Are you wondering how you can use natural remedies while nursing without worry?

It all boils down to four things.

In this post, I’ll cover the four simple steps you can take to use herbal medicine without fear during the nursing years.

But don’t forget, always check with your doctor before taking herbal medicine.

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So, what’s the secret?

#1 Do you have any allergies?

  • If you or your child’s father has a known allergy, stay away from these botanicals.
  • For example… Chamomile is the safest herb to take while breastfeeding, BUT if you have an allergy to the daisy or Asteraceae family avoid this botanical and the other herbs in its family altogether. 

#2 Are you taking medications?

  • If you’re taking medication, you always want to check with your doctor before adding in botanicals.
  • For example, if you’re taking SSRIs, the biggest herb/drug interaction may be St. John’s Wort.
  • You would never want to take a botanical for which you are already taking conventional medication.

#3 Botanicals to avoid while nursing

There are botanicals you may want to avoid while nursing.  Keep in mind, this is not a complete list but it will help you feel a bit more comfortable.

Some of the herbs on the list are not safe to take internally, but you may see they are suggested externally; like comfrey root for cracked nipples.

And, some of the herbs like Lemon Balm – will not hurt your child, but will affect the taste of the milk.

And lastly, some women have taken St. John’s Wort for postpartum depression; even though it is a Level 2/3 botanical.

For a complete list of herbs to avoid, DOWNLOAD this PDF

#4 Safe Natural Remedies While Nursing

Then you’ll want to know which herbs are safe to take while nursing.

Here are five references for herbal medicine safety while breastfeeding.

In Dr. Aviva Romm’s book, Botanical Medicine of Women’s Health – they break down a handful of botanicals and their safety.

LACTATION RISK CATEGORIES

  • L1 Safest – No adverse effect observed in infants of lactating motherspostpartumdepression L2 Safer – Limited studies demonstrate no increased risk
  • L3 Moderately Safe – No controlled studies in breastfeeding women or controlled studies
    demonstrate minimal adverse effects
  • L4 Possible Risk – Positive evidence of risk but benefits may make the risk acceptable
  • L5 Contraindicated – Significant documented risk.

 

The safest thing to do is try one herb at a time and wait and see.

You’re looking for adverse reactions in your child.

What are adverse reactions?

  • any changes in your child’s skin color
  • any allergic reactions
  • if they fall asleep – when it’s not nap time.  This has happened with valerian root.
  • if they’re fussy, colicky, or unusually uncomfortable

Stop taking the botanical and wait.

Typically, when you’re child is three months or older their liver is able to process all medications and it’s a safe time to introduce Level 1 botanicals.

In a nutshell, you’ll want to know which herbs are safe to take internally versus externally and the lactation risk categories determined by studies. {pubmed is a good source}

Then decide if you want to take the herb as a tea, tincture, or externally for mastitis or cracked nipples.

xo

Tara

How to use herbs while breastfeeding without fear - 4 simple steps
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