Note, this article includes affiliate links; all opinions are 100% my own.
Boosting Milk Supply
There’s no shortage of products out there these days that say they can help boost your milk supply. While the vast majority of women do have enough breast milk for their baby, sometimes it’s hard to maintain your supply if you’re pumping or can’t always breastfeed on demand.
Today I’m going to look at the best lactation supplements and vitamins. These are available in pill/tablet form and contain ingredients known to boost milk supply like fenugreek, milk thistle, or fennel seed. These ingredients are known as galactagogues – the term for any supplement, food, or drug that promotes breast milk production and supply.
A Word of Caution
While lactation supplements are generally safe and natural with limited side effects, use them with care. Check with your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant first. Also, be aware that breast milk oversupply is a real possibility which comes with its own challenges and pain, such as engorgement or complications like clogged ducts. I still recommend these products, just be sure to read the instructions and use with care!
Also, note that you will need to continue breastfeeding or pumping regularly to maintain your supply. Breast milk is produced based on supply and demand. You can take these supplements to boost your supply, but if there is no demand through breastfeeding or pumping, you won’t see any lasting supply boost.
Two last comments. First, remember, these products are generally not safe in pregnancy – if you think you might be pregnant of course consult your doctor/ LC and avoid these products. Second, all of these products contain fenugreek in various amounts… a known side effect is to make you smell sweet… maple syrupy sweet. This can be bothersome, but is harmless, and a sign the fenugreek may be working!
Reviews – The Best Lactation Supplements
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best lactation supplements. I’ve rated the top 5 products here in this table and additional detail is available below.
Certified organic herbs make up this special blend, which includes standard galactagogues plus Goat’s Rue – an herb believed to support mammary tissue development and function.
Active ingredients: 1100mg Goat’s Rue, Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, Nettle Leaf, Fennel Seed blend (per serving of 2 pills)
Dosage: 1 capsule, 4 times/day (If over 175 lbs take 2 capsules, 3 times/day). Each bottle has 120 capsules, so you get a 30 day supply (or 20 day if over 17blbs)
Why buy: These come with a higher price tag than a lot of lactation supplements, but it is widely agreed that they are effective. If you have tried other lactation boosters without success, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much Motherlove Special Blend can boost your milk production.
This organic blend requires you to take only two capsules a day, so it is easy to remember and you don’t feel like you are constantly swallowing pills. The ingredients are also all non-GMO and allergen free. The formulation is said to have been made under consultation with both doctors and lactation consultants.
Active ingredients: 1350mg fenugreek, fennel, shatavari, milk thistle, blessed thistle, and marshmallow root blend (per serving of 2 capsules
Dosage: 2 capsules, once per day. Each bottle has 60 capsules, so you get a 30 day supply.
Why buy: It’s hard to resist anything from the Honest Company! This is a great, all natural product, and a 30 day supply is well priced.
Mommy Knows Best Nursing and Lactation support is all natural, gluten/dairy/allergen free. It is made in the USA and adheres to GMP safety standards. Comes with a 14-day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the product.
Active ingredients: 2600mg Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle & Fennel Seed combo, 60mg DHA (per serving of 4 pills)
Dosage: Take 1-2 capsules with meals for a total of 4 per day. Each bottle has 120 capsules, so you get a 30-day supply.
Why buy: The combination of herbs is effective for a lot of lactating moms while the DHA is a great plus to enrich your breast milk. I like this formulation because it means you only need to take this one supplement – no need for separate Fenugreek, Fish Oil, etc – all you need is a serving of Mommy Knows Best each day.
Gaia’s lactation blend boosts lactation and may enhance the nutrients in breastmilk by providing bioflavonoids, polypeptides, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Liquid capsules digest easily. The product is also 100% vegan and organic.
Active ingredients: 1296mg Fenugreek, fennel, raspberry leaf, thistle herb, and marshmallow root (per serving of 3 capsules)
Why buy: The formulation is designed to not only enhance breast milk quantity, but also nutritive quality. The organic and vegan product is made in the USA. The bottle is good value with a 40 day supply.
Dr. Christopher’s formulation contains a wider variety of herbs than the other supplements reviewed here. I found that pure Fenugreek wasn’t terribly effective for me, so I like blends of various herbs which tend to give me more of a supply boost.
Active ingredients: 920mg Fenugreek, Fennel, Anise Seed, Blessed Thistle, Marshmallow Root, Dandelion Leaf, Nettle Leaf, Hops Flower, Chaste Tree Berry, Mullein Leaf & Jurassic Green (Certified Organic Alfalfa, Barley & Non-Hybrid Wheat Grass) blend (per serving of 2 capsules)
Dosage: 2 capsules, 2 times a day. Each bottle is 100 capsules, so you get a 25 day supply.
Why buy: Christopher’s formulation is a great value and efficacy isn’t compromised for the price.
I hope this article helps you decide which lactation supplement is right for you. Had any success or problems with these products? Leave your comments below!
Not sure about supplements? Check out my lactation smoothie recipe or lactation snacks:
Pumping a lot? See these posts for tips and must-have accessories:
And remember your breast milk storage guidelines!