Lactation Supplements: Herbs to Support Milk Supply

Published on May 31, 2022

Your body has just completed the amazing journey of bearing and giving birth to your child. And now, your body continues its job by providing your baby with nourishing breast milk.

Breastfeeding mothers know that maintaining a healthy breast milk supply is vital for the growth and development of their newborns. However, some may struggle with low milk supply due to various factors, such as stress, hormonal imbalances, or poor diet. 

To support their wellness during this phase, dietary supplements containing herbs can help support milk supply and help with breastfeeding difficulties.*

In this article, we'll discuss our favorite herbs for maintaining a healthy milk supply and share how you can easily take them in supplement form.*

But before we get to these herbs, let's review everything your body has been up to, so you'll know how to best care for it at this stage.

You, Your Body, and Milk Supply

A woman's body is beautiful, powerful, and resourceful. After bearing and birthing your child, your body is ready to make breast milk so that you can feed your baby day in and day out. It's no small feat and doesn't happen all at once.

Early in your pregnancy, your breasts began preparing to nurse, and by the time your third trimester rolled around, they were ready to breastfeed your baby.REF#1784

Now that your baby has arrived, hormones kick in to start milk production, which continues on a supply-and-demand basis.REF#1784

Remember that your body has undergone a lot and is still doing fantastic work! This is a time to respect it and all it is doing and have compassion if things don't go as well as hoped.

Check in with a lactation consultant, pediatrician, or healthcare provider if you have concerns that you aren't producing enough milk or that your baby isn't eating enough.

They can help you ensure your baby is latching on correctly and offer other tips to encourage your body to keep producing milk.* It's also good to talk with them or your naturopathic physician if you're considering lactation supplements or herbs.

Philippa Pearson-Glaze, an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, says, "If your milk supply is still not increasing despite good positioning and attachment, plenty of skin-to-skin contact, breast compressions, frequent breastfeeds, or regular pumping, you may wonder whether to try a galactagogue." REF#1785

Galactagogues are food or herbs (or medication) that can encourage breast milk production.REF#1785

Galactagogues to Support Milk Supply*

Kristi Gulledge, RN, MSN, a board-certified lactation consultant at UAB Medicine, notes that breastfeeding moms often use galactagogue foods to help with breast milk production.*REF#1786 Some foods that may help with milk supply are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Atole
  • Maple Syrup
  • Brewer's Yeast

When it comes to herbal galactagogues, she cites Fenugreek and Goat's Rue as a couple of examples that moms have successfully used.*REF#1786

You may eat oatmeal in lactation cookies and quinoa in your favorite dinner dish. But you might not be as familiar with herbal remedies for lactation. We'll discuss these herbs and how to take them as supplements.*


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a member of the Leguminosae family and, similar to clover, is native to the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and western Asia.REF#1787

In addition to being highly nutritious, Fenugreek is a spice and an herb for digestive support, heart health, and blood sugar support, which is why you'll find it in our Lactation Support and Microbiome Food formulas.*REF#1788 REF#1789 

Additionally, it acts as a galactagogue, which is what we are most interested in.*REF#1788

Goat's Rue

Goat's Rue (Galega officinalis) is a small flowering plant in the Eastern United States.REF#1790 Since the early 1900s, people have been using it after discovering its ability to aid milk production in cows.*REF#1788

Naturopathic physicians use it for blood sugar support, while it continues to serve as a galactagogue herb.*REF#1789

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a prickly, stinging plant that won't be your friend if you rub against it while on a walk! However, it's nutritious and loses its sting when cooked. Nettle is native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America.

This flowering plant is a multifaceted herb used in various Gaia Herbs products for everything from Energy Support to Immune Support, Foundational Support, Men's Health, and Beauty & Radiance Support.*

Erika Krumbeck, ND, says, "Nettles are truly an amazing herb… Best of all—they also stimulate milk production. (Maybe simply because they are so nutritious!).”*REF#1789


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) can be found in many parts of the world, though it is indigenous to the Mediterranean. With feathery leaves, this plant was historically eaten by humans and fed to goats to boost their milk supply.

You may use this herb as a spice in your kitchen, but it's also a traditional herb. Fennel, a phytoestrogen, is now used as a galactagogue for digestive support (find it in Gas & Bloating) and other health concerns.*REF#1789


Anise (Pimpinella anisum) has been a popular galactagogue herb for centuries to promote breast milk production in nursing mothers. It is in the same family as Fennel but has a taste and fragrance like licorice.

