Peppermint. Mentha piperita.

Peppermint and Breastfeeding - Should You Avoid It?

Food and Diet Related Jan 6, 2021

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol are herbs that are generally avoided while breastfeeding but are sometimes used to treat oversupply or used during weaning and should be avoided in copious amounts during breastfeeding, as it may reduce milk supply.

Does peppermint reduce milk supply?

An anecdotal study found that 30% of women who took peppermint essential oil drops (equivalent to 10 cups of a peppermint blend or 3-4 cups of a pure peppermint blend) reported a decrease in milk supply. These issues were reversible within two days of stopping the use of the oil. It is generally recommended to be cautious with peppermint tea intake, but it is not necessary to cut it out entirely. The NHS advises a maximum of 4 cups of herbal tea daily, including peppermint. If you are concerned about your milk supply, it is recommended to drink a maximum of 3 cups of peppermint tea per day and to try other galactagogues such as oats and expressing milk to support your supply.

Peppermint tea also contains menthol, which may pass through the breast milk and cause diarrhea and/or skin irritation in the infant.

peppermint tea, peppermint tea and breastfeeding
Herbal tea - Photo by Anton Darius / Unsplash


What Is Peppermint Good for When Breastfeeding?

  • You can apply lukewarm peppermint tea to sore nipples to relieve pain and inflammation. Peppermint contains antibacterial properties that can increase tissue flexibility and prevent nipple injury.
  • Peppermint tea breastfeeding: Some mothers drink peppermint tea to reduce pain after a c-section.
  • Menthol breastfeeding therapy for weaning purposes. Some mothers have claimed to decrease their milk supply with strong peppermint candies like Altoids. Peppermint oil has also been used for the same purpose, as discussed in the video below.

Essential Oils for Nursing and Milk Production Support

Can You Use Peppermint Oil While Breastfeeding?

Peppermint oil is generally considered safe for use during breastfeeding. Although, It's important for mothers to be aware of the potential risks and to use it with caution.

Peppermint oil can decrease milk supply in breastfeeding mothers. In addition, when it is applied topically, it can cause irritation and sensitivity in some people, and it can be transferred to the baby through the breast milk, which can sometimes cause colic-like symptoms and fussiness in infants.

If a breastfeeding mother is considering using peppermint oil, it's recommended that she first consult with a healthcare provider or lactation consultant. Additionally, it's important to follow any dosage recommendations on the product label and to start with small amounts to see how you tolerate it.

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Tracy Behr

Mom of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural! Studying a breastfeeding counselor course via Childbirth int. & plant-based nutrition via the Nutrition Inst.

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