Breastfeeding And Herbal Tea: Staying Safe Is What Matters

If we made a decision to breastfeed, we should never let anything jeopardize our milk supply!

Hello Mamas. Who out there loves tea? Me, me! I love tea! I hope you are a tea lover and if you are not, I hope by the end of this post , I would have convinced you to at least like it.

How about a little history?

Did you know that tea is the most popular manufactured drink consumed in the world, equaling all others – including coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol – combined? Most tea consumed outside East Asia is produced on large plantations in the hilly regions of India and Sri Lanka and is destined to be sold to large businesses. Opposite this large-scale industrial production are many small “gardens,” sometimes minuscule plantations, that produce highly sought-after teas prized by gourmets. These teas are both rare and expensive and can be compared to some of the most expensive wines in this respect. Tea is believed to be discovered sometime between 30th century BC and 21st century BC. It was initially used as medicine in ancient China, where people chewed on fresh leaves for their refreshing and invigorating effect before they learned to brew it in water to make a drink out of it. Yes Mam. You can actually get benefits from just chewing on the leaves!

India is the world’s largest tea-drinking nation, although the per capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams (26 oz) per person every year. Turkey, with 2.5 kilograms (5 lb 8 oz) of tea consumed per person per year, is the world’s greatest per capita consumer.

Drinking lots of tea and breastfeeding? If you are drinking tea while breastfeeding, you need to remember that most teas contain caffeine.

Caffeine is not recommended in large quantities and breastfeeding mothers are advised to stick to no more than two or three cups per day.

What You Should Know About Caffeine

  • Also, when drinking caffeinated tea, it’s best to drink a cup after breastfeeding, instead of before, to ensure that the caffeine does not enter your breast milk.
  • Excess caffeine can cause your baby to become fussy and may cause sleep problems. The mother can start consuming more tea, once her baby is about six  months of age. (PAID LINK)
  • Most herbal teas are caffeine free (always read the label ). So, why not substitute your regular tea for some herbal, decaffeinated tea?
  • Did you know that not all herbal teas are safe to drink while breastfeeding and can even help with several breastfeeding problems, such as low milk supply and thrush?

What Are Herbal Breastfeeding Tea?

Herbal teas can sometimes be used as medicine; this is why it is essential that you first contact your doctor before drinking any herbal tea if you are breastfeeding .

Here is a list of teas (galactagogues) that supports or improves lactation:

Some of the most common lactogenic herbs include:

  • Fennel seed
  • Fenugreek
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Anise seed
  • Blessed thistle
  • Goat’s rue
  • Milk thistle

Each one of these herbs individually can help to increase breastmilk production and support postpartum mothers.(PAID LINK)

One of the easiest ways to get all the benefits of these herbs without having to take seven different herbal supplement pills is to ingest them in the form of a tea. This I believe is remarkable. Drinking a tea that will help to give a boost to milk production I think is pretty cool!

Precautions when Drinking Herbal Teas while Nursing:

  • Make sure that it is caffeine free if you are drinking more than three cups daily.
  • Make sure that the specific herb is safe to take while breastfeeding. List of safe and unsafe herbs can be found below.
  • Make sure that the specific herb in the tea does not decrease breast milk supply.
  • If you are allergic to plants or pollen, it’s best to stay away from related herbal plants.
  • Always buy teas with proper labeling of ingredients.
  • Avoid pharmacologically active herbal teas.
  • Always check with your pediatrician before drinking any herbal teas while breastfeeding.

Teas that a Breastfeeding Mom should Not Drink
(not a complete list)

Bladderwrack, Buckthorn, Chaparral, Coltsfoot (Farfarae folium), Dong Quai (Angelica Root), Elecampane, Ephedra / Ephedra sinica / Ma Huang, Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Evodia, Black Cohosh, Valerian, Indian Snakeroot, Kava-kava (piper methysticum), Petasites root, Phen-fen, Rhubarb root, Star anise, Tiratricol (TRIAC), Uva Ursi, Wormwood, Sophora root, Ginkgo, Coptis, Aloe, Senna, Borrage, Licorice, Basil and Rue,Borage and Comfery tea.

Are There Any Herbal Teas That Could Reduce My Milk Supply?

Thyme tea among others can reduce your milk supply

Yes there are. Here are a some of them.

  • Sage, Menthol, spearmint or peppermint teas. (Peppermint is safe in small amounts and is often used to reduce colic and tummy ailments while breastfeeding)
  • Teas containing any of the following herbs: Black Walnut, Chickweed, Cocoa, Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), Lemon Balm, Oregano, Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor), Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), Thyme and Yarrow.

Teas that are Safe to Drink while Breastfeeding
(Also not a complete list)

Ginger tea, Linden flower tea, Orange peel & Citrus peel teas, Rosehip tea (contains extra vitamin C), Orange cinnamon tea, Lemon tea and Raspberry teas.

