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Just as there are numerous ways to increase milk supply while breastfeeding, there are also numerous ways to decrease your milk supply. Sometimes new mothers don’t realize that some of their habits of foods they are consuming can have a negative impact on how much milk their body is producing.
We believe nutrition is the foundation of health and milk supply, and we’ve also discussed some of the best ways to increase milk supply, but it is also important to educate new mommies on the things can decrease milk supply.
First, we’ll go over some foods that can have a negative affect on milk supply, then we’ll also discuss some habits that can also reduce the milk a mother is producing. It is also important to note that just because a food or habit has shown a decrease in some women, doesn’t mean it will for you as well. Everyone has a different genetic make up, and it is important to monitor your milk supply with any new diet, foods and habits.
Foods that can decrease milk supply:
There is actually very limited research on foods and herbs that can decrease milk supply. Even the popular peppermint and sage herbs that have been reported to reduce milk supply have very little scientific proof. Because we believe in combining scientific research with anecdotal research, we have a fairly short list of foods and habits.
Sage is used to help breastfeeding mothers wean and reduce milk supply. There are no scientific studies proving that sage reduces milk production, though there are many women who report that sage helps with weaning. If using Sage to help with the weaning process, the best results are in high dosages in pill form or possibly tea. Simply cooking with sage is usually no where near enough to affect milk supply.
Parsley is another herb that has no research to back thoughts that it will reduce milk supply. It is very difficult to eat enough parsley day after day to reduce your milk supply, but if you are taking a supplement of some kind with higher dosages of parsley, you can have a negative affect. Make sure to check any herbal teas, powders or supplements you have to ensure there isn’t a lot of parsley.
This herb has no scientific backing on its affect on milk supply, though because moms have reported it being successful in reducing milk supply, we find it worth mentioning. Oregano used in cooking and recipes doesn’t have the potency that supplements do. If you enjoy eating oregano, it most likely will have no effect on your milk supply, but a more concentrated tea or herbal supplement may have negative affects.
Lifestyle habits that reduce milk supply:
Cigarettes have been shown to have a negative affect on oxytocin levels, which is what stimulates the let down affect. If you let down isn’t working properly, your breasts will not empty. If breasts don’t fully empty, this signals a lower demand and thus a lower supply need.
Sudafed (anti-congestion medicine):
Sudafed, and other similar anti-congestion medications for colds and allergies can negatively affect your milk supply. Basically, because these medications help dry up your runny nose, they can also dry up your milk supply.
Most doctors suggest breastfeeding mamas a very low dosage birth control pill in an attempt to reduce any affect on milk supply. Because birth control pills change hormonal levels, and often times increase estrogen, this can affect your milk production, which is based on your chemical and hormone levels.
This one is fairly obvious, but because becoming pregnant while breastfeeding affects your estrogen levels, it can also affect your milk supply levels. Most times, a new mother’s body adjusts to being pregnant and breastfeeding, but sometimes there is a drop in supply as hormones change and fluctuate.
This is a topic that we feel very strongly about. Many mothers eat plenty of calories, but not enough nutrients. A breastfeeding mother needs extra nutrients to function and give to baby, and when these are not present, milk supply can drop, and a mother may need to turn to formula, even though they are eating plenty of calories. Of course calorie consumption can have an affect on milk supply, but most mothers have stored plenty of fat and water during pregnancy to provide plenty of milk for baby. BUT, some nutrients need to be digested and absorbed into the blood stream to nourish mama and baby. Obtaining enough nutrients can be difficult as a new mother, which is why we created Milk Dust as a solution to nourishment and milk supply. Make sure to use code: LACTATION for 10% off your first order!
This is a fairly rare case for many breastfeeding mamas, but if a new mother is training for a marathon or very intense fitness competition, the stress and extensive training could decrease oxytocin levels and reduce milk supply.
Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration:
Hydration and electrolyte balance directly affect milk supply because breast milk is largely water. In order to produce enough breast milk, your hydration levels need to be normal so there is enough extra liquid to pump into your breasts. If you electrolytes are off, taking some potassium and magnesium can really help (which are also in Milk Dust!).
Most mothers want to avoid anything that may harm their milk supply. Even though the herbs mentioned have no scientific backing, some may feel it is better to just be safe and avoid them all together. Some mothers are more sensitive to herbs than others, so even though you may only consume a tiny bit, your body may have a larger reaction. It is important to remember to take care of yourself by properly nourishing your body to ensure you can support another living life.