The herb contains anethole, a compound that can help support the production of prolactin in the body, which is a hormone essential for initiating and maintaining lactation.REF#1794

Anise is also rich in vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium, that can help support postpartum wellness and address deficiencies that may affect breast milk supply.REF#1794

It also contains compounds that can help relax the muscles in the digestive tract, soothe irritation, and ease gas.REF#1794

Some studies have also suggested that Anise may have properties that neutralize fungus and harmful bacteria, which can help address underlying digestive issues contributing to colic.REF#1794

Colic can have various causes, and parents should consult with their pediatrician before using Anise or other herbal remedies to manage their infant's colic.*

Use Anise in moderation and with the guidance of an herbalist or naturopathic physician, as it can have a mild laxative effect on both the mother and baby.*

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is an herb that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries, particularly for liver health. The herb contains silymarin, a flavonoid compound that can help support the production of prolactin hormone, which is essential for milk production.* However, it also has galactagogue properties that can benefit lactating mothers.REF#1791

Milk thistle can also help support postpartum wellness by protecting the liver from damage caused by toxins, medications, and hormonal changes. It can help the liver appropriately metabolize and eliminate substances that may affect breast milk supply.REF#1795

While milk thistle is generally considered safe, nursing mothers should consult with their healthcare provider before taking milk thistle supplements, particularly if they have a history of liver disease or are taking medications that may interact with the herb.


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is another galactagogue herb used for centuries to help support breast milk supply in postpartum women.*

The herb contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and encourage the production of prolactin hormone in the pituitary gland. Prolactin is a crucial hormone involved in breast milk production, and increased prolactin levels can lead to an increase in breast tissue and milk production.REF#1792

Alfalfa also contains various nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, E, and K, calcium, iron, and protein, to help support overall postpartum wellness.REF#1793

It's important to note that alfalfa should be used cautiously as its estrogenic effect on the body may result in adverse side effects for those with already high estrogen levels.*

Lactation Supplements and Herbs*

We wanted to introduce you to these herbs so you can get acquainted with a few of the many natural galactagogues that nursing mothers turn to.*

You can rest assured that these supplements are purity-tested and made with breastfeeding women in mind.

 Gaia Herbs Lactation Support

To nourish your hardworking, breastfeeding body, turn to Gaia Herbs Lactation Support capsules.*

This lactation supplement is designed to support the healthy production of breast milk and contains a blend of Fenugreek seed, Fennel seed, Raspberry leaf, and Marshmallow root.*

The capsule format of this supplement provides a convenient and easy way for nursing mothers to get needed herbal support at home or on the go.* Simply take one capsule three times daily between meals.

The Marshmallow root we use in this product is grown on our own Gaia Farm and is extracted immediately after harvest to preserve full spectrum compounds for optimal potency.*

Fenugreek Seed Capsules

If you prefer to take pure Fenugreek as a lactation supplement, opt for Gaia Herbs Fenugreek Seed.

This formula is made with organic and vegan Fenugreek seeds and helps support healthy breast milk production.*

For ease of use, this herbal supplement comes in Liquid Phyto-Caps®. These unique capsules are 100% vegetarian, tested to be free of heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes—and contain no animal by-products (including gelatin). They offer a liquid extract in the convenience of a capsule.

To put Fenugreek Seed capsules to work for your body, take two to three twice daily between meals.

Lactation Supplements to Support Your Body*

At Gaia Herbs, we firmly believe that the quality of an herbal supplement can only be as good as the quality of the herbs that go into it. That's why many of the herbs in our products are grown on our farm, where we can cultivate them precisely the way we want.

To source plants used in our supplements that we cannot grow on our farm or in the required quantity, we rely on our network of organic and sustainable communities. These communities enable us to procure herbs from regions where they grow best and under optimal conditions for producing the highest possible level of botanical compounds.

To learn more about the herbs in your supplements and where they come from, visit, the world's first herb traceability platform. Here, you will discover the origin of your herbs; learn how they were grown, harvested, and extracted; and see validation of your product's purity and potency.

Remember that your body has nourished, birthed, and is breastfeeding your little one. Many women worldwide accomplish this incredible feat regularly, making it no less impressive.

To support your body on this journey and when you are seeking to encourage milk supply with lactation supplements, turn to the galactagogue herbs we listed in this article.*

And don't forget to have compassion for your beautiful, strong body throughout the process!


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