be because your baby doesn’t need as much as they used to. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, check your baby for signs that they’re not getting enough milk. Those signs are:

    • Insufficient wet or dirty diapers: You may notice dark urine in their diapers and that your baby suddenly has fewer dirty diapers than normal. This could mean they are not consuming the same amount of breast milk they used to and aren’t digesting enough of it.
    • Reluctance to nurse: Sometimes babies go on nursing strikes. Other times it means there’s not enough milk for the baby, and they become fussy and reluctant to nurse.
    • Long-term inadequate weight gain: If your baby doesn’t show normal weight gain, it may indicate that they are not receiving enough nutrients or calories from breast milk. Also, the child’s cheeks may look sucked in during breastfeeding. Remember that all babies are unique, though, and will not grow exactly the same. Take note of your baby’s growth, and if you have concerns, tell your doctor so they can check on your baby’s progress.
    • Dehydration: When your baby is dehydrated, it will not always look like excessive thirst. Dark-colored urine is an indication of dehydration. Jaundice and lethargy are two other signs that your baby is not getting enough nutrients.

    If you are seeing signs that your baby needs more milk, then you may need to increase your milk supply.

    Do lactation teas really work?

    Herbs used for lactation support have been used for centuries by mothers all over the world. Usually, the herbs are made into tea for nursing mothers. 

    Herbs contain components that affect our bodies when we digest them. It is believed that eating mint calms down an upset stomach and ginger fights bacteria and increases blood circulation. Herbs that provide lactation support are known as botanical galactagogues. 

    In a study that compared a lactation tea to a placebo, mothers in the galactagogue tea group started producing more breast milk three days after they started the tea. The infants in the lactation tea group had a lower maximum weight loss compared to the other infants in the study. They also regained their birth weight faster than the others. 

    When to start drinking lactation tea

    Because some herbs used in tea for nursing mothers have other effects on the body, the best time to start taking the tea is after the birth of the baby.

    Usually, a mother’s milk supply is enough to provide for the baby. Because milk volume is created based on supply and demand, a quick and easy solution to low milk supply is to increase feeding. If you notice your baby is showing signs that they’re not getting enough milk and increasing your feeding times is not helping, then you can start trying lactation support in the form of herbal teas. 

    What’s in lactation teas?

    The herbs you find in packaged lactation tea are common galactagogues. Other herbs may