Friday, September 6, 2013

mother's milk tea

I really discovered the power of herbs during my pregnancy.  Daily, I drank a strong tea of nettles and red raspberry leaf, sometimes with alfalfa added.  I believe that it helped keep my water weight down and gave me tons of nourishing minerals and vitamins to have a healthy, big baby.  The red raspberry leaf helped my uterus to be extremely strong and effective once labor finally began, and enabled me to have a very short one!

I had trouble producing enough milk for the entire time I nursed Vicki.  I ended up taking a drug called domperidone, which has a side effect of increasing lactation.  I decided to have domperidone ready again for when Todd was born, but I also wanted to see what kinds of herbs might help me.  I researched bagged mother's milk tea blends and figured out how to make my own.  Then you get the full power of beneficial herbs without the price tag that comes along with pre-bagged tea.  I also used two books that were extremely helpful in discerning how much of each herb to use:  The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Make More Milk, and the Nursing Mother's Herbal

Here are the herbs and seeds I've ended up including:

Alfalfa:  this leaf is very nutritious and provides a boost to your milk-making prolactin receptors.

Nettles:  are also packed with vitamins and minerals, giving more milk by making sure your essential nutrients are covered.

Blessed Thistle:  known for lifting depression and postpartum gloom, in addition to increasing milk supply.  

Dandelion Leaf:  supports the liver, helps you shed excess fluid, and makes your milk richer.  

Fennel Seed:  aids in the letdown reflex, making your milk more accessible.  I have particularly noticed this as compared to my last nursing experience with Vicki.  I let down more quickly and more often.  

Fenugreek Seed:  Dr. Jack Newman, the renowned breastfeeding expert, is a big fan of this one to increase milk production.  

Goat's Rue:  this is one of the only herbs actually known to increase mammary tissue - so it doesn't just help increase how much milk your glands are already making.  It actually helps make more glands!  That is why I add a larger proportion of this herb to my mix.

I mix up my own blend in these proportions:  2 parts nettle to one part each alfalfa, blessed thistle, dandelion leaf, fennel seed and fenugreek seed.  For my "parts," I use 1/4 cup measure.  I put it all in a big mason jar and keep it out on the counter.  I add the goat's rue separately to each batch of brewed tea I make.

Every night, I prepare my quart jar of tea for the next day.  I add 1/4 C of the first six mixed herbs from the jar above, as well as 2 T of goat's rue, to a quart-size mason jar.  I pour boiling water up to the top of the jar.  The next morning, I strain and funnel it into another jar and top it off with more water.  I sip it all day.  Just like with my pregnancy tea, I've found that plain water is very unappetizing to me now.  My body wants my herbs!  And I am making more milk.  Still not enough for all that Todd needs, but more than last time!

[This post is part of Fight Back Friday 9/20/13.]

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