Many of us are well aware that breastfeeding trumps bottle-feeding in all the ways that matter. From better nutrition to stronger immunity, breast milk is the natural food supply that gives your precious newborn what they need to grow strong and healthy.
That said, a low breast milk supply is one of the top concerns that many breastfeeding mothers face, particularly new mamas. Day and night, you’re agonizing over questions like, “Am I producing enough milk for my baby?” and “Should I just switch to formula milk instead?” Indeed, there’s nothing more frustrating and stressful than facing lactating under-production when you’re trying to take care of a fussy newborn.
Sure, there are medications you can take to pump out more breast milk. But when you think about it, these drugs often come with unwanted side effects for the mother, possibly also affecting the baby’s health over time. If you’re looking for a natural solution to boost your milk supply that’s safe and effective, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we show you why Moringa may be the answer to your breastfeeding woes.
What Is Moringa?
Moringa (scientifically known as Moringa oleifera) is a time-honored herbal plant with immense health benefits. Originating from the Himalayan mountains in northern India, the medicinal herb boasts an impressive nutritional profile of:
- Vitamin A (25x more than carrots)
- Iron (3x more than spinach)
- Potassium (3x more than bananas)
- Vitamin C (7x more than oranges)
- Protein (2x more than yogurt)
- Calcium (4x more than milk)
Most notably, Moringa enjoys global popularity as a natural galactagogue (a substance that promotes milk supply), particularly in Asia and South Africa. In recent years, it’s become one of the most well-known herbal galactagogues in the United States.
While the entire plant — leaves, seeds, flowers, stems, and all — can be used for its health-boosting properties, research indicates Moringa leaves possess the “greatest antioxidant activity.” That’s why many high-quality Moringa supplements for breastfeeding are extracted from the plant’s leaves. Case in point: Zen Principle® Organic Moringa Leaf Powder (more on that later).
Fun fact: Moringa goes by many names. It’s called the “Miracle Tree” for its countless medicinal uses, the horseradish tree for the taste of its roots, and the drumstick tree for the appearance of its fruits.
Moringa and Its Role in Breastfeeding
Before we jump into nature’s cure for low breast milk supply (aka Moringa), let’s talk about why conventional medications may not be the best solution.
Synthetic galactagogues like Domperidone and Metoclopramide are routinely prescribed for nursing mothers struggling with low breast milk supply. However, such drugs are often associated with unwanted side effects such as:
- Digestive discomfort, like an upset stomach
- Mastitis (breast inflammation)
- A poor appetite
Some of these drugs may even lead to more serious health consequences like gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, and irregular heartbeats. It’s best to consult your obstetrician and/or gynecologist on the possible side effects before taking these medications.
If you aren’t willing to risk it, try natural alternatives like the herbal galactagogue, Moringa. Throughout history, there is ample anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of Moringa in enhancing the breast milk supply of nursing mothers, especially new moms. In fact, Moringa is one of the most popular galactagogues in Asia, reigning supreme in Indonesia and the Philippines (the Filipino locals call it malunggay).
Boost the Supply of Breast Milk
If you need hard proof regarding the lactation-promoting abilities of Moringa, you won’t be disappointed.
In a small study of 68 postpartum mothers, participants took a capsule containing 250 milligrams of Moringa leaves or a placebo flour capsule twice daily from the third day postpartum. On the fifth day, the Moringa group showed much higher milk production (320 milliliters) than those in the placebo group (120 milliliters). The best part is, these improvements were seen in as short as two to three days (180% on day 5 vs. 67% on day 4) for the Moringa group with no negative effects!
Another small study involving 30 breastfeeding mothers found that those who took Moringa have greater levels of prolactin (the hormone necessary for breast milk secretion). This further confirms the potency of Moringa as a natural booster for breastfeeding mothers with a low milk supply. As a bonus, Moringa also helps prolong your baby’s sleep duration.
