Breastfeeding herbal teas: a natural ally for breastfeeding mothers
You have chosen to breastfeed your baby and you want to take full advantage of this special moment of complicity and sharing. But you may be wondering how to promote your milk production, how to relieve minor ailments related to breastfeeding or how to help your baby digest better. Did you know that breastfeeding herbal teas can be a natural and effective solution to accompany you on this milky adventure? In this article, we will explain to you what breastfeeding herbal teas are, what their benefits are, how to choose them and how to prepare them.
What is a breastfeeding herbal tea?
A breastfeeding herbal tea is a herbal infusion intended for women who are breastfeeding their babies. Its aim is to stimulate the secretion of breast milk and/or to soothe the baby's or mother's digestive disorders. The plants used in breastfeeding herbal teas are generally galactogenic plants, that is to say which promote lactation, or plants with digestive, carminative or antispasmodic properties.
Breastfeeding herbal teas can be found in the form of ready-to-use sachets or bulk herbal mixtures, in organic stores, pharmacies, herbalists or on the internet. It is also possible to compose your own breastfeeding herbal tea by choosing the plants adapted to your needs and tastes.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding herbal teas?
Breastfeeding herbal teas have several benefits for the breastfeeding mother and her baby:
- They promote the production of breast milk, by stimulating the mammary gland and increasing the level of oxytocin, the breastfeeding hormone.
- They facilitate the baby's digestion, reducing colic, gas, bloating or gastric reflux, thanks to the active ingredients of the plants which pass into breast milk.
- They soothe the mother's digestion, preventing or relieving disorders such as constipation, cramps or nausea.
- They hydrate by compensating for water losses linked to breastfeeding and avoiding dehydration.
- They provide a moment of relaxation and pleasure, offering a comforting and tasty break.
Which plants should you choose for your breastfeeding herbal tea?
There is a wide variety of plants that can be used in the composition of a breastfeeding herbal tea. Here are some examples of the most common ones and their properties:
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): it is a plant native to the Middle East, the seeds of which are used to stimulate lactation. It also has beneficial effects on diabetes, cholesterol and appetite. It can make sweat or urine smell like maple syrup and have a laxative effect.
- Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): it is an aromatic Mediterranean plant, the seeds or bulb of which are used to promote milk production and soothe digestive disorders. It also has diuretic, antiseptic or expectorant properties. It can be allergenic in some people.
- Nettle (Urtica dioica): it is a common plant in Europe, the leaves of which are used to increase milk secretion and enrich milk with minerals. It also has remineralizing, anti-inflammatory or depurative properties. It can be irritating to the skin or mucous membranes.
- Verbena (Verbena officinalis): it is an herbaceous plant native to Europe, whose leaves and flowers are used to stimulate lactation and calm digestive spasms. It also has sedative, analgesic or antioxidant properties. It can be photosensitizing in some people.
- Caraway (Carum carvi): it is a plant from the Apiaceae family, the seeds of which are used to promote milk production and reduce intestinal gas. It also has antiseptic, antispasmodic or diuretic effects. It can be confused with cumin or anise, which have similar properties.
- Galega (Galega officinalis): it is a plant of the Fabaceae family, the aerial parts of which are used to stimulate lactation and regulate blood sugar levels. It also has diuretic, depurative or tonic properties. It can be toxic in high doses or in cases of diabetes.
- Alfalfa sprouts (Medicago sativa): it is a forage plant cultivated throughout the world, whose sprouted seeds are used to increase milk secretion and enrich milk with vitamins. It also has remineralizing, anti-anemic or anti-inflammatory properties. It may be contraindicated in cases of lupus or anticoagulant treatment.
- Blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus): it is a plant of the Asteraceae family, the aerial parts of which are used to promote milk production and relieve breast inflammation. It also has hepatoprotective, digestive or febrifuge effects. It can be allergenic in some people.
How to prepare your breastfeeding tea?
To prepare your breastfeeding herbal tea, you must follow a few simple rules:
- Choose quality plants, preferably organic, and check their expiration date.
- Respect the dosages indicated on the packaging or by a health professional, depending on the weight and state of health of the person.
- Use filtered or mineral water, brought to a boil.
- Pour boiling water over the plants in a cup or teapot, and cover for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and drink it hot or lukewarm, without adding sugar or honey.
- Consume 2 to 3 cups per day, preferably after meals or before feedings.
What precautions should be taken with breastfeeding herbal teas?
Breastfeeding herbal teas are generally safe for mother and baby, but some precautions should still be taken:
- Seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist before consuming breast-feeding herbal teas, especially in the event of medical treatment, allergy or particular pathology.
- Monitor the baby's reaction after drinking breast-feeding herbal tea, and stop if any adverse reactions occur such as rash, vomiting or trouble sleeping.
- Vary the plants used in breastfeeding herbal teas, to avoid addiction or overdose.
- Do not replace water with breastfeeding herbal teas, but consume them in addition to sufficient hydration (at least 2 liters per day).
- Do not rely solely on breastfeeding herbal teas to stimulate your lactation, but adopt a healthy lifestyle and promote skin-to-skin contact and feedings on demand.
Breastfeeding herbal teas are a natural ally for mothers who breastfeed their babies. They can help stimulate the production of breast milk, soothe the baby's or mother's digestive problems, and provide a moment of relaxation and pleasure for the mother. You just have to choose the plants adapted to your needs, prepare them correctly and consume them with moderation and caution. Breastfeeding herbal teas are a simple and natural way to support breastfeeding and take full advantage of this unique bond with your baby.