Herbs to avoid while breastfeeding
By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC
- Herbs that may decrease milk supply
- Herbs that may be harmful to mom and/or baby
- Additional Information
Using large amounts of the following herbs and other natural remedies should be avoided while nursing because they have been known to decrease milk supply. The amounts of these herbs normally used in cooking are unlikely to be of concern; it's mainly the larger amounts that might be used therapeutically that could pose a problem. However, some moms have noticed a decrease in supply after eating things like dressing with lots of sage, sage tea (often recommended when moms are weaning), lots of strong peppermint candies or menthol cough drops, or other foods/teas with large amounts of the particular herb. These herbs are sometimes used by nursing mothers to treat oversupply, or when weaning.
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Herbs that may be harmful to mom and/or baby
Other herbs should be avoided while nursing due to their potential for harming mom and/or baby. Check the index of herbs for more specific information. Here are a few herbs that are generally considered to be contraindicated for nursing mothers. This is by no means a complete list.
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Hidden Hindrances to a Healthy Milk Supply by Becky Flora, IBCLC
Too much milk: Sage and other Herbs (this website)
Birth control pills are also well known for decreasing milk supply, particularly the ones that contain estrogen.
Sudafed (a decongestant) can also decrease milk supply, particularly with regular use.
Individual herb listings (this website)