Fennel during breastfeeding

Uses of fennel infusions during breastfeeding

Why are fennel infusions  being used for breastfeeding?

Sometimes infusions of fennel fruits are administered to the mother to pass the essential oils of fennel into breast milk, and exert a therapeutic effect on the nursing baby, usually for the infant’s gas or colic.

It is also considered that fennel infusions can increase the production of milk in lactating women, because of the galactagogue properties of fennel

Although they are widely used traditional remedies, there are some cases of intoxication, especially when done improperly.

Can fennel be taken during breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding has many benefits for the baby and the mother.

Fennel is a plant for food use, which could theoretically be consumed in normal and sporadic amounts, without any problem, during breastfeeding.

However, as we know that anethole passes into breast milk and then to the baby, so it is not recommended that the mother take these infusions during the first and second month of breastfeeding, when the baby’s metabolism is very immature. Or, at least, it is not advisable to take them heavily loaded with fennel, or in large quantities.

Dangers of fennel remedies during breastfeeding

There is the  case of two infants under the age of one month who were intoxicated after drinking their mothers about two liters per day of a mixed infusion of licorice, fennel, anise and galega (Galega officinalis), which are plants traditionally used to increase milk production during lactation (galactogogas).

The symptoms presented by the babies were lethargy or slowness of movement, which was attributed to anethole (trans-anethole), present in fennel and anise. Anethole is a neurotoxic component that, in adults and in food doses, does not affect us, but it can affect sensitive people such as infants and young children.

What remedies are recommended during breastfeeding?

The main  problems to breastfeed can be due to:

  • Bad chest grip
  • Improper extraction technique with breast pump
  • Breast problems
  • Lack of rest

In case everything is correct, the use of suitable medicinal plants can be considered

punto rojo More information on fennel


This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

30 October, 2019

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