Can You Have Herbal Tea While Breastfeeding?

can you have herbal tea while breastfeeding

Women often inquire about the safety of herbal tea while breastfeeding. Most herbal infusions are generally safe to enjoy in moderation as they provide nutritional and soothing benefits for both mother and infant, though there may be exceptions due to limited research or possible side effects; it’s wise to speak to your healthcare provider for further insight on this subject.

Herbal medicines differ from over-the-counter and prescription medications in that they are unregulated and untested for safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding, unlike their pharmaceutical counterparts. Herbal therapies fall under complementary and alternative medicines; many such remedies are sold at health food stores or may be recommended by a naturopath or Chinese doctor.

Some herbs are known to increase milk production among nursing mothers, such as fenugreek (Mentha arvensis) and fennel (Foenum-graecum). These two galactagogues can increase milk supply by increasing levels of the hormone oxytocin; additionally fennel may help soothe gassy tummies in babies.

Although Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has been considered safe by the American Pregnancy Association1 and many new moms have reported drinking Chamomile tea to help with sleep, its long-term effects on breastfed infants remain unknown and therefore it would be wise to forego it during breastfeeding until further research can be completed.

As with anything, certain herbs should not be consumed while breastfeeding, including rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), thyme (Thymus meliorum), dandelion roots (Taraxacum officinale), comfrey (Fagus grandiflorum), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). These herbs must be avoided as they may interfere with production of milk production.

Caffeine should also be limited during breastfeeding. Caffeine found in coffee (Camellia sinensis) or tea, or any beverage containing caffeine such as yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) or guarana (Paullinia cupana), can reduce milk production as it crosses the placenta-fetal barrier and is slowly processed by newborns.

Non-herbal teas typically contain some amount of caffeine; while herbal decaffeinated varieties may still contain up to 40-50 milligrams. Therefore, it is essential that consumers of all tea varieties, including herbal blends and oolongs, carefully review their ingredient lists in order to be certain no allergic reaction occurs from any listed herbs. For optimal results, consume tea made only from fresh organically grown herbs.

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