Tips for Healthy Lactation Post Delivery

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Although lactation is a natural process, many women may not be able to produce breast milk for their newborns. Do you find yourself in a similar situation? If so, then do not worry. Here are some Ayurvedic herbs and tips to promote lactation and boost your as well as your newborn’s health.

The herbs that help increase lactation are medically termed ‘galactagogues.’

Let’s find out more about these herbs that help keep your newborn happy and healthy, but first, let’s understand why lactation supply is so important for a child:

An Ayurvedic View on Breast Milk and Lactation

According to Ayurveda, breast milk is one of the healthiest forms of milk and should be continued until the newborn is at least 18 months old.

Rich in several nutrients, like protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, iron, and calcium, breast milk offers numerous benefits to both mothers and babies. For babies, it helps build immunity, boost brain activities, enhance memory, and aid in their overall growth. For mothers, it helps fight postpartum depression and reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Therefore, Ayurveda talks so much about healthy lactation and recommends herbs and lifestyle changes to increase breast milk production.

What Exactly Affects the Production of Breast Milk?

Stress is one of the leading reasons for the low production of breast milk. However, many other factors can also affect lactation, such as breast surgery, medications, premature childbirth, late initiation of breastfeeding, postpartum depression, irregular breastfeeding, etc.

Health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, hypothyroidism, and diabetes can also affect breast milk production in lactating mothers.        

How to Support Healthy Lactation in Mothers?

Ayurveda recommends many herbs to induce lactation and boost the production of breast milk in women. Some of these herbs are: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

1. Shatavari

Also known as the queen of herbs, Shatavari is a powerful galactagogue that helps to boost the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and induce lactation. It also helps enhance the quality of breast milk, balance hormones, and improve the health of the uterus after delivery. You can take one tablespoon of Shatavari powder, or as recommended by the doctor, with a glass of warm milk every night till the mother is breastfeeding.    

2. Methi or Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds, rich in potent lactating properties, are one of the best Ayurvedic remedies to improve breast milk production in women. They contain bioactive components, diosgenin, and phytoestrogen, that help enhance the breast milk supply and promote lactation. Methi is also beneficial in relieving back pain and improving the bone health of new mothers. You can avail the benefits of fenugreek by drinking a cup of fenugreek tea twice a day. 

3. Milk Thistle

Blessed with galactagogue properties, milk thistle or mary thistle, is one of the best herbs to promote lactation in mothers. It is also known to eliminate harmful toxins from the body and boost liver function in women. Owing to the estrogenic properties of the plant, milk thistle also helps control mood swings and manage postpartum depression in new mothers.    

4. Fennel Seeds

Abundantly loaded with phytoestrogens, fennel seeds help induce the production of prolactin in women. Prolactin triggers the mammary glands to secrete milk, thereby promoting lactation. Consumption of fennel seeds by mothers is also known to improve digestion and prevent colic pain in newborns. One of the best ways to have fennel seeds is by taking them directly after meals. Alternatively, you can also make fennel tea to avail the health benefits of the seeds.  

5. Cinnamon

Ayurveda recommends consuming cinnamon for many health benefits. The galactagogue properties of the herb help promote lactation and improve the taste of breast milk. Furthermore, cinnamon is also known to boost digestion and improve the skin health of new mothers. 

6. Kalonji

Rich in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and many other minerals, Kalonji is known to increase breast milk supply in mothers and promote lactation. In addition, Kalonji also helps reduce pain and inflammation and improve hair health in new mothers.   

7. Halim Seeds

Halim seeds, also known as garden cress seeds, are recommended as tonic, aphrodisiacs, and stimulants by the practitioners of traditional medicine. They are given as a decoction or infusion for hiccups, dysentery, diarrhea, and skin diseases, and as a galactagogue.

It can be consumed in the form of laddoos, which is indeed a tastier way to produce milk.

8. Black Seeds

Black seed (Nigella sativa) is a flowering plant native to Asia and the Mediterranean. Its seed has been used to make medicine for thousands of years. Some research conducted on various animals, including buffaloes, holland cows, and mice do establish black seeds as an efficient galactagogue, specifically when coupled with herbs like shatavari and fenugreek. It wasn’t as commonly used in Ayurveda but is now finding its way into Ayurvedic medicinal research.

9. Stinging Nettle or Bicchua Buti

Stinging Nettle which is more commonly known as ‘Bicchua Buti’ or ‘Bicchu ki Pattee’ in India, is a very common herb that’s given to new mothers in a tonic form. It is believed that it can help new mothers deal with postpartum and help them produce more milk for their newborns.

