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What are Galactagogues?

There are lactation herbs and medications that are used to increase lactation or stimulate milk production in a lactating mother, or in a mother who wants to induce lactation. 

When is a Galactagogue Necessary?

If you think you might have a low breast milk supply, first read our pages:

It is important that you ONLY use galactagogues if you are pumping / nursing regularly to remove the extra milk, that the galactagogue will create. It is best to try extra milk removal via pumping and hand expression to increase supply before trying galactagogues. 

  • It is needed when a mother has a very low milk supply and is using Galactagogues and pumping to produce more breast milk.
  • Used if a mother is working and breastfeeding, and trying to keep her milk supply sufficient. A mother who returns to work, may need the milk expressed for her baby.
  • Inducing lactation: Used when a mother has adopted a baby and wants to induce lactation for breastfeeding.
  • The baby is premature, and is incapable of breastfeeding at the moment. The mother will need to pump and take Galactagogues, until the baby is strong enough to breastfeed.

A lactation supplement is most effective in combination with cue feeding and pumping sessions. Power pumping / Cluster pumping is a great way to increase supply. 

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Safe Galactagogue Herbs Include

  • Fenugreek. Increasing breast milk supply with fenugreek
  • Blessed thistle. Three capsules three times per day. Blessed thistle may cause some digestive changes.
  • Alfalfa. Alflafa is mild and can be taken with another galactogue. Alfalfa may also cause some digestive changes.
  • Brewers yeast as a galactagogue. Has very few side-effects, but should not be used if the mother has a recurrent yeast problem or yeast infection. Brewers yeast is rich in Vitamin B, amino acids, minerals and iron. Dosage: 3-5 capsules daily.
  • Fennel. Can be consumed in small amounts. Read more about how to use Fennel while breastfeeding. 
  • Anise. Not only will it increase milk production, but it will also decrease colic in the baby, via the mother's breast milk.
  • Goats rue. Used to make a tea (1tsp dried leaves, infused in 1 cup of boiling water for 20 minutes taken twice daily). Goats rue can increase breast milk production and increase the milk flow (let down). Side-effects include sweating, increased urination and sometimes a drop in blood sugar levels.
  • Hops (Humulus lupulus). Best used fresh for increasing milk supply. Helps regulate hormonal productions, which helps increase milk supply.
cup of tea, herbal tea
  • Mothers milk tea.
  • Recipe:

    2 parts fennel.

    1 part nettle.

    1 part blessed thistle.

    1 part fenugreek.

    ½ part Hops.

    Grind the seeds before adding the boiling water to them – seep for 15-20 minutes.

  • Milk thistle (not the same as blessed thistle).
  • Marshmallow (althaea) root. This Galactogue should be used with the other breast milk herbs, to improve their effectiveness.
  • Red raspberry leaf.
  • Nettle leaf or capsules. Take two capsules three times a day. This is another mild galactogue and will be more effective taken with other herbal galactagogues.
  • Shatavari.
  • Flax.
  • Soapwort.
  • Burdock.
  • Chaste Berry.

Combining two or three of the above-mentioned natural herbal galactagogue, will work better than only using one.

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Galactagogue Foods

Lactogenic foods

  • Carrot seeds, beet and yam.
  • Beet leaves, spinach, chicory and other dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Plain Oats and oat straw capsules or liquid extract.
older child breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, toddler breastfeeding
  • Green papaya (simmered until soft).
  • Dill: Can be used in tea or sprinkled on food. (Two tsp of dill seed daily).
garlic, garlic image, garlic picture
  • Raw nuts, flaxseed oil and sesame oil.
  • Water, herbal root-beers, chicory coffee and barley water.
  • Garlic: It has been found that if a mother eats a lot of garlic, it gives the breast milk a nicer taste, which will increase the time a baby spends on the breast, therefore increasing breast milk production.
  • Ginger (should not be taken with any other medication).
  • Sesame seed.

A more in depth list of lactogenic foods.

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A Lactation Cookie Recipe

Get our healthy lactation cookie recipe here

Increase Breast Milk Supply with Galactogue Drugs

Metoclopramide (Maxolon, Pramin, Maxeran)

  • Side-effects on the mother sometimes include: Tiredness, anxiety, cramps on stomach and diarrhea.
  • Can increase breast milk production by 40%.
  • No documented side-effects on babies.

Domperidone for breastfeeding (Motilium)

  • Increases Prolactin levels, therefore increasing breast milk production.
  • Domperidone side effects: Very little side-effects found.
  • It is usually only needed for a short period of time.
  • You can buy Domperidone online, or over the counter. Don’t buy cheap Domperidone (Make sure the supplier is viable.)

Read more about using Domperidone here. 


  • Used in conjunction with Metoclopramide and Methyldopa.


  • Can be taken orally as a spray.
  • Helps with milk let down (milk ejection reflex).
  • Read more about Oxytocin.


  • Found in breast milk, but with no noticeable side-effects.
  • Not available in some countries.

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Simulating Pregnancy Hormones for Induced Lactation

Some mothers have found that they can produce more milk if they use a combination of hormones and galactagogues. The hormones given simulate pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, which tricks the body in believing that it needs to produce milk. You can find more information on this at 

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Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with galactagogues

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