Start Fenugreek Right After Birth?

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
Overall the experience of breastfeeding my first child was positive but I did have some problems to start. My milk didn't come in until day 7 so I had a starving baby which was really stressful. A nurse recommended Fenugreek tablets to increase my supply which did seem to help and I also took them a couple of months down the track when I felt my supply wasn't keeping up and again they seemed to work.

My question is, I am now pregnant with my second and I worried that my milk will be slow in coming in. Would you see any benefit in starting to take Fenugreek as soon as my second is born?

Thanks,
Julie A.

ANSWER

Hi Julie,
Hopefully this time around you won't have the problems that you experienced with your first baby. Breastfeeding tends to go much more smoothly the second time, and many moms who encountered breastfeeding difficulties with first babies find it much less stressful with subsequent children.

Since Fenugreek seemed to be helpful to you before, I can't see any reason not to start taking it right after your baby's birth. It is generally safe and has very few side effects, and since you didn't have any problems with it before, it shouldn't do any harm, and it might give your body a little boost that will help bring your milk in faster. There are no scientific studies to prove that Fenugreek increases supply, but it has been used for many years by thousands of nursing mothers, and many of them do see a difference. However, it rarely causes a dramatic increase in supply, and is not a solution to supply problems caused by improper positioning or medical issues such as tongue tie.

I hope that everything is easier for you with this baby, but if not, at least you know that hanging in there is worth it in the long run. First time moms who have never experienced the joy of successfully nursing their baby often give up when they encounter problems, and they never know what they are missing. Mothers like you who overcame problems and went on to enjoy breastfeeding will do whatever they have to do in order to make it work, even if they do get off to a rocky start.

-- Anne, IBCLC