Why you won’t hear me suggest galactogogues

If you spend any amount of time around lactating folks, you’ll hear concerns about low milk supply, and you’ll also probably hear suggestions such as:

  • Eat oatmeal
  • Drink lots of water
  • Bake some lactation cookies
  • Take fenugreek
  • Try a tincture
  • Drink teas with herbs to increase milk supply

These suggestions are well meaning, and may not cause any direct harm (although any remedy, even a “natural” one, may have side effects). But are they good suggestions? In my opinion: No.

Oatmeal, fenugreek, flax seed, brewer’s yeast, fennel seed, and many other foods, herbs, and medications that are purported to increase milk supply are called galactogogues (also spelled “galactagogues”), and you’ll find different things suggested in different cultures. There’s plenty of anecdotal (yet inconclusive research-based) evidence that demonstrates that they may be effective.

So what’s the problem?

For starters, using galactogogues can often be, at best, a band-aid, covering up the actual problem, which doesn’t get resolved and may cause problems in the long run. For example: A working parent is pumping at work, but finds that her pumping output has decreased and she can’t keep up with her baby’s needs. She wants to know how to increase her milk supply. The actual problem might not be her pumping output. Her pump parts may need to be replaced. Her pump motor may be dying. She may not be pumping often enough. Her baby may be getting overfed, so what she actually needs to pump is much less than is assumed. Advising that she take fenugreek to increase milk supply and fennel to improve the milk ejection reflex is not going to fix any of those things, and may make them worse (increased milk supply + inadequate milk removal = recipe for mastitis; sending too much milk to daycare may just lead to still more milk being requested later).

There are many, many reasons why a mom’s milk supply might be low. Each mom should be evaluated, and underlying factors addressed, before galactogogues should be used. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine protocol on galactogogue use says:

Prior to the use of a galactogogue, thorough evaluation should be performed of the entire feeding process by a lactation expert. Reassurance may be offered, if appropriate. When intervention is indicated for the dyad, modifiable factors should be addressed: comfort and relaxation for the mother, frequency and thoroughness of milk removal, and underlying medical conditions. Medication should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors.

There are legitimate applications for galactogogues, such as in cases of insufficient glandular tissue, previous breast surgeries, inducing lactation, or exclusively pumping for or nursing a baby with cleft lip or palateDiana West, IBCLC and Ask Lenore provide credible information on low milk supply and how galactogogues can help in these circumstances.

Galactogogues may cause side effects for parent, baby, or both. Fenugreek, for example, can interfere with the absorption of medication, vitamins, minerals, etc., which could even worsen the underlying factors that taking fenugreek is trying to mitigate. Fenugreek can also have an effect on blood sugar levels. It can cause stomach upset in a baby (and those who take the supplement, too), either because of more, faster-flowing milk (which is lower in fat and higher in lactose, which may be difficult for a baby to digest) or because it’s passing into breastmilk. Fenugreek is a legume, and those who have allergies to other legumes, such as peanuts, may experience cross-reactions. (Here are more details about fenugreek and breastfeeding.) It’s also possible for galactogogues to work too well; you might end up with plugged ducts or mastitis after attempts to increase a milk supply that didn’t need to be increased in the first place. Any herb or medication should be taken under the guidance someone qualified to consider drug interactions and potential side effects.

The quality and quantity of herbal preparations is not consistent, since they are not regulated. You cannot be sure if you’re using the correct—or even the same—dosage each time.

[Tweet “#Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a human baby, no special gadgets or diets required.”]Galactogogues cost money and time. A regimen of herbs, tinctures, or teas is not inexpensive, and they must be sourced. Sure, a mom can order what she needs from, but maybe that time would be better spent on an extra nursing session or even some self-care. You can buy lactation cookies, but the mark-up is extraordinary. If you really want some and don’t have time to bake them, any old oatmeal cookie at the store will probably do. (Really, I think we should stop calling them “lactation cookies,” and just start calling them “cookies.”)