10. Goat’s Rue

Goat’s Rue, scientifically known as Galega Officinalis, originated from Middle East but lately, has been paving its way into the world of Ayurveda medicines. Some of the renowned Ayurvedic brands are promoting the usage of Goat’s rue as a herb that enhances the lactation ability of a mother. Although it has a long history of use as a galactagogue, very limited scientific data exist on the safety and efficacy of goat’s rue in nursing mothers or infants. In general, goat’s rue is well tolerated, but it might cause hypoglycemia, so caution should be used in women taking antidiabetic drugs. 

More Tips by Ayurveda to Promote Lactation

  1. Have an active lifestyle and practice easy Yoga Asanas to keep your body moving. However, you must consult a Yoga practitioner before practicing any Asana after delivery.
  2. Breast milk is almost 90 percent water, and therefore, lactating mothers must consume 10-12 glasses of water every day. 
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can affect breast milk production. 
  4. Ayurveda also recommends consuming almond milk to promote lactation. 

Side Effects & Precautions

It’s very crucial to exercise caution and seek advice from an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using any herbs during pregnancy or after pregnancy, as individual responses can vary, and certain herbs may pose risks during this period, to both the mother and the newborn.

The potential side effects of these herbs are listed in the below table:

HerbPotential Side Effects & Precautions for New Mothers and Newborns
ShatavariNo side effects reported.
FenugreekDiarrhea, Hepatomegaly [7]
Milk ThistlePossible mild side effects such as diarrhea, headache, and skin reactions. Mothers using it reported weight gain, nausea, dry mouth, and irritability occasionally. Don’t consume if allergic to members of the aster (Compositea or Asteraceae) family, such as daisies, artichokes, common thistle, and kiwi. [8]
Fennel SeedsDiarrhoea, Hepatomegaly; mothers should avoid fennel if they or their infants are allergic to carrots, celery, or other plants in the Apiaceae family because of possible cross-allergenicity [7]
CinnamonCould cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, skin rash, heartburn, burning micturition, and dizziness. Ingestion of Cinnamon is contraindicated during pregnancy due to the possibility of fetal malformation. [9]
KalonjiNo side effects reported.
Halim SeedsNo side effects reported.
Black SeedsGenerally well tolerated.
Stinging NettleTopical use causes allergies. [4]
Goat’s RueHypoglycemia, Diarrhoea, Hepatomegaly [7]


1. Are there any potential side effects of using these lactating herbs for breastfeeding mothers and newborns?

Yes, some herbs may have potential side effects. Shatavari, Kalonji, and Halim Seeds are reported to have no side effects, while fenugreek, milk thistle, fennel seeds, cinnamon, stinging nettle, and goat’s rue may have associated risks. It’s crucial to be aware of these potential side effects and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any herbs into your routine, especially if there are allergies or pre-existing conditions.

2. What lifestyle and dietary changes does Ayurveda recommend to support healthy lactation?

Ayurveda suggests maintaining an active lifestyle and practicing easy yoga asanas after delivery. Adequate water intake is essential for lactating mothers, aiming for 10-12 glasses daily. The avoidance of caffeine and alcohol is recommended, along with the consumption of almond milk. However, it’s advised to consult with a yoga practitioner and healthcare professional before making significant lifestyle or dietary changes.

3. Is it safe to consume these lactation-inducing herbs during pregnancy?

Cinnamon ingestion is contraindicated during pregnancy due to the possibility of fetal malformation. While some herbs like shatavari and kalonji have no reported side effects, it’s crucial to exercise caution and seek advice from an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using any herbs during pregnancy, as individual responses can vary, and certain herbs may pose risks during this period.


Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the babies and the mother. Therefore, Ayurveda stresses healthy lactation. 

There are many herbs mentioned in Ayurveda that help induce lactation and increase the production of breast milk in mothers. However, it is always advised to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using any herb, as everyone’s body constitution and allergies are different.    


  1. The Use, Perceived Effectiveness and Safety of Herbal Galactagogues During Breastfeeding: A Qualitative Study
  2. Garden Cress Seed Could be A Factual Galactagogue
  3. Nigella sativa as a Galactagogue: A Systematic Review
  4. Stinging Nettle – Drugs and Lactation Database
  5. Goat’s Rue – Drugs and Lactation Database
  6. Fenugreek – Drugs and Lactation Database
  7. Fennel – Drugs and Lactation Database
  8. Milk Thistle – Drugs and Lactation Database
  9. Irrational Use of Selected Herbal Medicines During Pregnancy: A Pharmacoepidemiological Evidence From Yemen

Livayur Ayurvedic Team

The LivAyur Team includes more than 10 Ayurveda specialists, with more than 20 years of experience. They have a deep understanding of Ayurveda and are committed to sharing their expertise through our blogs, videos, live sessions, and consultations. Our experts also stay updated & monitor on the latest developments in health and wellness.


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