Fenugreek is an herb used in the recipe of lots of breastfeeding teas, you may well have seen it listed. There is no doubt it has been used as such for many years, but it may be prudent to avoid it whilst you are breastfeeding.
FENUGREEK AND ITS USES
Fenugreek seed comes from the Fabaceae plant and originates from semi-arid regions around the world and has been widely used widely in Indian and Asian cuisine, it has been used for thousands of years in Chinese and alternative medicine as well as in tea, cosmetics, condiments and soaps. With antioxidant properties and a range of vitamins, there are health benefits from consuming Fenugreek. There are however some unwanted side effects we should be aware of, particularly for breast feeding mothers.”
WHY NOT IN OUR BREASTFEEDING TEAS.
There is little doubt that Breast Milk is the best source of nutrients and vitamins for your baby, but not all mums are able to produce sufficient supply for their child. This can be caused by any number of reasons, illness, stress, medication. Prescription drugs can help stimulate milk supply, not all mums are happy to take that route preferring natural alternatives.
Fenugreek has, in studies, shown some improvements in a mothers’ breastmilk supply. For example, one 14-day study in 77 new mothers found that drinking herbal tea with fenugreek seeds increased breast milk production.
However, there are some side effects our resident Naturopath Amanda Hunter wants you to be aware of when consuming this ingredient:
1. If you have a thyroid problem, particularly hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) Fenugreek can influence the active thyroid hormone your body uses. This can make your hypothyroidism worse and accordingly reduce milk production. Women who are on medication for their thyroid problem, have a normal milk supply while breastfeeding.
2. Some women have reported side effects from Fenugreek, such as diarrhoea, gas and heartburn and urine and sweat that smells like maple syrup – that smell can show up in baby’s urine too.
3. If mum’s digestive system is upset, then this can cause similar symptoms in the baby.
4. Fenugreek is capable of lowering blood sugar, so if you are at all hypoglycemic (suffer from low blood sugar symptoms) Fenugreek could make these symptoms worse, so you would need to monitor your glucose levels.
5. Fenugreek is a legume and those who have peanut and chickpea allergies may experience a cross-reaction and a possible allergic reaction.
6. Fenugreek is such a good stimulator of breast milk that the baby can become fussy and develop loose, watery, green stools – a sign of too much foremilk.
We use other herbs that are very good for stimulating milk production but don’t have the above possible side effects.
Our resident naturopath is always available to share more information on fenugreek and why we choose to leave this ingredient out of our breastfeeding tea blends. Please feel free to get in touch via our contact us page if you would like more information on our blends or ingredients.