There are five essential oils that can be a safe and natural way for new mothers to increase their milk supply.
These oils are:
- Basil Essential Oil
- Clary Sage Essential Oil
- Dill Essential Oil
- Fennel Essential Oil
- Geranium Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
The oils are used in conjunction with a carrier oil, such a coconut oil, jojoba oil or almond oils and then rubbed into the skin as needed
In cases where a mother is experiencing engorged breasts, essential oils can also be used to decrease milk supply
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How Do Essential Oils Work to Increase Milk Supply?
Essential oils have a molecular structure that allows their healing constituents to pass through the blood-brain barrier and trigger biochemical changes in the body.
In the case of boosting breast milk, essential oils are for topical use only, which means that you apply a few drops, mixed in a carrier oil to the nipple area.
Essential oils heal at a cellular level, clearing clogged milk ducts and stimulating glands to discharge mother’s milk.
Essential oils also work on the hormonal level, giving your pituitary gland, (also known as the body’s master gland) the message to either produce milk or halt all production.
Although the stimulation of breast milk supply works best if you apply the oils topically, you can also try dispersing them through the air in an aromatherapy unit to augment the healing effect.
Choose High Quality Essential Oils
When it comes to increasing milk production, try to buy the very best essential oils that you can afford.
As the oil will be affecting both you and your nursing baby within minutes of use, it is best to buy an oil marked therapeutic grade.
Therapeutic grade oils that are safe for you and baby tend to be steam-distilled or cold pressed. Avoid buying the cheaper oils that contain solvents, as they are too toxic to apply to the skin.
Always Use Carrier Oils
A carrier oil is used to dilute full strength oils so that they can be rubbed into the skin.
A safe recipe for an oil blend is: two drops of any essential oils below to two tablespoons of the common carrier oils.
Common Carrier Oils
The purpose of the carrier oil is to hold the molecular properties of the essential oils in place because they tend to evaporate very quickly.
The carrier oil also prevents your skin from reacting to the essential oil, which is quite strong.
There are quite a few carrier oils that are healthy and nourishing for breasts.
Just as is true with essential oils, try to buy the highest quality that you can afford and buy cold-pressed oil if it is available.
Types of Carrier Oils
Carrier oils that are best to use on breasts are the edible oils made from fruit, nuts or vegetables. That is safest for your nursing baby.
Here is a list of carrier oils that are edible, and generally odorless that can be purchased cold-pressed and in an organic form.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil is made from the kernel of the fruit. It is very rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E.
It blends well with any essential oil and has the added bonus of soothing nipples irritated from too much nursing.
Avocado oil is a thick edible oil made from the kernel of an avocado.
It makes a great carrier oil as it is high in oleic acid, a fat that can help soothe chapped nipples.
Coconut oil is made from the raw meat of mature coconuts. It is a good choice for your breasts as it contains skin-nourish fatty acids.
Make sure that you buy unrefined coconut oil as the refined version contains contaminants.
Jojoba oil is a light oil with a nutty scent that is made from the seeds of the jojoba plant.
It is a good carrier oil for the breast area because it absorbs quickly and does not clog pores.
You can use cold-pressed food-grade olive oil as an essential oil carrier.
It is rich in plant sterols and fatty acids that assist with cleansing and moisturizing the skin.
Sunflower oil is an edible oil created from sunflower seed
It is an exceptional carrier oil because it is also antibacterial, making it a great choice for those with irritated nipples.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is a lightweight dry oil that is great for chapped nipples.
It is a food-grade oil that absorbs quickly and heals dry skin. It also has a very pleasant sweet almond scent.
Two tablespoons of the carrier oil blended with two drops of any of the oils below should be enough to rub into the nipple area of both breasts to remedy low milk supply
Boost Milk Supply With These Essential Oils
The following essential oils can assist with boosting breast milk supply.
#1 Basil Essential Oil
Basil is a well-tolerated essential oil that can be rubbed all over the breast to help increase milk supply.
Basil has a property similar to progesterone that balances hormones and prompts milk supply
#2 Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage is a Mediterranean herb that contains natural phytoestrogens. This helps balance out the hormonal systems of nursing moms.
Aside from boosting breast milk supply, this oil may improve the moods of new moms experiencing the post-partum blues.
In some people, clary sage essential oil may bring on vivid dreaming.
#3 Dill Essential Oil
Dill essential oil is a galactogogue, meaning that it stimulates breast milk.
It contains d-carvone (Detro Carvone) a molecule that informs hormones to trigger the milk supply.
It is important to note that dill essential oil can give breast milk a bit of a caraway taste.
#4 Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel essential oil does double duty when it comes to breastfeeding. Not only does it increase your milk supply but it can ease the pain of tender breasts
A word of warning. Don’t use fennel essential oil to treat tender breasts while nursing, as it could cause a miscarriage.
Fennel oil can add a slight licorice flavor to your breast milk supply, which could either please or repel your baby.
#5 Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium contains small amounts of dimethylamylamine which promotes lactation.
It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that have the ability to heal cracked painful needles caused by breastfeeding.
#6 Lavender Essential Oil
Not only does lavender oil increase milk supply, it also helps calm and relax postpartum moms whose babies won’t let them sleep through the night.
A NIH study also showed that lavender oil can assist with the complications of postpartum depression, including perineal pain, fatigue, irritability and emotional distress.
3 Essential Oils That Decrease Breast Milk
Some mothers find it necessary to find a way to reduce milk supply after they have weaned their baby off of the nipple.
There are two essential oils that can help decrease milk supply.
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is so effective at reducing milk supply that even just the little bit of peppermint oil found in peppermint candies can affect milk flow.
Both peppermint and spearmint oil have a reputation for drying up milk ducts completely. If your breast milk is accidentally drying up it might be due to consuming either of these herbs, or even using peppermint or spearmint flavored toothpaste
2. Sage Oil
Sage oil, which is very different from clary sage oil that increases milk supply, is an effective breast milk suppressant.
Simply apply sage oil to your breast area and your milk should dry up within a day. Sage is so effective at inhibiting milk production, that just a bit of the dried herb sprinkled in tomato juice can do it.
Essential Oil Tips
Here are some tips for the safe and effective use of essential oils.
Essential Oil Allergy Patch Test
Allergic reactions are quite common with essential oils.
The breasts are a very sensitive area of the body, which is why it is important to do a patch test before you apply it to your skin.
Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil as you plan to use it. Then apply it to the inside of your forearm with a tiny square patch. If there is no reaction then you can proceed to use the oil to boost milk supply.
If you are allergic to nuts, you should avoid using oils derived from tree nuts such as sweet almond and apricot.
Wipe Away Oils Before Breastfeeding
If you apply the oils to the breast, make sure that they are wiped clean before you breastfeed. This is to avoid having your nipple or breast area taste odd to your baby.
Store All Oils In The Refrigerator
Both essential oils and carrier oils can degrade if left in heat and humidity. Store any therapeutic oils in a cool dry place, preferably in the refrigerator.
Every nursing mother’s body is different as to how she will respond to herbal remedies to increase milk supply.
For most breastfeeding mothers, the essential oils mentioned will have the desired actions.
However before you embark on any type of essential oil therapy, it is a good idea to consult with your pediatrician or lactation consultant to make sure that this method of regulating milk supply is right for you and your baby.