Is It Safe To Drink Herbal Tea While Breastfeeding?

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A hot beverage could be just the thing you need to begin your day. Hence, most new moms switch to healthy beverages such as herbal tea while breastfeeding. Owing to the wide range of health benefits of herbal tea and the many varieties that are available, you may want to include this healthy beverage as a part of your morning ritual.

However, not all the ingredients of herbal teas are suitable for everyone, and you may have to check the safety aspects before consuming them while breastfeeding. Want to know more about the important aspects of herbal teas and their role in regulating milk supply? Then read on.

Is It Safe To Drink Herbal Teas While Breastfeeding?

While you are breastfeeding, it is important to know what you eat or drink is safe for your baby or not. Your diet during lactation directly affects your health and your baby’s development. While most people believe that herbal tea helps purify the blood and increase the production of breast milk, medical research is yet to prove the exact health benefits it offers (1). The general opinion is that it is better to avoid drinking herbal tea while you are breastfeeding your little one. In case you do wish to have some, make sure you first speak to a licensed herbal practitioner, a lactation consultant or your medical practitioner.

Herbal Teas That May Increase Breast Milk Production:

The following herbal teas may increase your breast milk production (2):

  • Fenugreek Tea – avoid drinking it if you are a diabetic.
  • Fennel Tea –works like your milk producing hormones and is an herbal way to increase breast milk. It is also helpful in relieving gas.
  • Blessed Thistle Tea –it increases breast milk supply and also helps to fight postpartum depression.
  • Alfalfa –it is loaded with vitamins and minerals and helps increase breast milk.
  • Goat’s Rue –it increases the breast milk production and stimulates milk flow as well.
  • Raspberry Leaf –in addition to increasing breast milk supply, it will also help your uterus recover after delivery.
  • Stinging Nettle – it is loaded with vitamins and minerals that also aid in increasing breast milk supply (3).

Herbal Teas That May Decrease Breast Milk Production:

Just like any other food you consume, herbal tea too can enter your blood stream and permeate your breast milk. As the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbal teas, there is no guarantee of their purity, safety or strength. Drinking herbal tea while you are still breastfeeding may even adversely affect the quantity and quality of your breast milk. Here are some herbal teas you should avoid while breastfeeding your baby as it may reduce your supply (2).

  • Peppermint Tea
  • Oregano Tea

Herbal Teas That May Harm The Baby And Mother:

The intake of the following herbal tea may prove dangerous for the mother and baby:

  • Ginseng tea (4)
  • Star anise tea (2)
  • Rhubarb root tea (5)
  • Aloe Tea (5)

Things To Remember:

If you do wish to go ahead and have herbal tea while you are still breastfeeding, make sure to take care of the following:

  • Speak to your doctor before you try drinking any herbal tea.
  • Check that the herbal tea is caffeine-free. Some herbal teas do contain caffeine and should be avoided while breastfeeding.
  • Read the ingredients of the herbal tea to check for any potent food allergens.
  • Some studies say that consuming herbal tea in moderation may not cause any health problems (1). However, excessive consumption of herbal tea may have a negative impact on your health and your baby’s growth

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I drink chamomile tea while breastfeeding?

Limited research exists on the effects of chamomile tea on nursing mothers, and a few also state chamomile as a potential galactagogue (milk production booster). Chamomile tea might be safe to drink during breastfeeding when consumed in moderation. However, chamomile might trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive mothers. Hence, consult your doctor before consuming chamomile tea (6) (7).

2. What herbal teas dry up breast milk?

While not much is known about the effects of all the herbs on nursing mothers, it is known that peppermint might reduce the milk supply, thus leading to drying up of the breast milk. Parsley, sage, black walnut, and lemon balm might also decrease the milk supply. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming these herbs during lactation (2).

Herbal teas while breastfeeding can either improve or reduce milk supply. Some teas, including fenugreek or raspberry leaf teas, are likely to increase breast milk supply and aid in the recovery after delivery. However, peppermint, star anise, or aloe teas might harm the mother and the baby and affect breast milk production. Therefore, it is better to consult a lactation expert or medical practitioner before consuming any herbal tea and check its contents before having it.

References:

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Dr. Surabhi Siddhartha

(DGO)
Dr. Surabhi Siddhartha has 12 years of experience and currently runs a private practice Dr. Surabhi's Woman and Child Clinic in Mumbai. In addition, she is a senior consultant in Niramaya Hospital and a faculty at Yerla Medical College. Previously, she worked at Fortis Vashi, Asian Heart Hospital BKC, and Raheja Hospital Mahim, and various government hospitals in and around... more

Jessica Albert

Jessica Albert is a passionate writer who seeks to connect with her readers through wit and charm. Her work aims to invoke curiosity and keep the readers engaged through and through. She has prior experience working with magazines and e-commerce establishments as a content marketer and editor. Being a mother herself, she puts all her knowledge into creating content about... more

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