Herbal Teas Safe for Increasing Milk Supply

  • Organic mothers milk tea ~ Mother’s milk tea ingredients: Mothers milk herbal tea contains fennel, aniseed, and coriander. Does mother’s milk tea work? Organic mother’s milk tea works well for mothers who have periods of decreased milk supply, or for extra milk during nighttime nursing.
  • Fenugreek tea (large amounts may lower blood sugar levels).
  • Blessed thistle tea can be taken in small amounts.
  • Fennel tea taken in small amounts.
  • Raspberry leaf tea.
  • Goat’s rue teas.
  • Nettle tea.
  • Teas containing the following herbs: Hops

More Specific Herbs / Teas and Breastfeeding

  • Green tea and breastfeeding: Can you drink green tea while breastfeeding? Most green teas do contain caffeine, but you may be able to find green tea that is caffeine-free. High amounts of green tea are not recommended for breastfeeding women. This herb has not been tested for safety while nursing.
  • Fennel tea while breastfeeding: If you are taking the fennel tea to help a gassy baby, small amounts are safe.
  • Feverfew and breastfeeding: Not enough information is available on this herb, and it should be avoided while breastfeeding. Mothers might want to use this herb to relieve headaches, and it is best to get the advice of a professional or use something else in its place. 
  • Red raspberry leaf tea breastfeeding: This is an excellent tea for lactation ( increasing milk supply ) and contains loads of minerals.
  • Nettle tea breastfeeding: This herb is usually combined with other herbs to make lactation teas that increase milk supply.
  • Chamomile tea breastfeeding: Chamomile tea is sometimes used to help a mother rest or sleep better and can even help calm a teething baby. Alfalfa breastfeeding tea: Can be used safely to increase milk supply. Can increase milk supply from 50 – 100%. Can also be used in combination with fenugreek, blessed thistle, and marshmallow.
  • Milk thistle breast feeding tea: Used as a powerful galactagogue to increase milk supply.
  • Echinacea breastfeeding immune support tea: Is safe, if taken in small amounts (1 cup per day). No harmful side effects have been reported.
  • Ginger tea breastfeeding: Ginger tea is excellent for soothing tummies and increasing circulation and is safe to drink while breastfeeding.
  • Oregano breastfeeding tea: Oregano tea can decrease your milk supply. (PAID LINK)

Make sure it’s decaffeinated. If it’s not decaffeinated, you may drink three cups per day, depending on whether you are consuming other caffeine products like chocolate, coffee, etc.

Here are a few comments by other Moms who have used chamomile tea while breastfeeding. 

Comments From Moms Who Drink Chamomile Tea

Q & A

Aloe Vera Tea While Breastfeeding?

by Tammy

“I drink 8oz at night before bed and in the morning before breakfast, should I stop?”

Re: Aloe Vera tea and breastfeeding

by: Tracy

“Hi there, not many herbs have been studied or researched extensively when it comes to breastfeeding, but Aloe Vera tea is on the list of teas to avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding and has been said to be harmful.

Maybe if you are taking the tea for medicinal purposes, you can find another safer alternative herb or herbal tea.

Hope this helps”

Thai Tea While Breastfeeding – Is It Safe?

“Is it safe to drink Thai tea, if breastfeeding?”

Re: Thai tea and breastfeeding

by: Lisa

“I don’t think there would be a problem, as long as you drink it in moderation. Caffeinated drinks should be kept to a minimum.

Tea has much less caffeine in it, compared to coffee. I would suggest that you have a look at the caffeine content before buying.

Also look out for any strange symptoms in the baby after drinking it, such as a change in sleep pattern, fussiness and so forth.”

Hibiscus Tea

by Misty (Nevada)

“Is Hibiscus tea safe to drink while breastfeeding?”

Re: Hibiscus tea and breastfeeding

by: Tracy

“I’ve never heard or read of hibiscus tea not being safe to drink while breastfeeding. I drank it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I drink plain hibiscus tea, which is stronger than most of the tea blends that include hibiscus as an ingredient.

There does not seem to be any research on it though. Drink small amounts at first and keep an eye on your baby for anything out of the ordinary.”

We have come to the end of an exciting post explaining about the safety of breastfeeding while drinking tea. As you can see, there are many teas, but not all are suitable for breastfeeding. It certainly was a pleasure to give you some insight about this timely topic. I wish you a happy, healthy and safe breastfeeding journey. Cheers to your breastfeeding success!

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Here is a great video on breastfeeding and herbal teas

Published by Marilyn Smith

Hello. My name is Marilyn Smith. I am a Health Specialist with specialized skills in Clinical Practical Nursing, and Midwife of thirty six years. I am also a certified Lactation and Grief Specialist. I am well qualified to assist in meeting your breastfeeding needs. Breastfeeding is indeed the best for your baby. Congratulations on making such a wonderful decision. Consider this your home as we learn about the joys and pains of pregnancy & breastfeeding

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