Does Chamomile Tea Increase Breast Milk Supply?

This herbal beverage can benefit breastfeeding mothers because of its reported galactagogue effects. Essentially, this means that drinking this tea can induce better lactation.

chamomile tea
Chamomile tea

Chamomile Tea for Milk Supply

Breast milk provides numerous health benefits for both the mother and the child. It is considered the optimal source of nutrition for infants and helps lower the risk of various health issues such as allergies, infections, and obesity. According to a 2022 report, despite the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, many mothers encounter difficulties, and only 57% reported that they continued to nurse for up to 6 months.

To help increase milk production, drinking chamomile tea is said to be a natural and effective method for boosting breast milk supply.

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So, Does Chamomile Tea Have Lactogenic Properties?

Yes, chamomile tea can benefit breastfeeding mothers because of its reported galactagogue effects. Essentially, this means that drinking this tea can increase milk supply. A 2021 First Cry Parenting feature on breastfeeding shared that, in some mothers, breast milk production can increase by up to 20%.

chamomile tea, mother drinking tea
Drinking Tea

Is It Safe to Consume Chamomile Tea While Nursing?

Drinking chamomile tea is safe for breastfeeding mothers. As a matter of fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorized chamomile as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) since there are no known side effects of taking chamomile tea while breastfeeding.

Additional Benefits of Chamomile Tea When Lactating

  • Chamomile tea offers various health benefits for lactating mothers. For instance, chamomile has antidepressant and anxiolytic properties that are proven to help control depression, anxiety, and stress. This is because chamomile leaves contain a chemical called apigenin that blocks the anxiety-inducing effects of another chemical messenger in the brain. Because of this, drinking chamomile tea is good for breastfeeding mothers since stress and anxiety are some of the major barriers to the adequate production of breast milk among women.
  • The calming effects of chamomile tea promote a better night's sleep among breastfeeding mothers. In a study on herbal infusions and health published in the Nutrition & Food Science journal, researchers found that German chamomile tea can help alleviate depression and sleep quality problems in postpartum women. For this reason, health experts recommend chamomile tea as a supplementary method to improve the quality of life of mothers.
  • Apart from stress relief, consuming chamomile tea can also improve digestive health and immunity, helping you fight off infections. As a result, you can holistically protect your health, enabling you to consistently produce breast milk for your child.

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Can Chamomile Tea Help With Colic in a Breastfed Baby?

Breastfeeding mothers are not the only ones who can benefit from drinking chamomile tea. Breastfed babies (older than six months) with colic, which refers to the frequent, prolonged, and intense crying or fussiness in a healthy infant, can experience relief by consuming small amounts of chamomile tea.

A journal article on colic relief remedies in infantile colic from Global Pediatric Health revealed that herbal teas containing chamomile effectively reduce abdominal distension and pain among infants, significantly decreasing daily crying. That’s why if your baby is colicky, giving them chamomile tea might aid their digestion and soothe their stomach. However, make sure that your infant is at least six months old before offering herbal tea. It’s also recommended that you consult with your doctor first to ensure that your baby is not allergic to chamomile.

Tiny baby - Photo by Corryne Wooten / Unsplash

Who Can Moms Ask About Chamomile Tea Use?

It’s best to be extra careful and receive professional advice from health professionals. You can seek the help of your family doctor since they already know of your medical history, or you can meet with a lactation consultant since they specialize in breastfeeding issues.

Most remote nurse practitioners in Washington are equipped with the skills to provide non-urgent care treatment and nutritional advice. This includes guidance regarding chamomile tea consumption as a breastfeeding mother. But when looking for medical specialists like the aforementioned nurse practitioners online, check their certifications and state license to ensure that they’re qualified to legally offer health services. Case in point, healthcare workers in states like California need a valid and current license issued by the local board before treating patients from anywhere in the country. Ultimately, this will guarantee that you will receive high-quality care for your breastfeeding and medical concerns, even outside traditional medical institutions.

Precautions to Take While Consuming Chamomile Tea

Now, while chamomile tea is generally regarded as safe and beneficial, it is not without certain risks. Some chamomile teas are blends which means they may contain ingredients that a baby cannot tolerate. For instance, green tea blends are not ideal given their caffeine content. Similarly, tea infusions can pose the same risk. For example, chamomile teas mixed with valerian root are not advisable. This is because children under the age of three can get headaches, nausea, or sleep issues from the latter ingredient.

chamomile tea and tea pot
Herbal tea with tea pot - Photo by Manki Kim / Unsplash

How to Select Chamomile Tea?

When buying chamomile tea for you and your child, remember to purchase teas manufactured by a reliable brand. This will ensure that the chamomile tea you’re drinking is made and processed as per hygiene standards. Moreover, buy chamomile tea from brands that clearly state its content to avoid possible allergic reactions. The most common additives present in most chamomile teas are star anise, buckthorn bark, comfrey, and senna. To further guarantee that your chosen tea brand is made from organic ingredients, look for brands with a USDA-certified organic label on their packaging. Lastly, another important tip is to choose teas that are sold in tea bags. This is because loose teas are more vulnerable to contaminants, like spores, that may trigger allergic reactions. Because tea bags are usually available in factory-sealed packs, they’re less likely to be contaminated.