There are a variety of methods for breastfeeding women to increase their low supply of breast milk. One way to do that is to use breastfeeding herbs. You’ll find many options out there, and one of them is alfalfa. However, you’ve probably got questions, such as how do you take it, will it work, and is it safe? Here’s what you should know about breastfeeding and alfalfa.
Alfalfa: What Is It?
Medicago sativa, also known as alfalfa, is a plant that comes from the pea family. It’s one of the most cultivated crops in the world and one of the oldest in history. You can find references to alfalfa that date back to the early Chinese, Roman, and Greek cultures. Some people believe that it played a significant role in those early civilizations.
Primarily, alfalfa was used as medicine and food for many centuries. Medicinal uses for the plant include treating kidney problems, arthritis, and digestive disorders. You’ll also find that many farmers use it as a main food source for their livestock, which can include goats, dairy cows, and horses. Plus, it’s a galactagogue, which means it can help to boost the supply of breast milk for mothers who are nursing.
Breastfeeding and Alfalfa
If you wanted to, you could go back through history and see that alfalfa has played a significant role in women’s health throughout the centuries. Mothers who choose to breastfeed have been using the plant to help them support lactation for many decades. Alfalfa contains plant estrogens called phytoestrogens. They can help you increase your milk supply and breast tissue, too.
You should be aware that alfalfa will enter your breast milk if you choose to supplement with it. However, if you use it in moderation, it’s considered nutritious and safe for your baby. It is best not to use too much of it because it could cause your baby and you to develop diarrhea.
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Ways to Use Alfalfa
If you plan to take alfalfa, you need to know the various ways it can be consumed. You can eat it, use it in a tea, or take it in pill form. It is best if you talk to a lactation consultant or doctor before you add alfalfa to your current diet.
As Tea: The alfalfa leaf is quite bitter, but the sprouts are not. Therefore, the leaves of the plant are often dried and then prepared as a tea. To make it, you will use up to two teaspoons of the dried alfalfa leaves per eight ounces of boiling water. It is safe to drink three cups (eight ounces each) of alfalfa tea per day. Of course, you can find commercially-prepared tea mixes that contain alfalfa and other helpful ingredients. We will talk more about that later.
As Food: Most women find it easiest to add alfalfa to their diet by eating it. You’ll find that the alfalfa seeds and sprouts taste almost like peas. Therefore, you can easily add them to soups, salads, and other foods. Plus, you can use it as a side dish, as well.
Tablets and Capsules: It’s easy to find a variety of alfalfa supplements on the market, either in capsule or tablet form. Generally, it’s best to start with one capsule or tablet and take one four times a day. You can increase your amount of eight pills each day. However, it is always best to listen to your lactation consultant or doctor on the right dosage for your needs.
Many times, breastfeeding women use alfalfa in conjunction with other galactagogues. These can include fennel, nettles, red raspberry leaf, and more.
Other Uses and Benefits of Alfalfa
- Lowers cholesterol
- Can be used as a diuretic
- Might help to regulate blood sugar levels
- Can be used for treating high blood pressure
- Could decrease inflammation anywhere in the body
- Can stimulate digestion
- Contains chlorophyll. This is believed to help heal, clean, and detoxify your blood.
- Very nutritious. Alfalfa contains a variety of minerals and vitamins. Plus, it has plenty of antioxidants. You’ll also be impressed that it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, but it still has a lot of fiber and protein.
- Food source for dairy animals. Since it is one of the most common things dairy animals eat, it will help in the production of ice cream, cheese, milk, and more.
Side Effects and Warnings
Though alfalfa is considered to be safe, you should only use it in moderation. Remember, it was used for centuries as an herb for medication, which means it is helpful. Still, medicines and herbs could be dangerous and have side effects. You may also have a severe drug interaction with something else that you take. Therefore, it is important that you talk to your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician before you use herbal supplements of any kind.
- Any side effects of using alfalfa tend to be on the mild side. For example, it could cause you and your baby to have diarrhea if you take a higher dose too fast. This is why you should start gradually. To prevent unnecessary stomach distress, consider a small dose first, and then work up to a higher dose. For example, you may want to take two pills a day for a while and then start taking four capsules a day. Gradually work up to taking eight pills a day. If you do notice that you or your child gets diarrhea, you should cut back on the amount of alfalfa you use until you’re both better. Then, you can work on gradually increasing it again.
- Though alfalfa does a lot more than boost your milk supply, it will do that, as well. If you usually have too much breast milk and then start to produce more, you could cause significant breast issues that might be painful. These can include mastitis and breast engorgement.
- Many green leafy vegetables (and alfalfa is one of them) contain vitamin K. This can interfere with any anticoagulant medications you might be taking. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor first if you’re taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin (Warfarin).
- Alfalfa has been known to trigger an auto-immune disorder or make it worse if you are already diagnosed with one. If you suffer from SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus or another auto-immune condition, do not take this herb without talking to your doctor first.
- The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate supplements, such as pills, tablets, and teas. Therefore, it is up to you to determine the quality of the product you’re taking. Make sure to pay close attention to the other ingredients and additives. Always use a reputable source to buy your herbal supplements. You should also talk to your lactation consultant, doctor, or nutritionist about dosing advice.
More on Alfalfa Leaf Tea
Most breastfeeding moms feel that they don’t want to take pills. It can seem to be too much like medication. If that sounds like you, an alfalfa leaf tea might be better. Milky Mama Tea is an herbal tea that can enrich and increase breast milk. The best part is you can drink it hot or iced, which means it doesn’t matter what season it is. You can enjoy delicious-tasting tea and boost your breast milk supply, as well.
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#Repost @kay_alexandria ・・・ So excited that this finally came in the mail today! My supply has decreased since returning to work and call me crazy but I would love to nurse Jaxson just as long as Mason did! • • • #mommybloggers #boymomlife #momlife #blackmomsbreastfeed #pumpingmama #workingmama #blackmaternalhealth #momsthatloop
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The product contains a variety of organic ingredients, where alfalfa leaf is one of them. It also features oatstraw leaf, Blue Vervain, red raspberry leaf, and more. All of these ingredients can help boost your milk supply while offering anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Plus, they contain vitamins and minerals your body will need while it repairs itself from birth and works to produce enough milk to feed and sustain your baby.
We know that now is a difficult time for you. For one, you have just given birth, so you are tired, irritable, and have a baby to feed around the clock. Plus, some new moms find that their breast milk is slow to come. This is normal, but it can be a bit scary, too. You have to ensure that your baby gets enough nutrition.
For whatever reason, you do not want to bottle-feed. Therefore, you need to boost milk production as soon as possible. You can do that with alfalfa leaf. The Milky Mama Tea has this and other natural ingredients that will all work together to help you achieve the results you desire.
Many women have tried this tea and now produce an abundance of milk. If you hope to go back to work, you can now express pump extra milk and save it by freezing it. Your little one may have to take it from a bottle, but it’s still breast milk, which is much healthier and more nutritious for your baby.
Now that you know how amazing alfalfa leaf is and how it can boost your milk supply, you probably want to learn more. We offer a lot of information on our website. Please fill out our contact form to ask questions and learn more.