Some women simply do not produce enough milk naturally to feed their growing baby. If you're concerned about your milk supply, you may want to try fenugreek, an herb that women can use to increase milk supply. Fenugreek comes as a tea, powder, tincture or pill. For fenugreek to work, you must use the right amount.
1. Your Supply Levels
When your baby is first born, it can seem as though she's hungry all the time. Many mothers mistakenly think that this is due to a low milk supply. To make matters worse, if you try to pump your milk, you may not get a lot. This does not mean that your baby isn't getting enough milk. Your doctor can tell if your baby is not eating enough by the rate at which she's growing. If your doctor says that your milk supply is low, use fenugreek to increase it. If your milk supply is fine, you do not have to use it.
2. Common Dosage
According to KellyMom.com, the suggested dosage varies according to the form of fenugreek. For example, if you are taking capsules that have 580 to 610mg per capsule, you should take between 6 and 12 capsules a day, but if the pills are only 500mg per capsule, you should take between 7 and 14. If you are using a powder, you can take 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. three times a day. The dosage for a tincture is 1 to 2mL three times a day, and if you prefer fenugreek tea, you can have 2 to 3 cups each day.
3. Effects of Dosages
If you split your dosages up into two or three servings, you're likely to find that your milk gradually increases to meet your baby's demand. Dr. Rima Jensen notes, though, that if you take it all at once, you'll feel engorged 36 hours later. Additionally, you may notice that at high dosages, your urine and breast milk begin to smell like maple syrup.
4. Personalizing Your Dose
There may be no set dosage for all women. You should experiment with the amount and adjust as necessary. Start with the lowest dosage, and see how your baby responds to that. If it doesn't seem to increase your milk supply enough, you can take more.
5. When You Should Stop
In some women--and breastfed babies--fenugreek can cause stomach irritation. If you find that this is unbearable or that your baby seems to have an upset stomach after eating, you may want to discontinue using fenugreek. Discuss your fenugreek use with your doctor before taking it with any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, as there may be adverse effects in the combination.
- Fenugreek in White Bowl 2 image by Leena Damle from Fotolia.com