Consuming Fennel While Breastfeeding: Health Benefits & Side-Effects

Using Fennel While Breastfeeding – Does it Increase Milk Supply?

Medically Reviewed By
Shruti Kanchan (Lactation Specialist)
View more Lactation Specialist Our Panel of Experts

It is normal for a new mom to be concerned about her breast milk supply. While you are in your nursing stage, you may come across a problem related to breast milk production, which you must have read about in your pregnancy days and ignored. If you are facing issues with breast milk production, your baby won’t be satisfied with breast milk alone, and you may have to resort to formula milk to ensure that your baby’s nutritional requirements are not compromised. But if you don’t want to rely on formula milk for your baby, you need to make alterations in your diet to increase your breast milk production. Fennel or fennel seeds are known to increase breast milk supply and it can even provide many health benefits to the baby. Fennel is a natural remedy that most mothers are advised to use, but does it really help? Find out!

Video : Can Fennel Increase Your Breast Milk Supply?

What Is Fennel?

Fennel is a herb which is often used in cooking and is well-known for its healing properties. Fennel, also known as Foeniculum Vulgare is a part of the carrot family. It has yellow flowers and feathery leaves; the use of this wondrous spice can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Fennel, known as saunf in India, is often consumed after meals to promote healthy digestion.

Does Fennel Help in Increasing Milk Supply?

Yes, fennel helps in increasing breastmilk supply. It is a well-known herbal galactagogue (a substance that helps in increasing breastmilk supply) and has been used to increase the supply of milk in nursing women for centuries.

How Does Fennel Help in Increasing Breast Milk Supply?

A galactagogue is a drug or a food source that aids in increasing the milk supply of nursing mothers. The reason that fennel is considered to be one is that it has phytoestrogens, which is similar to the oestrogen hormone that is naturally formed by the human body. Women have been using this herb for this very purpose for such a long time, and it has shown results for most women.

How to Consume Fennel During Breastfeeding

There are many ways in which you can use fennel to solve your breastfeeding problems. However, it is advised that you consume it in small quantities. Here is how you can include fennel in your breastfeeding diet.

1. As a Tea

To make fennel tea, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water and let it sit for some time. Later, strain the seeds. Drink this tea thrice a day for best results. You should always opt for freshly crushed fennel seeds to make fennel tea.

How to Consume Fennel During Breastfeeding

2. As a Flavouring Agent

Fennel seeds can be added to many dishes. You can use fennel while in salads or sauces to enhance their taste. Fennel seeds are very versatile and using them as a flavouring agent in your food is a great way to consume them.

3. In the Form of a Vegetable

 It can be even consumed as a vegetable or you can add it to soups or other dishes.

4. Fennel Seeds

To derive maximum benefits from this wondrous herb, chew raw fennel seeds. You can also roast them if you don’t like it raw.

Fennel Seeds

5. As Capsules

Taking fennel capsules for increasing breastmilk supply is a quick way to ensure that you get the right amount of it on a daily basis. Capsules come handy if you don’t like the taste of fennel seeds.

6. Fennel Oil for Topical Application

Mix about fifteen drops of fennel oil with one tablespoon of cold-pressed coconut oil and apply on your breast after you breastfeed your little one, however, make sure that you do not apply it on your nipples. For topical application, remember to take a break from using fennel oil every ten days.

Fennel Oil for Topical Application

Are There Any Side Effects of Fennel on Breastfeeding Mothers?

People use herbs without any doubt but they should be used with caution as some herbs if taken in the wrong amount, herbs can be extremely dangerous to your health. When considering taking any type of herbal remedy, always consult with your doctor. Consuming any herb in enormous amount may actually decrease your milk supply. So, if you are planning to take fennel seeds to increase your breast milk supply, consult with your doctor first and check whether you are allergic to it or not. Similarly, for topical application of fennel oil, first, test it on a small patch of your skin to ensure that you are not allergic to it. Since fennel oil should not be put on small children, you need to be very careful when using the fennel oil topically. Also, you must clean your breasts thoroughly before you start any nursing session with your baby.

Additional Health Benefits of Fennel

Here are some additional health benefits of fennel that may interest you:

1. Prevents Anaemia

Consuming fennel seeds can treat anaemia. Fennel seeds contain histidine and are rich in iron. These two compounds can cure iron deficiency and thus treat anaemia.

2. Helps in Digestion

 Fennel seeds are often consumed raw after meals in India as it helps in digestion. Fennel includes components that stimulate digestive juices and reduce any inflammation in the stomach and the intestines. This makes sure that the nutrients are properly absorbed into the system.

3. Cures Constipation

Fennel seeds have anti-acidic properties and fennel powder can be used as a very potent laxative. Fennel is an ingredient that is used in many medications to treat irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and many other intestinal problems.

4. Regulates Blood Pressure

Fennel is rich in potassium. It is a great vasodilator and can ease tension in the blood vessels, which helps in regulating your blood pressure.

5. Boosts Immunity

Fennel seeds are a good source of vitamin C, which helps in boosting immunity. Including a cup of fennel bulb in your diet can meet 20% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Consuming fennel also promotes eye health and is good for your skin and hair.

When Should Breastfeeding Moms Avoid Fennel?

Although fennel helps in increasing breastmilk supply, it should be avoided in certain cases. A breastfeeding mother should avoid fennel under the following conditions.

1. Epilepsy or Other Seizures

If you have epilepsy or any other condition involving seizures, avoid the use of fennel. This is because it increases your chances of having an epileptic fit or a seizure. It is especially important to avoid it if you are still on your medications.

2. Diabetes or Hypoglycaemia

Fennel is known to have some benefits to mothers with diabetes, but they will need to take certain precautions during their nursing period. If you have diabetes, the risk of hypoglycaemia, increases. As fennel can reduce your levels of blood sugar, it is best for mothers with this problem to avoid fennel at all costs.

Fennel has many benefits, but it should be consumed in moderate amounts. If you are not careful, it can be harmful to your health. If you want to consume fennel to increase your breastmilk supply, it is suggested that you consult with your doctor first.

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We urge readers to seek the advice of a physician before trying any home remedies.

Also Read: Consuming Peanuts during Breastfeeding

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