Finally, and just as importantly, suggesting galactogogues reinforces the notion that breastfeeding requires special stuff in order to work. We live in a society that values quick fixes, and it’s tempting to suggest and to use those things that will give us fast results. But this, I believe, undermines a parent’s confidence in their ability to breastfeed. Breastfeeding parents are told by various sources to eat this for the best breastmilk, avoid that to prevent fussiness, drink this to increase milk supply, and the overall message is, “You cannot make the best milk for your baby, or as much as he needs, without outside help.” I would like to see us reinforce the notion, as much as possible, that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a human baby, no special gadgets or diets required.

Let’s turn away from the quick fixes and try to find the root of the problem. Sometimes we just need to share with each other how to tell if a baby is getting enough to eat (if your baby has enough wet/dirty diapers, is gaining weight, and is meeting milestones, you’re golden). Sometimes we need to realize that as fellow parents—and even lactation support people such as CLCs—that we are not qualified to give advice on certain topics, and it’s something that should be addressed by a professional. Overall, we need a little more trust in our bodies and a little less trust in interventions.



  1. I love this!

    1. I tried store bought oatmeal cookies… they had high fructose corn syrup. Blah.

      Yes, I already eat oatmeal.

  2. I agree! Too many people (myself included) turn to these quick fixes without trying to get to the root of the problem. Suggesting these bandaids over and over is just implying that women can't breastfeeding without help.

    The only thing I disagree with is:
    "If you really want some and don't have time to bake them, any old oatmeal cookie at the store will probably do. (Really, I think we should stop calling them "lactation cookies," and just start calling them "cookies.")"

    It's the brewers yeast in "lactation cookies" that make them "LACTACTION" cookies. Not the oatmeal. So you can't compare them to just any old oatmeal cookie.

  3. C, I'll have to disagree with your disagree! 🙂 Lactation cookies generally have oatmeal, flax seeds, and brewers yeast – all are considered to be galactagogues. Any roughage (including oatmeal) may potentially increase milk supply. In my opinion, the amount of flax seed and brewers yeast in an individual lactation cookie is probably not enough to make a significant difference.

  4. Some people actually do benefit from them: mamas who've had a reduction, FtM papas who have had their breasts removed, folks with a family history of low supply, and those who have had a separation from their baby and want help to build their supply up.

    I agree that the issue should definitely be looked at first, but I don't think that you should just make a blanket statement that they're unhelpful.

    1. He uses evidence based ideas. There are no studys to show they are effective. I work at a hospital who also uses evidence based practice and we are not allowed to recomend them because of lack of evidence.

  5. Yup i definitely agree. Milk boosters aren't slways necessary. We must understand the real issues with dropping milk supply first before introducing galactogues

  6. How do you feel about these remedies if you are pumping to donate milk? I’ve never had a problem with supply, but recently started pumping to help a mom in need, and I’ve thought of using lactation cookies to increase supply so I can pump more. Just curious what you think of this.

    1. I absolutely love that you are donating milk, Lura! Really, all you should need to do is pump more and you’ll get more. Our breasts are pretty awesome that way. If you’re pumping in addition to feeding your own baby, you’ll make extra milk accordingly. If you’re pumping in place of feedings your baby has been having (which you’ll likely only be doing if you have a nursling over a year old), your milk supply will remain steady.

      Of course, if you feel you need some extra calories because you’re making extra milk or if you just want a treat, it doesn’t hurt to have a cookie.

  7. Yes yes yes!! One thing re: cookies though… I do think they can be a lovely form of self care if you’re in the midst of a difficult breastfeeding situation. I was informed enough to know that adding a small amount of brewer’s yeast and flax to oatmeal cookies wasn’t going to do anything for my supply (and also…I knew my supply was fine, I was just worried about protecting it), but the act of making the dough and then later being able to insist, better bake up some delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies…FOR THE BABY. Yeahhh. I dunno, it just was nice, and it made me feel good, and were an easy snack to grab while my baby was cluster feeding. They certainly won’t decrease your supply, but also reallllly probably aren’t going to actually increase it to mask any other problems either.

    tl;dr lactation cookies are good for breastfeeding like how getting a shoulder massage from your partner, or chatting with other moms at a LLL meeting, or getting some fresh air on a nice day is good for breastfeeding: I think they can help women feel calmer, better, and maybe a little more in control.

