But did you know that there are herbs which reduce your milk supply? Here are a few to be aware of:*
- Peppermint. According to the Nursing Mother’s Herbal, some forms of peppermint are more effective than others at reducing milk supply. Peppermint tea isn’t thought to have much impact, but foods with peppermint oil (and a higher concentration of menthol), including some mints, may affect milk supply.
- Sage. The Nursing Mother’s Herbal says sage is “almost legendary for lowering milk supply,” and is the herb of choice for reducing supply during weaning.
- Parsley. The Nursing Mother’s Herbal states that mothers sometimes notice a decrease in supply after “feasting on tabouleh for several days,” and notes that parsley juice and tablets also have caused declines in supply.
Like galactagogues, these herbs have a greater effect on milk supply when eaten regularly in large or concentrated amounts, so a parsley garnish or a sprinkle of sage isn’t likely to do much harm.
But sometimes these herbs appear in concentrated amounts in places you wouldn’t expect, like green drinks and smoothies, mints, and even Thanksgiving stuffing. There are many recipes for green smoothies which contain parsley, which is an otherwise wonderfully nutritious herb. As noted above, tabouleh can also contain a lot of parsley. Mints made with peppermint oil may contain enough menthol to affect supply if eaten regularly. And Thanksgiving stuffing is often made with sage, and many of us eat leftover stuffing for days after the holiday.
So, while breastfeeding we encourage you to eat foods containing these ingredients in moderation. If you are having difficulty with milk supply you may want to avoid them altogether.
*This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.