Foeniculum vulgare, also known as fennel, is an herb that people have used for healing and cooking for many years. It is a sweet licorice- or anise-flavored spice and can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian times.
For more than 2,000 years, fennel has been used as a treatment for menstrual issues and digestive problems. It has also been utilized by women who are breastfeeding as a way to increase and stimulate the production of breast milk.
Just as with any medication or herb, fennel can have side effects but has many benefits, as well. Here, we are going to explore how safe it is to use this herb while breastfeeding and talk about how it will work to increase the supply of your breast milk.
Breast Milk Supply and Fennel
Fennel is considered to be a galactagogue. This means it can bring about more of your breast milk. You take it as an herbal treatment, and it will help breastfeeding mothers increase the supply of their breast milk. One of the many reasons why it could work for some breastfeeding women is because the fennel plant features estrogen-like properties.
How to Use the Fennel to Generate More Breast Milk[caption id="attachment_1365" align="alignright" width="301"] Fennel tea[/caption]
There are many ways to add fennel to your diet. For example, you can eat it as it is, drink fennel tea, or use it to flavor foods. Here are some ways that women have used fennel:
- Capsules: You can find fennel supplements at pharmacies, supermarkets, online, and at vitamin stores.
- Fennel Seeds: It is possible to chew the raw seeds whole. However, if that does not taste good, you can roast or fry them to add more flavor.
- As a Spice or Herb: Fennel seeds could be added to almost any recipe to add flavor. These include sauces, salads, and fish.
- Tea: Make a tea using eight ounces of boiling water and up to three teaspoons of fennel seed. You should let it steep for 10 minutes, straining the seeds out before enjoying it. It is possible to drink this team up to three times a day. Plus, you can also find products that contain fennel. We will talk about them below.
- As a Vegetable: The fennel plant has a vegetable part, which can be cooked or eaten raw. Therefore, you can add it to a soup or many other dishes.
It is also possible to take your fennel with other herbs that are good for breastfeeding. These can include blessed thistle, stinging nettle, alfalfa, and fenugreek. Many commercially-prepared nursing teas and lactation supplements feature fennel, as well.
Fennel is often considered safe to use while breastfeeding, even though it will get into the breast milk. However, it is ideal to take fennel through food and is well-tolerated as a tea, as well. Keep in mind that moderation is key here. Overdoing it on fennel could decrease your milk supply or give you negative side effects.
Though fennel is deemed safe while you are breastfeeding, it could be dangerous while pregnant. Small amounts, such as those found in bread or Italian sausage, are not harmful. However, you should not take extra fennel through herbal teas or supplements while you are pregnant.
Other Uses and Benefits
Besides stimulating breast milk flow and promoting more milk production for moms who are breastfeeding, fennel has many other uses and benefits, including:
- Freshening breath
- Soothing sore throats and coughs
- Increasing libido
- Loosening chest congestion and thinning mucus
- Suppressing hunger, boosting metabolism, and helping with weight loss
- Lowering blood sugar levels for people with diabetes
- Balancing the menstrual cycle and relieving menstrual problems
- Promoting healthy digestion
- Flavoring medications and foods
- Treating an upset stomach and gas
- Relieving symptoms of colic in your baby by passing through the breast milk
Side Effects and Warnings
Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years as medical treatments. Some of the commercially-prepared medications available now are made of herbs, too. However, herbs are dangerous and potent. They can be toxic and have severe side effects. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about using any essential oils and herbal treatments. You can also speak to an herbal specialist or your lactation consultant. As always, purchase the products from a reputable company.
The possible side effects of using fennel can include:
- Increased risk of seizure. If you have a seizure disorder, such as epilepsy, do not use fennel. It is recommended not to take fennel if you are on any medications for seizure, as well.
- Lowered blood sugar levels. Those with hypoglycemia or diabetes may suffer if their blood sugar level gets too low.
- Decrease breast milk supply. If you take too much fennel, it could do the opposite of what you want, which means decreasing your breast milk supply. This is serious because you may not have enough milk to feed your baby.
- Skin reactions or allergies. If you put fennel directly onto the skin, it could cause an allergic reaction.
- Do not take fennel supplements while pregnant.
- When your child drinks breast milk fortified with fennel, he or she might become sleepy afterward. This is normal.
- You can get fennel as an essential oil. Do not use fennel essential oil during pregnancy. Though you can use the oil while breastfeeding, it should not touch the skin of young children.
Does Fennel Work to Boost Breast Milk Supply?
You should know that women have used fennel to help them produce more breast milk for many centuries. However, there is not much scientific evidence to prove that it is effective, but there is nothing to say that it couldn’t or won’t work, either. Many women have reported that their breast milk production is improved when using fennel. However, results are not typical, so it might not work for you.
The good news is that it is easily incorporated into your diet, so it won’t hurt and could be highly beneficial.
Milky Mama Tea
If you are looking for the perfect blend of ingredients to help boost your breast milk supply, then Milky Mama Tea from Euphoric Herbals is ideal. This loose, herbal tea is designed to enrich your breast milk and increase the amount you produce. You can drink it iced or hot, making it suitable for any time of year.
This organic product only features the best ingredients, such as:
- Red Raspberry Leaf. Primarily used during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf can also help to prevent excessive bleeding once you’ve given birth. It is also full of minerals and vitamins that your body is likely to deplete through the birthing process.
- Blue Vervain. This herb can sedate and soothe your nervous system. It can relax and uplift while stimulating the ‘feel-good’ hormones serotonin and dopamine.
- Alfalfa Leaf. This herb has plant-estrogens, sometimes called phytoestrogens. They can increase milk supply and breast tissue. Of course, it also has antioxidants, vitamins, magnesium, and other nutrients that your body needs.
- Oatstraw Leaf. You will find that this herb can reduce inflammation, which might prevent the breasts from lactating or producing enough breast milk. It also contains calcium, so it is healthy for you and your baby.
- Citrus Peel. Of course, citrus fruits have calcium, vitamin C, and antioxidants, as well. Some even contain potassium. All of these things are needed by your body. Plus, the peel is where most of the vitamins and minerals are found, so it is a great addition to the product.
- Raw Stevia Leaf. Because of the other ingredients, this tea might taste bitter without a little sweetener. Raw stevia leaf has a variety of benefits and doesn’t contain chemicals like other artificial sweeteners. That is why it was included in this product.
You will also find that this tea tastes delicious, which means you won’t mind drinking it often. Though some people claim that you can drink fennel tea three times per day, this product contains much more than fennel. Therefore, it is ideal to drink it five times a week. You can choose the days you drink it, or you can use it on an as-needed basis.
If you are breastfeeding and you find that you do not produce enough breast milk, now is the time to take action. You do not have to worry that your baby won’t get enough sustenance or that you will have to supplement with bottle feedings. This is a real fear for some moms, especially those who believe breastmilk to be superior to baby formula.
Regardless of your preferences, you know that you have to give your baby enough sustenance through breast milk. If your supply seems low, it is time to consider alternatives to help boost milk production. Our tea is filled with a variety of ingredients that are highly beneficial. Of course, fennel is one of them.
You now know how fennel seed can help increase your breast milk supply and why. With that information available, you can now find products that meet your needs. If you’ve learned a lot here, and want more information, fill out our contact form with inquiries.