    P.s. I think maybe I’ve met you? I saw Joanne and Jess at HCMC and I’m like 90% sure you were there one of those times…

    1. Hi, Shannon! You’re absolutely right that these little rituals can help bolster confidence and be part of a self-care routine.

      And you are absolutely right that we’ve probably met!

    2. My son is 5 weeks old and I been thinking about galactagoges because my breast are so loose as if there’s barely any milk. Also I tried pumping and it was a draining experience. It took me an whole hour or more to get 2 oz.

      1. Leah, After your supply regulates, your breasts won’t alway feel full, but there is milk there if you are pumping 2 ounces, which is great! Many mom’s don’t get that much (when pumping), and their babies are still well fed. What you pump is not always indicative of what baby gets from nursing. You would need to do weighted feeds for at least 24 hours to get a rough idea of what baby’s intake actually is, versus your pumping output. Much love.

      2. My experience with baby 3 was that my breasts felt much looser than baby 1 but had less issue with milk supply..seemed i had plenty milk but like i was just too busy to makr it til i sat down to feed THEN got the let down..look at babies nappies and satisfaction and weight gains before you doubt your milk supply 🙂 just because you cant see it doesnt mean it doesnt measure up..

    3. Yes! I made some oatmeal cookies when my baby was just born, and having a couple between 11pm and 4am, during her constant cluster feedings, just felt really good.

  8. […] And if you still think that you must take supplements to increase your supply, please consider that the BEST tool you have available to you to increase supply is an empty breast. An empty breast fills faster than a full breast. It’s supply and demand. So, nurse or pump more often. And please read this article from my friend and colleague, Tiffany Gallagher, CLC: “Why you won’t hear me suggest galactogogues.” […]

  9. Definitely food for thought here, thank you. I’m a working mum, so I pump to feed my 11mth old while I’m away from him. In recent weeks, my pumping output has plummeted – I think, partly because he has begun sleeping for much longer stretches at night. He used to wake every three hours to nurse, so almost reverse cycling. I’m desperate to get him to a year, so trying everything – fenugreek, oatmeal, nursing tea; you name it! Am wondering now whether my supply is just dwindling, and I should just accept it. That, or I should start getting up every three hours at night to pump!

    1. Hi, Joanne! That depends upon your breastfeeding – or, rather, your pumping – goals. By a year of age, most children are starting to eat more solid food than breastmilk, so your supply goes down to match that decreased demand. And moms who are expressing milk may stop around a year because their little one is no longer needing expressed milk as a primary source of nourishment. It’s totally normal for supply to decrease over time, because a child’s need for breastmilk decreases over time. You could conceivably continue to pump indefinitely, but you will see a decrease in output over time. If you want to keep that output up for whatever reason, you are right that pumping during those new stretches of sleep could help increase your pumping output.

  10. I know this is an old thread, but hoping I can get a reply. The part about sending too much milk to daycare has me thinking. How do I know how much milk my baby needs me to send to daycare?

    1. I love this calculator on the website to help figure out how much milk a baby might need at daycare.

  11. I’ve been struggling with low supply for 3 months. My baby is 5 months old. I pump every 3 hours at work and have even tried using a hospital grade pump. My baby’s weight had gone downhill at her last appointment, so I know my low supply is negatively affecting her. Any suggestions? I typically only pump 2 oz at each session.

    1. Hi, Kayla. The best suggestion I have for you is to contact an IBCLC who is local to you for help with breastfeeding and pumping if you have concerns about your milk supply. Here’s one place to look: It is hard to tell if your supply is low based on pumping output and one weight that is lower than expected, so it’s important to take the time to get a thorough assessment with someone who can see the big picture and the smaller details.

