Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Garlic has many medicinal benefits, including a long history as a known galactagogue, used to induce, maintain, and increase breastmilk production. Studies have shown that babies latch better, suckle more actively, and drink more milk when the mother has garlic prior to nursing. If you are not trying to eat a lot of garlic, try adding a capsule supplement to a meal eaten about an hour prior to nursing. I know what you are thinking, oh my gosh I need to eat garlic before every feed!?! No, of course not. But you can add it to the evening nursing session, during marathon nursing days, or whenever you are concerned about your supply and feeding times.
If you do not currently eat garlic, introduce it very slowly and see how your baby reacts. Take 1 to 2 cloves a day. You can chop or press garlic through a press and add it into your food after it’s been cooked. Try adding it to salad dressings or spaghetti sauce; or sauté with veggies, rice, and/or grains. You don’t have to load every dish with garlic. Just add enough for taste and effectiveness.
Our culture does not typically encourage eating garlic and many do not tolerate garlic (or onions, another lactogenic food). For this reason, garlic is not recommended by the American Herbal Product’s Association while breastfeeding except under the guidance of a qualified herbalist. That being said, if you tolerate garlic, there is truly no reason you shouldn't benefit from it. Take garlic in moderation as many mothers do all over the world.
Caution: Do not combine garlic with anticoagulants, as garlic has blood-thinning actions.
YOU eat the garlic. NEVER give garlic to your baby or small child in any form, whether fresh, dry, powdered, or in capsules, to chew, swallow, eat, or suck on. Garlic is highly caustic to sensitive and delicate body tissues and rubbing it in one’s eyes and or nose could be dangerous and painful. Babies benefit from the garlic ingested by their mother that passes to them through her breastmilk.