Increasing Milk Supply with Milk Thistle while Breastfeeding

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Have you tried milk thistle for breastfeeding support? Milk thistle is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries for its various health benefits, particularly as an herbal treatment for liver support. As a breastfeeding mom, you want to make sure that youre providing the best possible nutrition for your baby by consuming the best foods for breastfeeding.

Milk thistle has been found to have several benefits for lactating mothers including:

In this article, well explore the benefits of milk thistle for breastfeeding mothers, ways to incorporate it into your daily diet, safe dosage, and precautions to keep in mind.

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What Is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle is a plant species of the genus Silybum, native to the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. The plant has spiky leaves with purple flowers and is known for its medicinal properties.

The active compounds in milk thistle are found in the seeds of the plant, which are rich in silymarin, a mixture of flavonoids, and other compounds that provide health benefits.

Milk thistle is a herbal remedy that has been traditionally used since the Middle Ages by different cultures to treat liver damage and gallbladder issues, diabetes, high cholesterol, and depression.

In recent years, it has gained popularity for its potential benefits for breastfeeding mothers and its ability to increase breast milk supply.

Other names for milk thistle include: blessed thistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, St. Marys thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle or scientifically as Silybum marianum

Benefits Of Milk Thistle For Breastfeeding Moms

Milk thistle is one of the top lactation boosting foods that help breastfeeding mothers in several ways including:

  • Supports Liver Health: Milk thistle is known for its liver-protective properties, as the active compounds in the plant can help to neutralize toxic substances and support liver function and prevent liver problems. This can be especially important for breastfeeding mothers as the liver plays a critical role in filtering harmful substances from the body.
  • Reduces Inflammation: Milk thistle has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body and promote overall health. This can be especially beneficial for breastfeeding mothers, as inflammation is common during postpartum recovery which can lead to a range of health problems.
  • Promotes Milk Production: scientific studies suggest that milk thistle may increase milk production in lactating mothers. This is thought to be due to the plants ability to stimulate the production of certain hormones that are involved in lactation.
  • Improves Lactation: Milk thistle has been found to have a positive effect on lactation, as it can help to increase milk flow and improve the overall quality of breast milk. This can be especially important for mothers who are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, such as a low supply or slow flow of breast milk.

It is important to note that these benefits are based on limited research and more studies are needed to confirm the effects of milk thistle on breastfeeding mothers.

Heres a list of more foods that increase milk supply to check out.

How Long Does It Take For Milk Thistle To Improve Milk Supply?

The time it takes for milk thistle to increase milk supply in a new mom may vary from person to person. Some new mothers may experience an increase in milk production within a few days of starting to take milk thistle, while others may take longer to see results.

To help speed up the process, you can also follow a breastfeeding meal plan to increase milk supply and these tips on how to produce more breast milk.

How To Incorporate Milk Thistle Into Your Breastfeeding Diet?

Here are some ways to incorporate milk thistle into your breastfeeding diet plan:

  • Take milk thistle supplements: Milk thistle supplements are available in the form of capsules like these, tablets, and tinctures and are a quick and easy way to get the benefits of milk thistle.
  • Milk thistle tea for breastfeeding mothers: Milk thistle tea can be made by steeping the seeds or leaves of the plant in hot water. It is a popular, convenient, and delicious way to include milk thistle in your routine. There are also many lactation teas that contain milk thistle along with other herbs.

Check our full list of the best drinks to increase milk supply for more ideas.

Safe Dosage Of Milk Thistle For Breastfeeding

The safe dosage of milk thistle for breastfeeding mothers has not been well-established, but it is generally considered safe at low doses. Supplements containing 70-80% silymarin (the active ingredient in milk thistle) should be taken at doses of 140-210 milligrams, two to three times per day.

In one study, mothers took 420 mg/day for 63 days and reported on average an 85% increase in milk supply. This would be a good dosage to start with for the best results.

However, it is important to follow the instructions on the label and not exceed the recommended dosage.

Precautions For Breastfeeding Mothers While Taking Milk Thistle

Although milk thistle is generally considered one of the safest herbal galactagogues when taken in appropriate doses, you should still take the following precautions:

  • Consult with a healthcare provider: Before taking any new supplements or herbal remedies while breastfeeding, its a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider to ensure the product is safe and appropriate for use. They can advise you on the appropriate dose and any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
  • Monitor for adverse effects: Some mothers may be sensitive to the compounds in milk thistle and may experience side effects such as digestive upset, or an allergic reaction. Similarly, some components of milk thistle may be passed on to the baby through breast milk. Even though they may be small, its important to monitor for any side effects on you and your baby.
  • Check for drug interactions: Milk thistle may interact with certain prescription medications, including blood thinners, anti-seizure drugs, and medications metabolized by the liver. Its important to check for drug interactions with your healthcare provider before taking milk thistle.
  • Consider the source: When purchasing milk thistle supplements, look for products from reputable manufacturers and ensure that the product is properly tested, labeled, and stored so that you are getting the best version.

Milk thistle can be a great aid to breastfeeding mothers for improved lactation, reduced inflammation, and support of liver health.

Perhaps the best thing about milk thistle is the risk of adverse reactions is low, so its a safe option to try when you are not making enough milk.

More on Breastfeeding Foods

Our goal here at Birth Eat Love is to help make it easier for you to make milk and eat healthy while raising your busy family. Here are some more articles we think youll like:

Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding

Coconut for Breastfeeding

Oatmeal for Breastfeeding

Zinc while Breastfeeding

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Examples how to boost milk supply with milk thistle while breastfeeding including lactation cookies, lactation tea, and milk thistle supplements.

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