4

votes

Hack this: Fenugreek supplementation? (for breast milk boosting)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 14, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Ok, my daughter is eight months old and breastfeeding is still going well. However, I work full time (military), work out hard 4-6 times per week (need to get back under the Army max weight), and can only pump twice a day. We nurse all evening and through the night, but the amount I pump during the day is dwindling. And my freezer stash is gone. I eat well (yay paleo!) but I have to maintain a caloric deficit to drop the pounds (I'm a few pounds away). I've been recommended to look into Fenugreek but I'm wary of supplementation. I take fish oil, a prenatal multivitamin, and rely on my diet to take care of the rest. Anyone out there have any experience with Fenugreek? Does it have any negative implications to consider? Worst thing I can find is that my sweat will start to smell like maple... That will make my 0530 Crossfit class interesting...

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 24, 2012
at 03:33 AM

God, that sucks that there's a max weight that doesn't take breastfeeding/having-a-freaking-baby into account!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 16, 2012
at 05:36 AM

I just had a thought, how old is your pump? The one's made for personal use can wear out over time, and you'll just get less milk because the suction is declining.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 16, 2012
at 12:52 AM

Fenugreek likely does affect hormones in some manner, as it supports production of breast milk, which is a hormonal process--but hormones are NOT bad things, especially when they're doing something beneficial that they're supposed to be doing. Fenugreek has been used for centuries for lactating women without ill effect, and I've never had one of the moms that have used it on mine or one of the lactation consultants or midwives I've known's recommendation have any issue with it--and yes, we've used it with diabetic and hypoglycemic women without ill effect as well.

1a68c71d62aa058a86c83c5bb0c28650

(150)

on February 15, 2012
at 03:50 AM

Are there any advantages of Fenugreek as an herb for men?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 15, 2012
at 01:53 AM

People will just think you are hiding doughnuts from them. For me it was a faint maple bar type smell, not a strong swimming in maple syrup smell. If your child has started solids I don't think you have to worry quite as much about the foremilk/hindmilk thing. At 3 months when my son developed crazy green diarrhea day and night our doc finally pinned it down to too much foremilk. The easy way around it though was to convince the baby to stay on one side until it was fully drained, he had been a super swapper trying to hop back an forth every few minutes.

F074daf8ee19a4c101c533b7fdab708a

(284)

on February 14, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Here is another fantastic article, that says it all much more completely than I could! http://www.workandpump.com/boosters.htm

F074daf8ee19a4c101c533b7fdab708a

(284)

on February 14, 2012
at 10:50 PM

There is a good chance you have already looked at this page on kellymom, but it seems to have anything you might need to know about fenugreek! http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milksupply/fenugreek.html

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 14, 2012
at 09:28 PM

i had people get that "where's the food" look on there faces sitting beside me on the bus. don't worry; you'll get used to it.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 14, 2012
at 09:25 PM

It sounds like you have a pumping routine that should really optimize getting out everything that's there. Ideally you'd get to pump at least 3 times in a shift, but I know with the Army that may be totally impractical. I'd try the fenugreek, with no hesistation if you're only producing half of what she takes. 6oz per bottle sounds like a lot for breast milk (vs. formula), my son would never take more than 4oz at once... but it sounds like even 8oz would be a jump for you.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Yeah, I read about the foremilk/hindmilk thing and it is a concern for me. As for the maple syrup smell, was it really strong or barely noticeable? It's silly for me to be embarrassed about it since its for my daughter but I sweat a LOT and I don't want to stink. :)

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Oh and I don't get "full" between pumping sessions. I havent felt that fullness since that first month. But I've read that not everyone gets that once the body regulates the amount. I just wish I could produce more. The lactation consultant at my hospital said each bottle should be about 6 oz... I can't imagine how I'd produce 12 oz in one work day... Even if I pumped four times a day. I'm sure stressing about it isn't helping my supply. Thanks for your comment though.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:57 PM

I used to think I was pumping completely but have recenty switched to using the hands-free pumping bra and then I pump a couple minutes after milk stops coming. Then I add in manual compressions with the pump still going. And I end with manual expression. So I'm pretty sure I'm getting everything out that I can... I am worried about the oversupply issue. She is reverse cycling but she gets two tiny (3 oz) bottles with solids while I'm at work. But I can't keep up with that and am down to 3 oz/day. If I can't produce enough for her two bottles, would it be bad to do water and food while i work?

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:34 PM

Ok, so to your knowledge, there are no negative associations with Fenugreek and say, insulin production/hormones/etc? I have heard of the tea but I can't stomach tea, in general. :-( Only water for this breastfeeding mama.

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5 Answers

3
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:34 PM

Kudos on your continued nursing with the demands of your work environment.

I used it for a while when I was first nursing, it did what it was supposed to do.

I ended up with foremilk overproduction issues though and stopped taking it. Being further into the nursing relationship I doubt you'll have foremilk/hindmilk issues.

