LINDA BRITZ MIDWIFE, NURSING SISTER AND LACTATION SPECIALIST
Jungle juice is the name given to a recipe for a beverage drink that varies in ingredients depending on who is recommending it. There is no evidencebased research that backs up the common thought that it helps increase your milk supply.
However, it has a high sugar content, which may contribute to your energy levels – but a high sugar intake is known to lower your immune system, and make you more susceptible to infection. It is also high in unnecessary calories, and may be the cause of weight gain after birth.
Herbs, foods and “synthetic” medications have been used throughout history by breastfeeding women to stimulate, maintain and increase milk supply and are numerous and varied, and are called galactogogues. There are also homeopathic remedies made by manufacturers that are effective in use, and available from pharmacies. Remember though, that just because many herbal and over the counter remedies are promoted as natural, does not always imply that using them is safe for breastfeeding.
One most commonly known galactogogue recommended by other mothers, lactation consultants and healthcare workers is fenugreek. It is described as a herbal spice and the seeds are usually put into capsule form and taken orally. It is generally regarded as moderately safe. However, it can cause lower glucose levels in mother, and increase asthma symptoms. A maple syrup odour via urine and sweat is commonly reported. Do not use it if there is an allergy to peanuts or legumes.
Before you look for a galactogogue, keep in mind that there needs to be a good reason for wanting to make more milk. Before taking any herbal product or regulated medication, it is advised that you consult with a healthcare professional or lactation consultant to get the correct assessment, information and guidelines for using any product that is known to have an effect on your supply.
The safest way to increase your supply is to feed your baby more often. The more you stimulate your breasts, the more milk you will make. Allow your baby to drain your breasts well at feedings, and switch from side to side often. Use an effective breast pump to express your breasts straight after feeds. You may not get any volume of milk to collect, but the extra stimulation will help. Take care to eat healthy foods, rich in protein and unrefined carbohydrates. And rest.
Be patient. The results are not instant and you and your baby need time to see the results.