      1. Thank you for that resource! I’ve had several conversations with the lactation consultant at the hospital I gave birth at. But yesterday, she told me she thought my supply had kind of run its course since I was no longer pumping what I used to and my baby had only gained 8 oz in 2.5 months. Maybe I can reach out to one of the LCs on this website for a second opinion.

        1. I used to find as a home mum that extra food and naps increased my supply.. when i went back to work i had to work harder at a milk supply..a newborn photo of my bub while pumping really helped me!!
          And take time to relax and be comfortable.. i was lucky my boss allowed me to take a longer lunch break and make up the time at the end of the day..good luck!

  12. Nicely done Tiffany ! … Important to remember that while Breastfeeding is normal in a normal world – I wonder how many of our clients live in a normal world .. hmmm .. Thanks again ! Gini Baker

  13. I’m honestly getting frustrated about this breastfeeding issues. I had my baby 2 weeks ago and because I hadn’t started producing milk, I gave him formula for the first few days. Now he’s so used to the bottle that he doesn’t want to suck on the breast. I got a pump to help express and the i bottle feed him. My major concern is that I can only get about 1 oz of milk from both breasts, sometimes less. I’m afraid my milk production is incredibly low and I desperately need to increase. Somewhere in my head I’m thinking maybe breastfeeding isn’t for everyone.

    1. Hi, Seun. I’m sorry you’re having difficulties breastfeeding your new baby! Have you seen a lactation consultant? This is a good site to start looking for one: A La Leche League Leader may also be able to help. Look for one here: The best thing I can suggest is to have someone who has training in breastfeeding to observe you breastfeed and answer your questions in person.

      Good luck!

  14. […] If you’re pumping and don’t seem to be getting the milk out that you need for your baby, you should check your pump! Sometimes the section, the tubing, and just the over all function of your breast pump could use a tune up. […]

  15. So…. what if you already eat these things in your everyday life, before, during and after pregnancy. Are you saying that I am doing bad by my child because of that? Or that I should have consulted a lactation consultant about it? Get a grip.

    1. Nope.

      I do suggest you talk to a lactation consultant if you believe you have issues with low milk supply, though.

  16. Hi,
    Having combination fed my 6wk old,from the beginning due to tongue tie (which was fixed at 2wks) I’d like to cut down the formula and give more bm,I bf after and in between feeds.
    Any advice on how I can match the volume he gets?

    1. It is hard to give any individual advice without meeting in person. You may find this post about maximizing pumping output helpful – – but I would suggest that you seek out the help of an IBCLC, if possible (try, or another local breastfeeding professional. It looks like you’re from the UK, so this might be a good place to start to find a local professional who is experienced with issues around tongue tie:

      Good for you, for sticking with breastfeeding despite your challenges!

  17. […] But first before we get started – is your milk supply actually low?  Many women mistakenly believe that their breast milk supply is low when it is not.  See this wonderful article from about breastmilk supply issues.  There is no need to supplement with galactogogues if breastmilk supply is normal! […]

  18. […] But first before we get started – is your milk supply actually low?В В Many women mistakenly believe that their breast milk supply is low when it is not.В  See this wonderful article from kellymom.comВ about breastmilk supply issues.В  There is no need to supplement with galactogogues if breastmilk supply is normal! […]

  19. Thank you so much, I am in complete agreement. I have been recommending galactogogues very cautiously lately as I think it’s only fair that 1. mothers know that there is not strong research supporting their effectiveness and 2. that the most important thing they can do to make milk is empty their breasts of milk! 🙂

  20. This is a really interesting point of view! I am curious…I’ve been drinking “Mother’s Milk” tea for a year because I love a nice hot cup of something and coffee seems to make my little one’s sleep go from bad to worse. I enjoy it with honey & milk and figured if I’m drinking a cup of tea it might as well be something that helps my milk supply. So I’m wondering if I should stop drinking this at all since it’s not something I need?