And yes, I did smell like maple syrup.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 16, 2012
at 05:36 AM

I just had a thought, how old is your pump? The one's made for personal use can wear out over time, and you'll just get less milk because the suction is declining.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Yeah, I read about the foremilk/hindmilk thing and it is a concern for me. As for the maple syrup smell, was it really strong or barely noticeable? It's silly for me to be embarrassed about it since its for my daughter but I sweat a LOT and I don't want to stink. :)

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 14, 2012
at 09:28 PM

i had people get that "where's the food" look on there faces sitting beside me on the bus. don't worry; you'll get used to it.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 15, 2012
at 01:53 AM

People will just think you are hiding doughnuts from them. For me it was a faint maple bar type smell, not a strong swimming in maple syrup smell. If your child has started solids I don't think you have to worry quite as much about the foremilk/hindmilk thing. At 3 months when my son developed crazy green diarrhea day and night our doc finally pinned it down to too much foremilk. The easy way around it though was to convince the baby to stay on one side until it was fully drained, he had been a super swapper trying to hop back an forth every few minutes.

3
35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:34 PM

Before you supplement with fenugreek, evaluate your pumping situation. Are you able to FULLY empty the breast from pumping? Do you get fairly full between pumping sessions? I ask because fenugreek can be powerful stuff and I ended up with an oversupply and inefficient pumping... which meant several cases of mastitis until I worked out a better pumping technique/schedule and dropped the fenugreek. Do you have reason to suspect your daughter is underfed during the day? If she's reverse cycling and likes solids she could be doing just fine on the amount you're making right now.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:57 PM

I used to think I was pumping completely but have recenty switched to using the hands-free pumping bra and then I pump a couple minutes after milk stops coming. Then I add in manual compressions with the pump still going. And I end with manual expression. So I'm pretty sure I'm getting everything out that I can... I am worried about the oversupply issue. She is reverse cycling but she gets two tiny (3 oz) bottles with solids while I'm at work. But I can't keep up with that and am down to 3 oz/day. If I can't produce enough for her two bottles, would it be bad to do water and food while i work?

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 14, 2012
at 09:25 PM

It sounds like you have a pumping routine that should really optimize getting out everything that's there. Ideally you'd get to pump at least 3 times in a shift, but I know with the Army that may be totally impractical. I'd try the fenugreek, with no hesistation if you're only producing half of what she takes. 6oz per bottle sounds like a lot for breast milk (vs. formula), my son would never take more than 4oz at once... but it sounds like even 8oz would be a jump for you.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Oh and I don't get "full" between pumping sessions. I havent felt that fullness since that first month. But I've read that not everyone gets that once the body regulates the amount. I just wish I could produce more. The lactation consultant at my hospital said each bottle should be about 6 oz... I can't imagine how I'd produce 12 oz in one work day... Even if I pumped four times a day. I'm sure stressing about it isn't helping my supply. Thanks for your comment though.

3
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:19 PM

As a midwife, I recommended fenugreek supplementation relatively often for moms who were having difficulty with milk production. If you want an easy resource, there is also a tea made by Traditional Medicinals called Mother's Milk, which can be a big help.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on February 14, 2012
at 07:34 PM

Ok, so to your knowledge, there are no negative associations with Fenugreek and say, insulin production/hormones/etc? I have heard of the tea but I can't stomach tea, in general. :-( Only water for this breastfeeding mama.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 16, 2012
at 12:52 AM

Fenugreek likely does affect hormones in some manner, as it supports production of breast milk, which is a hormonal process--but hormones are NOT bad things, especially when they're doing something beneficial that they're supposed to be doing. Fenugreek has been used for centuries for lactating women without ill effect, and I've never had one of the moms that have used it on mine or one of the lactation consultants or midwives I've known's recommendation have any issue with it--and yes, we've used it with diabetic and hypoglycemic women without ill effect as well.

1a68c71d62aa058a86c83c5bb0c28650

(150)

on February 15, 2012
at 03:50 AM

Are there any advantages of Fenugreek as an herb for men?

1
C8ae950b19750b8825bc9369d4d75c3e

(10)

on September 23, 2012
at 10:04 PM

I used it and off it now for 2 days hoping my supply maintains.... I'm a stay at home mom so with baby all day... pump 2xs a day for freezer stash. Curious what it does to babies developing hormones since its a phytoestrogen. Anyone know?

1
F074daf8ee19a4c101c533b7fdab708a

(284)

on February 14, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Not sure if it would be a good option for you or not, but there are these paleo lactation cookies... I think you would likely get the same result from the fenugreek though. Also maybe if you tried pumping after she nurses in the evening, it might boost the amount you get during the days as well. Great job Momma! Here are the cookies... http://fastpaleo.com/grain-free-lactation-cookies/

F074daf8ee19a4c101c533b7fdab708a

(284)

on February 14, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Here is another fantastic article, that says it all much more completely than I could! http://www.workandpump.com/boosters.htm

F074daf8ee19a4c101c533b7fdab708a

(284)

on February 14, 2012
at 10:50 PM

There is a good chance you have already looked at this page on kellymom, but it seems to have anything you might need to know about fenugreek! http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milksupply/fenugreek.html

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