How to (Naturally) Increase Your Milk Supply - Try Seaweed!

April 20th, 2009 by Diane Sam

Welcome to the Breastfeeding Carnival!  This month, we've got more than a dozen bloggers providing "How To" Tips for Breastfeeding. At the bottom of this post I have links to the other entries.

A friend of mine emailed me the other day asking for advice since her sister just had a baby and wasn't getting enough breastmilk. So here's what I found after searching the Internet for info.. .the old herbal standby fenugreek, and .... seaweed! That one was news to me! Here's what I said ...

Some Natural Suggestions:

  1. Try fenugreek, a traditional remedy for increasing milk supply. It's been used for centuries, and I've had a few of my friends use it quite successfully.
    (Source:  http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milksupply/fenugreek.html )
  2. My Chinese mother-in-law says that they used to use the “Mother’s tonic”  to increase milk – which is a big pot of warmed up fresh ginger and gin!! (ha, ha, not too sure about suggesting gin to a nursing mom...!!! LOL, but the ginger is probably good).
  3. Try a day in bed!  I think this is sometimes related to stress and also it could be from not nursing enough the first few days. If you are having trouble with low milk supply,  arrange a babysitter for any older children, take a day off, lay in bed cuddling and nursing with the baby all day. That’s what a friend of mine did, and it all got back on track.
  4. Seaweed! Another thing I found out on an Internet search was that Koreans traditionally use seaweed soup as a remedy/tonic for new moms to help stimulate milk production. Here's a soup recipe:

    Ingredients:


    1 package of dried seaweed (1 ounce is fine for four servings), available in all Korean food markets - ask for the kind used to make seaweed soup, or mi-yuk gook (you don't want the thin kind used to make sushi rolls.)
    6 cups of vegetable broth or organic chicken broth
    2 teaspoons of sesame oil
    Naturally brewed soy sauce or sea salt, to taste
    1 teaspoon of minced garlic (optional)

    Directions:

    Soak seaweed in water for two hours or until soft. Drain and rinse really well, as dried seaweed can come with a lot of dirt, just like spinach does.

    Put all ingredients, including seaweed, into a large pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes to allow all the flavours to come together.

    (source: http://drbenkim.com/recipes-seaweed-soup.html)

    Suggestion: Maybe add some fresh ginger to it! See my 2nd point above.

But, before you start searching the Asian food markets for seaweed, you might want to talk it over with a lactation consultation because there's a lot of misconceptions out there about 'low milk supply' and what that really means. I know as new moms, we are often very vigilant and worried about making sure our babies are 'getting enough', etc.. That's totally natural. But, you may think your supply is low, when it really isn't. Kelly Mom website has a great article that really goes into detail about how to tell if you really have a low supply, and other ways to help increase it.

Let me know if you any other suggestions, or if you tried the soup, let me know what you think. I'm going to the Asian market this weekend, so I'm going to try making some!

Photo credit: Photo by Tom Corser www.tomcorser.com. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 England & Wales (UK)

Breastfeeding Carnival Participants:


Here are the other carnival participants. Check them out! 

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Comments

Isis said:

Very very useful tips.These tips would definitely help me a lot.

October 22nd, 2009 12:24pm

Isis said:

I have read somewhere that Eating Oatmeal also Increases breast Milk Supply.

October 23rd, 2009 11:59pm

Christina said:

My grandmother brought some mi-yuk gook to the hospital for me after I gave birth to my daughter, the very next day, my milk came in!! The nurses were all VERY surprised because it usually takes a few days for your milk to come in after giving birth. When ever my milk supply seems low, I will eat some mi-yuk-gook and my milk supply will increase!! I am Korean and I LOVE mi-yuk-gook, I've been eating it since I was a small child, but I never knew the effects it had on nursing mothers! Give it a try, it really works!!!

November 3rd, 2009 9:17am

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