    1. Hi, Kay! If you enjoy it, drink it. But it’s probably not doing anything to help your milk supply. It would take many, many cups of tea to get anywhere near the therapeutic amount!

  21. I exclusively pump because my baby was 7 weeks early, spent 3 weeks in NICU and despite 10 weeks of intense trying and countless visits from 3 different LCs, he just won’t latch. I’m going back to work now and I’ve made my peace with him not nursing.

    I was attempting to increase my supply slightly to have some spare in the freezer for when I go back to work. I started increasing the amount of pumping sessions. I was running steady for 6 weeks, producing a steady and exactly adequate supply by pumping every 6 hours.

    When I switched to every 3-4 hours my overall supply decreased by 200ml per 24hr! Then I tried fenugreek and ppffffttt didn’t work (I wasn’t surprised). After a week of resuming my every 6 hours it went right back up and even increased by 100ml per 24hrs!

    So many women admonish me for my extended pumping intervals but for whatever reason they seem to help me maintain. Is this something you have heard before? Do I have strange mutant breasts?!

    1. It’s possible you have strange mutant breasts! 😉

      It would probably require sitting down and looking at schedules and output in detail to see where the differences may lie. Every breast and every body is different, so it could just be an individual variation. What is most important is removing the most milk, regardless of what that ends up looking like from a logistical point of view.

      1. My theory is that the stress and discomfort of extra pumping reduces my let down. My nipples are fabulous and pain free with less pumping but swollen and tender with more sessions (and I get less sleep). I keep records with the pump log app and the main variation is see is length of session. I average 30-40 minutes every 6 hours in contrast to 15 min every 3-4 hours.

        All the LCs I’ve seen scratched their heads when I explained my situation. This must be my little slice of normal! Hopefully another woman out there will read this and think “oh thank god I’m not alone!”

  22. My sister had a baby 8 days ago, born premature and subsequent health issues on her part meant that she could not nurse him or even pump for the first 6 days. She started pumping as soon as she could but she also has to pump and dump for quite some time until she is entirely off of a medication that is unsafe for him. So I am feeling like this post coming up so popularly on a Google search on increasing milk supply is somewhat disappointing.

  23. I’m currently nursing my 7-week-old daughter. I’ve been drinking nursing teas (Weleda, Earth Mama Angel Baby), not to increase my supply but because an LC told me they were safe to drink when nursing. I like herbal tea, but many come with the disclaimer not to drink when BFing.

    I’ve been drinking 1 cup of tea every one or two days. Should I stop? Neither my daughter nor I have had any side effects. I’m not taking any medication but I’m concerned by your claim that fenugreek can “interfere with the absorption of … vitamins, minerals”.

    1. Can anyone answer this question for me?

      1. Sorry, Karen. I forgot to respond! The amount of fenugreek in tea isn’t enough to do much, and it’s the actual ground or whole seed that can have that effect, to my knowledge.

  24. Your ignorance is astounding. You clearly need to work with more women who have true low supply due to physical and hormonal causes. Galactoguges can absolutely help mothers. Not all work for everyone. But to make such an ignorant statement admonishing all of them for everyone is exactly why this backwards, uninformed, out dated advice has lead to babies being hospitalized for starvation or jaundice. Please pick up a book or better yet join the Facebook group for IGT and Low Supply before you make any more foolish, uneducated statements

    1. I made a lot of statements, including that galactagogues are useful in some circumstances. Not all people can make enough milk, but milk-making capacity is maximized with good breastfeeding management. Galactagogues do not replace that.

      1. I just want to say thank you for being more scientific in your approach to information. I’ve gotten quite frustrated at trying to find pumping info. They are either prefaced with guilt trip wording for not directly feeding or touting some herbal remedy. It has been nice to read a number of your kind and informative posts.

