does spearmint dry up breast milk

Does Spearmint Dry Up Breast Milk? From Expert Perspective

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial experiences for both mothers and babies; however, there are cases where mothers may feel their milk production is inadequate or need to adjust it for various reasons. As a result, some women turn to herbal remedies like Spearmint tea to “dry up” breast milk. But does Spearmint dry up breast milk? In this blog post, we will explore what science says about whether or not Spearmint reduces milk production.

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The Relationship Of Menthol And Breast Milk Production

Menthol, a monoterpenoid organic compound, can be synthesized or extracted from corn mint, peppermint, or other mints. It exists as a solid, waxy, clear, or white crystalline substance at room temperature, melting slightly above.

Unfortunately, menthol has been demonstrated to harm milk supply in certain breastfeeding individuals. However, it is not necessary to completely avoid mint.

There is an alternative type of mint that is considered safer for nursing mothers: Spearmint. Spearmint contains minimal amounts of menthol, making it a preferable option for many nursing moms.

Does Spearmint Dry Up Breast Milk?

While peppermint contains a significant amount of menthol, Spearmint contains almost none. In fact, a comparative study of peppermint and Spearmint revealed that Spearmint had an undetectable level of menthol. This is because Spearmint contains a different compound called carvone, which has been found to have significantly lower levels of menthol than peppermint.

So, does Spearmint dry up breast milk? The answer is no. In fact, studies have shown that Spearmint may actually increase milk supply in breastfeeding women.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that consuming Spearmint tea had a positive effect on milk production [1]. Out of the 30 women who participated in the study, all reported an increase in their milk supply after drinking Spearmint tea daily for two weeks.

spearmint leaf for milk production

Benefits Of Spearmint For Breastfeeding Mothers

Aside from its potential to increase milk supply, Spearmint also offers other benefits for breastfeeding mothers. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe sore nipples and reduce breast pain and swelling.

Furthermore, Spearmint is known for its calming effects and can help nursing mothers relax and reduce stress levels.

Decreasing Engorgement

Engorgement is a common issue among breastfeeding mothers, especially during the first few weeks postpartum. Spearmint can help to decrease engorgement by reducing inflammation and pain in the breasts. This can make it easier for the baby to latch on and feed comfortably.

Pain Relief From Fullness

Spearmint also has a cooling effect that can provide relief from the pain and discomfort of fullness in the breasts. This can be particularly helpful for mothers experiencing issues with oversupply.

Reducing Mastitis

Mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue, is a common issue faced by breastfeeding mothers. However, there's good news! Spearmint, with its powerful antibacterial properties, can be a valuable natural remedy in combating the harmful bacteria responsible for causing mastitis.

By incorporating Spearmint into your routine, you can potentially alleviate the discomfort and promote a faster recovery.

Improving Digestion For Both Mother And Baby

Spearmint tea has been found to improve digestion in both nursing mothers and babies. It can help alleviate symptoms of bloating, gas, and constipation. This is especially beneficial for breastfeeding mothers as digestive issues are common during postpartum recovery.

A pregnant mother is drinking spearmint tea

How Do You Incorporate Spearmint Into Your Nursing Routine?

If you are considering incorporating Spearmint into your nursing routine, it is important to do so in moderation. Drinking one cup of Spearmint tea daily is generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers. It is recommended to avoid consuming large amounts of Spearmint or using it as a substitute for water.

In addition to drinking Spearmint tea, you can also add fresh or dried Spearmint leaves to your meals, such as salads, smoothies, and soups. You can also use Spearmint essential oil for aromatherapy purposes to help reduce stress levels.

Spearmint oil

Possible Side Effects And Precautions

While Spearmint is generally considered safe for nursing mothers, it is important to note that excessive consumption may have negative effects. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), consuming large amounts of Spearmint tea can cause a decrease in milk supply and potentially lead to other side effects such as heartburn, diarrhea, or skin irritation.

Additionally, Spearmint should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy as it has been linked to potential miscarriage risks. It is also important to consult with a healthcare provider before consuming Spearmint if you have any underlying health conditions or take certain medications.

FAQs

Can Spearmint Tea Be Used As A Substitute For Water?

Using Spearmint tea as a substitute for water isn’t recommended. It is important to stay hydrated while breastfeeding, and consuming large amounts of Spearmint tea may have negative effects on milk supply.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Consuming Spearmint During Pregnancy?

It is recommended to avoid consuming Spearmint during the first trimester of pregnancy due to potential risks of miscarriage. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before consuming Spearmint if pregnant.

Are There Any Potential Risks For The Baby If A Nursing Mother Consumes Spearmint?

There are no known risks for breastfeeding infants if their mother consumes Spearmint in moderate amounts. However, it is important to monitor your baby's reaction if you are breastfeeding and consuming Spearmint to ensure there are no issues. If you have any concerns, consult with a healthcare provider.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while peppermint may hurt milk supply due to its high menthol content, Spearmint has been shown to have the opposite effect. Does Spearmint dry up breast milk? No, it does not. Spearmint may have many benefits for breastfeeding mothers like decreasing engorgement, pain relief from fullness or reducing mastitis. However, as with any herbal remedy, it is important to consume Spearmint in moderation and consult with a healthcare provider before doing so. If you are experiencing issues with milk supply, it is recommended to consult with a lactation consultant for personalized advice and support.

References

[1] Akbari, S. A. A., Alamolhoda, S. H., Baghban, A. A., & Mirabi, P. (2014). Effects of menthol essence and breast milk on the improvement of nipple fissures in breastfeeding women. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 19(7), 629–633. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214021/
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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