Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Milk Plus: Herbal Tincture to Increase Milk

If you've struggled with producing as much breast milk as you or your baby would like, I'm sure you've heard of all of these supplements already:
-Blessed Thistle
-Brewer's Yeast

I've tried all of these & in great amounts to not much avail.  You see, Elias went on a "nursing strike" about a month ago once his little gummies started hurting because of the dreaded impending teething *shudders*  So it was really difficult getting him to the breast.  He was fighting, hitting, screaming, all of the good stuff!  I got a lot of help from the most wonderful lactation consultant, Susan Fischels, and she recommended the Fenugreek +blessed thistle supplements.  I had always had my doubts to their potency, but I tried them anyway.  The changes were very small, but I still kept trying.

Then I stumbled upon this product by MotherLove called More Milk Plus  It's a tincture of Fenugreek, blessed thistle, nettle & a proprietary blend of herbs used for centuries as "galactagogues" (foods/herbs that increase breast milk production)  After spending copious amounts of money on a ton of remedies, I thought what most people think in this situation: "What do I have to lose?"  Here's the rundown: A tincture is an alcoholic extract of plant material.  This product is no exception.  The alcohol used in extracting the compounds from the herbs is grain alcohol, 42-52% alcohol.  So not only does this stuff taste gnarly, it burns the back of your throat! This worried me because it seems any amount of alcohol gives me a headache and, of course, I am nursing.  Good news!  All you take is 1mL per dose, 4 times daily.  Unless you have a serious disorder making you unable to metabolize alcohol properly, you & your baby should be fine :)

If you do have any issues with alcohol, they do offer a glycerin-based version that I'm sure burns a lot less going down, but the taste sure isn't pleasant as I've heard.  I can't exactly tell you the efficacy of it since I'm not taking that kind, but I've heard the extracts --both alcohol & glycerin-based-- work better than less-expensive pill form.  I'm sure you'll be tempted to buy the pill version since it's cheaper.  I was as well, but all the research I did yielded the same results:  If you're having a lot of trouble with your supply, the pills aren't really a bargain since they don't work as well.

I purchased mine from http://www.thedoulastore.com Without shipping & tax the 2 oz. bottle was $18.  Doula Store is awesome because you get free gifts & 5% off if you sign up for their newsletter.  However, you can purchase this stuff directly from their website, but the price isn't really that different.  They come in 2, 4, & 8 oz. bottles, but I'd recommend you purchase the smallest one first to see how it works for you, then purchase a larger bottle if you end up needing more.

The taste is... HORRIFYING.  But if it helps you breastfeed you won't mind that, I'm sure.  If you absolutely can't stand the taste, find something called "empty gelatin capsules" online or at a health food store.  They are exactly what they sound like; empty versions of those plastic-looking capsules used to contain medicine.  Choose your size according to your dose of the extract.

One great piece of advice that should be advertised more is that "natural" or "herbal" does not mean safe.  Just because it's over-the-counter, all-natural, organic, or herbal, does not mean that it can't cause you any harm.  People can react just as differently to supplements as they would with prescription medication.  That is also why you should always consult your lactation consultant or doctor if you decide to try a new kind of supplement.  You should know your risks of a reaction to the product.  For example: pregnant women should not use any kind of galactagogue, regardless of the product.  Also, people with diabetes or hypoglycemia can experience sudden drops in blood sugar, so they should carefully monitor their blood sugar.  Fenugreek can also be an appetite suppressant, so remember to eat.

So far it's been about a week & I've seen a little bit of difference.  I notice a lot more difference on the days I have enough time to pump every hour (yes, every hour) & when I drink a lot of water.  Do I think it's worth it?  Absolutely.  I've already ordered my second bottle so it will get here before I run out.  I've also tried "Mother's Milk Tea" but I'll write something about the effects of that on another blog :)  They also have another version of this extract called "More Milk Plus Special Blend" & it includes Goat's Rue.  It works for women who have had breast surgery, no breast growth during pregnancy, or even adoptive mothers who want to nurse.  They both have rave reviews --other than the taste!

If you're still having problems, contact a lactation consultant or try going to http://www.drjacknewman.com  He is a Canadian doctor who is like the Messiah of breastfeeding, so you can find tips & tricks there.  I was referred there by Susan so it's midwife-approved!  Remember, this is just something that has helped my issues, if it doesn't work for you perfectly you may have another underlying problem.  I may too!  It's just trial-and-error, just don't give up!

Peace, Love, & Breastfeeding

-Elias's mommy

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