        For the record I eat oatmeal/flax every to every other day & I still see fluctuations in my supply. It’s nice to know there are all kinds of reasons

  25. How do you deal with real milk supply issues, when you know your problem IS low milk supply?

    My baby is 5 months old and a month ago, my supply got so low that she dropped a ton of weight and her doctor had me start supplementing with formula. I have no idea why it dropped. And it hasn’t come back. I have tried every herbal supplement I have found, and try pumping after and in between feedings with very little change. I nursed my 1st for 15 months and never had supply issues.

    I have gone to TWO lactation consultants. One repeatedly told me to take galactogogues and pump, and the other spent an hour trying to convince me that my supply wasn’t actually low, because the way I described my situation “just isn’t how milk supply works”

    I want so badly to get my baby off formula. I just don’t know what resources to use to do so.

    1. These situations are both the hardest and most interesting to approach as a lactation consultant! If you were sitting with me, I’d go through your health history with you, your birth/breastfeeding history, how things have been going with breastfeeding/pumping – including reviewing all the basics like latch, positioning, and pumping technique – do a test weight feeding, and then come up with a plan to see if we can boost supply over the next week. Then we’d meet and see where we’re at. If the “usual” methods don’t help, then other things can be explored, like asking your OB or midwife to order labs and seeing if the results give us any clues. We can’t always figure out what it is, but we can do investigating and try our best.

      I hope you find answers soon. I’m happy to help find an IBCLC near you who may be able to give you another assessment.

    2. I just went through a very real supply issue that was caused by a measurable decrease in prolactin levels. I was put on reglan 10mg 3x a day and my supply is finally back to normal with only a minimal dip after tapering off the reglan.

      Like you, I tried everything. Pumping around the clock for 30 mins at a time, nursing as much as possible, fenugreek, thistle, oatmeal. Nothing worked. Eventually my endocrinologist noticed that my prolactin level was substantially lower than it had been 3 months earlier when I was 4 months postpartum.
      While in a perfect world, all the advice of pumping and nursing more would work. But more and more women have hormonal imbalances and this can sometimes involve prolactin and thus milk supply. Before needing reglan I had an abundant and normal supply and my drop was sudden and not triggered by any alteration in nursing/pumping or injury to my breasts.
      Go talk to your obgyn about the issue your having. The longer you wait the harder it is to get it back.

  26. I think this is good information for women who are in the early stages of nursing, or perhaps even the first year. Past that, a baby/toddler needs other types of food, and nursing habits change, so supply can definitely dip. In that case, when you are nursing by ‘choice,’ it can become difficult to maintain supply. I find the Mother’s Milk tea to really work for me, as my diteary and lifestyle habits are otherwise very steady. Anyhow, I understand the notion of recognizing underlying problems and not feeding into a ‘nursing is unnatural and hard’ culture, but… to disregard galactogogues in all scenarios barring extreme conditions… agree to disagree. They work for some normal, healthy women, and let’s let them decide what is best for their bodies. Let’s not create a reverse culture of, if your body isn’t lactating perfectly, or ‘normally,’ you must be doing something wrong or have a problem.

    1. My perspective is that the culture of turning to galactagogues first as a way to fix breastfeeding issues is often based in misunderstanding normal lactation. Nursing habits can change as babies get older – and that’s normal. Breastfeeding changes, and our bodies are resilient and change with it. Even as babies get older, the best way to increase breastmilk supply – if it does, in fact, need to be increased – is increased milk removal. A common example of this is how a baby may begin to eat solid food and if breastfeeding is not done first, may “fill up” on solid food and not consume as much breastmilk, leading to a reduction in milk supply. The solution is to offer the breast first.

      People absolutely get to decide what they put in their bodies, but part of my job is to share evidence-based information about breastfeeding and lactation.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      1. Yes I agree that frequent nursing is always the solid answer. In my opinion the galactogogues are a short term fix, but a fix nonetheless… although many are ineffective as you said. I would only urge women who have become ‘seasoned’ to consider an external boost when, well, it’s the middle of the night and your baby is injuring your nipple, digging at you, throwing their body around and crying. Lol I have a screamer, she always has been. I notice a nice, short term increase from the tea. However, if not followed by increased nursing, it is certain to fail. Nursing has to become habit, and the more frequent the better.

