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Galactagogue

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Updated December 04, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

A galactagogue is something that can bring about the production of milk or an increase in the amount of milk produced. It can be an action, an herb, a food or a medication.

Providing more stimulation to your breasts is the best action you can take to increase your milk supply. You can do this by breastfeeding more often and pumping or hand expressing your breast milk more frequently.

Herbs, such as fenugreek, alfalfa, blessed thistle, milk thistlenettles, fennel and goat's rue, are all used as galactagogues. Whether made into teas or used in recipes, herbs have been used throughout history to support lactation. Certain foods are also believed to stimulate milk production. Oatmeal, barley, leafy green vegetables, garlic, brewer's yeast and brown rice are all thought to help increase milk supply.

For special situations, such as wanting to nurse an adopted child, attempting to rebuild a milk supply after breastfeeding has ended, and for moms of premature or hospitalized infants who have a low milk supply, medication can be prescribed. Reglan (metoclopramide) and Motilium (domperidone) are two common prescription medications that are used for lactation induction, relactation, and low milk supply.

Source:

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Sixth Edition. Mosby. Philadelphia. 2005.

 

Pronunciation: gah-lak´tah-gog

Also Known As: lactagogue, lactogenic, milk induction, increase breast milk

Alternate Spellings: galactogogue

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