Improve the Quality of Breast Milk
You’d be delighted to know that there are other side benefits of adding Moringa to your diet post-pregnancy. Research indicates that when breastfeeding mothers ate 50 grams of Moringa cookies for a month, their breast milk had higher levels of fat, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamin A. In that sense, Moringa helps increase the quality of your breast milk (which is already quite nutritious) to give your newborn all that they need for healthy development. As such, supplementing with Moringa not only guarantees ample milk supply but may provide an additional boost to your baby’s immune system.
Moringa vs. Fenugreek: The Battle of Herbal Galactagogues
If you’ve been researching natural remedies to increase your breast milk supply, you’ve probably come across fenugreek. Although fenugreek is the most commonly recommended herbal galactagogue for low milk production, it’s associated with several side effects like:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flatulence (gas)
- Allergic reactions
To illustrate, in a survey of 85 lactating mothers who used fenugreek to enhance their milk supply, roughly 45% experienced side effects. If you are allergic to peanuts and chickpeas, it’s best to steer clear of fenugreek as it’s part of the legume family, too.
Meanwhile, Moringa is gluten-free, and according to the studies previously mentioned, it is not associated with any negative side effects. That said, Moringa may cause a mild laxative effect in some individuals. You should always consult a medical professional before adding any type of herbal galactagogues to your diet.
Is Moringa Safe for Babies?
Most mothers wonder if taking Moringa while breastfeeding would be a safe choice for their babies. Per the studies previously mentioned, Moringa supplementation does not appear to incite any negative health effects.
Moreover, breastfeeding mothers who took Moringa flour capsules witnessed greater increases in their babies’ weight than mothers who took iron-folic acid capsules. As such, Moringa may help promote healthy infant growth, particularly in newborns aged three months and below. For peace of mind, speak to a pediatrician regarding any doubts and concerns you may have.
How Much Moringa Can I Take in a Day While Breastfeeding?
When taking Moringa for its general health benefits, research studies reported no adverse effects in humans when 50 grams of Moringa were consumed in a single dose or when 8 grams of Moringa were consumed continually for 40 days.
Breastfeeding-wise, there is no standardized rule on how much Moringa mothers should take. Still, according to the studies above, a daily dosage of up to 500 milligrams appears to be effective for boosting breast milk supply without any side effects. At the end of the day, it’s still safest to defer to a healthcare professional on the suitable dosage for your individual needs.
How To Incorporate Moringa Into Your Diet
Thanks to Moringa’s ever-growing popularity, it’s now easily accessible in convenient forms, like powders and capsules. This saves you the trouble of buying fresh Moringa leaves and grinding them into a fine powder to add to your meals (especially since nursing mothers already have their hands full with newborns).
One good option is our Organic Moringa Leaf Powder that is sustainably sourced from the small organic farms in the Himalayan foothills where the herb is freshly grown. Compared to other Moringa products that use industrial machines to freeze dry or heat dry, we carefully dry our Moringa leaves through the sun and shade at an ideal low temperature. This helps preserve its precious nutrients and maintain optimal freshness until the product reaches your doorstep. You can see the difference in the bright green colors and rich, earthy scent of our Moringa powder the moment you unseal the bag.
Before adding a Moringa supplement to your diet, get the green light from your healthcare provider first. Dosage-wise, it’s best to start small to see how your body reacts to Moringa, given that it's a mild laxative. For instance, we recommend you try ½ teaspoon of our Organic Moringa Leaf Powder before slowly working your way up the dosage. Alternatively, check in with your primary doctor on how much Moringa powder you should be taking to increase your breast milk supply.
The best part about Moringa powder is that it’s a versatile supplement that can be added to almost anything such as:
- Sauces and dips
If you’d like to try your hand at a few Moringa-based recipes to improve your milk supply, check out our informative guide on “How to Use Moringa Powder.”
Moringa: Nature’s Remedy for Your Breastfeeding Woes
As you would know by now, Moringa is an effective galactagogue for resolving low breast milk supply the natural way. Compared to other herbal galactagogues like fenugreek, Moringa is unlikely to be detrimental to you and your baby’s health. Still, it’s always best to touch base with your primary doctor first before adding any kind of herbal supplement to your diet.