        Frequent nursing is also a great way to prevent and clear up clogged ducts. I also use primrose oil if I get a clog, not sure your thoughts on that, and warm compresses. Anyhow, nursing is definitely a commitment, but so worth getting over the hurdles.

        Thank you for your response!

  27. I feel like this article is too black and white when there are many ‘grey’ areas. My daughter had an undiagnosed tongue tied that wasn’t caught until she was a week old, we were struggling with latching, my supply was low and all the pumping in the world wasn’t bringing it up. Even when she was finally able to latch she was never satisfied because I couldn’t produce enough to fill her tummy, I had to use those extra supplements and such they made a world of difference and without it I wouldn’t have been able to produce a lot of milk.

  28. I understand some of what you are saying but as a low supply mom we tend to try to do everything in our power to provide milk for our babies. Sure I’ve spent hrs and hrs researching and trying different things. If I hadn’t I would be unable to provide milk for my baby. I still don’t provide 100% but it’s better than nothing. Not the same regimen works for each mom so if a lactation cookie works for a mom why not. And to leave it to the professionals so to speak. Sorry to say but the professionals don’t know what they are talking about. Do you really think they have time for low supply moms?! And yes I am even referring to lactation consultants. They surely haven’t helped me. I have seen many under the sun of endrocronoligists, lactation consultants, naturopathics, doctors and I’m sure I’m missing a few. No they only try to give quick fixes or not help at all. But they are good at taking your money while they are at it. If it wasn’t for other mamas like me I’d be lost and I’m thankful for those mamas like myself steering each other in the right direction. If nothing else we understand and are there for one another unlike the professionals out there. So it’s not always so cut and dry advice. I would rather spend money on things that would help than those that say they can help but spend money month after month with nothing.

    1. Im sorry that you had to experience this. You’re right. Things aren’t so cut and dry. As stated in the article, certain situations does require help. But unfortunately, our society still hasn’t seen breastfeeding as normal which is one reason why quick fixes are easily suggested. Try consulting with an IBCLC. They have more extensive training & cases on complex issues. Remember that because many of the galactagogues don’t have much research on them, they could be causing you more harm than good.

    2. Love your comment, Kelly. The medical world does not know what to do with us Low Supply moms. I am still throwing money at trying to make more milk. All I can do is try :), because just telling to nurse more does not always make a difference.

  29. Hello!

    My sons pediatrician recommend fenugreek to get my milk supply up because he lost too much weight after birth. Can I stop using it at some point or will it decrease my milk supply? I read in your article that fenugreek may affect let down and how quickly baby gets the milk, mine seems pretty fast and baby gulps a lot. I solely breastfeed and don’t pump, I haven’t had good results with pumping. He is gaining and has an adequate number of wet/dirty diapers as well.

  30. Holla! I work in lactation and I agree. I tell moms you can certainly drink these teas and take these supplements but you have to remove the milk!

  31. […] forcing early supplementation by bottle.  I wanted a spotlight shined on the ever-growing niche of galactagogues and other breastfeeding supplements marketed for the lactating […]

  32. […] oils can’t fix breastfeeding problems. Work with a lactation consultant to troubleshoot supply issues, tongue ties, latch problems, and your baby’s digestive […]

  33. Ok, so what if I notice a dip in my supply every month, the week before my period? My daughter is 6 months and this is the second time I’ve weighed her where she’s lost weight. A month ago, she was 14 pounds, 6 ounces and today she is 14 pounds, 4 ounces. Exclusively breastfed. I add a pumping session in the evening and as my period progresses my milk seems to come back and she gains the next time I weigh her, at least that’s how it went the last time this happened, which was 6 weeks ago when I had my last period. I weighed her two weeks after and she had gained, I think 3 ounces. I started my period at 2 months pp. It has always seemed like I get dips in my supply but by the time I thought anything of it it was back up again. But during that time my little one is restless and unsatisfied. How do you suggest I deal with a dip in supply related to my cycle?

