Monday, 15 February 2016

My experience with Fenugreek

As baby A began to enjoy his solid food, my supply began to dip slightly. I knew this was bound to happen but I really wanted the chance to build a freezer supply and I thought, ‘what can I loose, I’ll give fenugreek a shot!’. From what I read online it seemed to work wonders and had very few side effects other than making your pee smell of maple syrups!

Fenugreek is a galactagogue, which means it promotes or increases the flow of a mothers milk. It has been used for centuries, however very few studies have been done on it and the results are mixed. It’s widely available in capsule, tea and seed form. It’s recommend to begin taking 3 capsules, 3 times a day to start off with.

I bought mine from here and they cost €16.10 for 100 capsules. I began taking them straight away as I was eager to see if the results lived up to my expectation! So I popped 3 tablets with a glass of water and thought no more of it (it’s reported results shouldn’t be expected for 24-48 hours).

I woke up the next morning to a shock! Two huge boobs, I needed to feed my son ASAP, it was so uncomfortable! I hadn't been this engorged since baby A was a few weeks old. Not to complain, I loved it really. The more milk the better. I fed baby and then pumped 6oz after. Success!

I continued taking fenugreek at the same pace for the next 5 days. I then began to notice that without fail half an hour after I taking the tablets I would get a splitting headache. This is really strange for me, I generally don’t get headaches. I ignored the headaches the best I could as my milk supply continued to increase and I was building up a great freezer stash at this stage. I didn’t want to stop.

Then I began to get nosebleeds, probably one everyday. This worried me but I was in denial and refused to agree with my partner when he pointed out the cause could be the fenugreek. It was nearing 2 weeks and I felt awful. I was bloated and the headaches were really getting me down. Not to mention that I stank of maple syrup! I started to change my mind and I realised risking my health just wasn't worth it.

I stopped taking fenugreek for 2 days and my doubts were confirmed. I stopped getting headaches immediately, I was less bloated and it took all of 5 days to get rid of that god awful smell! My milk supply kept up for another week or two.

It wasn’t until afterwards I realised I should’ve stopped taking fenugreek immediately when I began to experience side effects such as nose bleeds. I dug a bit deeper and discovered that fenugreek can cause low blood sugar and it’s also know to thin blood. That’s nothing to mess with.

As there are very little studies on fenugreek it is not fully know what harm it may do. In my experience it definitely had a positive effect on my milk supply, however it really wasn’t worth it. My advice is to speak with your doctor and proceed with great caution before taking any medication while breastfeeding, even if it is herbal or natural.

Do you have any experiences with fenugreek? What do you use to increase your supply? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading!


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