Prescription Medication to Increase Your Milk Supply
By Mishaun Taylor
If you are breastfeeding a child and are having trouble maintaining adequate levels of milk, you may be concerned. For some women, natural methods such as increasing the frequency of feeding and expressing milk do the trick. For other mothers, herbal remedies such as fenugreek and milk thistle work to increase breast milk supply. However, there are those of us for whom these methods are just not working. In such cases, prescription medication may be necessary to ensure that you can continue to nurse your infant. Before considering this option, there are a few things you should know.
There are a limited number of prescription medications on the market that chemically increase a breastfeeding mothers’ milk production; and these should only be prescribed by a licensed medical doctor as a last resort.
One of the most reputable on the market is Metoclopramide (Consumer name – Reglan). In most cases, this medication is taken in doses of 10mg, 3 to 4 times each day for a period of 4 to 14 days. Results do vary from woman to woman; with some mothers reporting double increase in milk supply within a few days and other mothers who reported little or no change in milk supply. One of the downsides of taking Metoclopramide is that when you stop taking it, the milk supply usually declines to previous levels.
FDA approved, Metoclopramide is reportedly safe for baby and is often used to treat Gastroesophageal reflux in premature babies. However, there are side effects that should be mentioned. In rare cases, seizures in mothers taking Metoclopramide have been reported. More minor side effects include nausea restlessness, mild depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Often, these side effects can be totally eliminated by reducing the daily dosage.
There are other milk production drugs that are still in the experimental stages such as human growth hormone that has been reported to also increase milk supply. Although expensive, it is showing a great deal of promise and may become a popular choice for mothers struggling with milk production in the near future. In other research, the effect of taking thyroid releasing hormones to increase the prolactin levels in a woman and increase milk production are being studied with great success.
It is always vitally important to consult with your doctor about issues surrounding milk production. Be open and honest about your symptoms, situation and concerns. Additionally, be sure to alert your doctor immediately if you have any odd or serious side effects.
Even if you are taking medication to increase your breast milk supply, you still need to use traditional methods at the same time. Otherwise, when you stop taking the medication (which is generally only prescribed for a maximum of 12-14 days), your milk production will drastically decrease once again. Increase feeding frequencies, allow your child to nurse from both breasts at each feeding, and express milk to maintain adequate supplies of breast milk. After all, the main goal is to ensure that your child is receiving ample food and nutrition to promote growth, health and proper nutrition levels.