    1. If you have concerns about your daughter’s weight gain, it is my recommendation that you seek in-person IBCLC support and talk to her doctor as well. A full breastfeeding assessment is a good idea.

      For more general advice, this article may help:

      1. Thank you for your response. I have seen my doctor, who referred me to an LC (board certified) who then suggested fenugreek. The problem was that I didn’t realize it was cycle related until 6 months in because most times I weighed her she was gaining. It’s only been twice now that Ive taken her and she’s either gained too little or this month, actually lost. Then I finally clued in that it’s been the times right after I started my period where she’s lost and I’ve also noticed that the week before is when my milk seems low. The first time I realized it, I went back the week after and she had gained again so we thought it was just the “typical” fluctuation in a breast feeding baby. But now that it’s happened a second time, I’m starting to connect the dots. My LC has not suggested a calcium magnesium supplement so that’s a nice price of advice to see. The article doesn’t state anything about a women who starts her period almost right away, 2 months pp. my daughter has generally gained very well, as I mentioned earlier, only twice that she has not. Why did I start my period so quick? Why is it only now seeming to impact my supply?

        I so appreciate your advice, I live in a very small town with not s whole lot of support.


  34. […] Why you won’t hear me suggest galactagogues by the Boob Geek, CLC […]

  35. […] stated so eloquently by Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tipper Gallagher here, it’s always important to seek to address underlying issues if breast milk supply is a concern. […]

  36. I like the ideology of not running to a quick fix for a problem that may have various roots, but of course I must stick up for nature’s roots and stems and twigs and leaves and seeds and stuff too.. I think that a lot of women especially today experience health problems, and they can be physical or mental and emotional or all of the above. So often herbs and other natural remedies could be just what the doctor ordered, and help either address root causes by healing the body and being, or alleviate symptoms of somethings long enough for the body to help heal itself. I don’t know enough about different herbal remedies and bodily issues to prescribe which will help what exactly at this point, but there are many ways to get healthier and increase wellbeing, and countless natural substances can assist with this and should be honored instead of shunned as something akin to a prescription drug which in my researched opinion should never be taken. An important thing to keep in mind is that most herbs or other remedies that might be recommended will have other effects on a person too, and that is probably partially what you had in mind while advising not to jump the gun and jump on the bandwagons of these various popular substances. but the multitude of effects herbs and such can have could be beneficial in numerous ways that can have lasting effects for the mother and child.

  37. My main reason for making the cookies is because I like how they taste and they fill me up more than a lot of other snacks

  38. My 15 day old wasn’t gaining weight as expected by his doctors. He was born 8 lbs 11 oz. By his 5th day of life he was still at 8lbs. He consistently maintained an 8lb weight but never went below that. He developed what they called breastfeeding jaundice. He wasn’t latching well the first few days. Finally, after going to do weight checks & bilirubin checks every other day since his birth I was told to supplement with 2oz of formula in a bottle after every breast feeding. I noticed after he has formula he grunts a lot. I want to go back to exclusively breastfeeding but when I try to avoid supplementing with the bottle it seems like my baby is hungry all day. He hardly ever seems satisfied after a feeding & I can’t seem to get him to stay awake the whole way through a feeding either. We go back to the doctor in 2 days for yet another weight check. Any suggestions?

  39. […] stated so eloquently by Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tipper Gallagher here, it’s always important to seek to address underlying issues if breast milk supply is a […]

  40. Why do you talk about breastfeeding parents when women are the ones who breastfeed?
    No just you but many sources do not individualize that women are the ones who breastfeed.

    1. Thanks for asking, Carol. You’ll find the answers you seek in this blog post from the International Lactation Consultant Association blog:

  41. […] For a very skeptical look at and discussion of the pitfalls of lactation cookies, this is a great post. […]

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