Folk Remedies to Improve Breast Feeding

Breast milk is the most important ingredient for the nourishment of a baby. But the whole process can be quite an ordeal with a variety of hurdles ranging from painful feeds to low milk production.

Breast Feeding

Latest research on folk remedies for breast feeding mothers, by scientists at The Ohio State University has revealed that these are natural solutions to common breast feeding issues.

The findings of this research have been published in the recent edition of the journal Breastfeeding Medicine.

The Study

The study was conducted by Dr. Jonathan Schaffir from the Wexner Medical center in Ohio. It involved survey with 124 lactation consultants on folk medicines and their impact on breast feeding in their patients. The respondents of this survey were asked to list out traditional methods recommended by them for lactating mothers in their contact and put them under the following 5 categories:

  • Lactation promoting
  • Breastfeeding initiating
  • Pain alleviating
  • Weaning assisting
  • Substances to be avoided by lactating mothers

Findings of the Study

From the survey it was found that many lactation consultants did in fact hear about traditional remedies from their patients and over the years through their experience have been recommending it as an alternative medicine to the mothers. The survey put this percentage of consultants at 65%. Accordingly, some of the most common folk remedies that consultants have been hearing and recommending to mothers as proven methods are – Beer & beer products, Tea bags & Cabbage leaves and lanolin & expressed milk.

Beer has been used since the 1800s as a way of promoting lactation in new mothers. However the use of alcohol for lactation is a debatable issue. While application of cabbage leaves has been recommended for engorgement and painful breasts, tea bags are said to relieve sore nipples. Lanolin and expressed milk have also been advised for treating sore nipples.


All these folklore remedies are still under study and the studies conducted so far have not yielded results as expected. They are at best as good as the conventional medical remedies. The conclusion of the study is that all these remedies must be used with sufficient caution. However, there is no harm in trying out stuff that is a part of our regular food intake.