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Ep. 135 – Fenugreek: Friend or foe?

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Ep. 135- Fenugreek: Friend or foe?

This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way. So join us for another episode.

Welcome, welcome to the to the Milk Minute podcast everybody. We’re so happy you came back. I’m so happy to be back. Cause it’s been a while since we talked, Heather. I know. It’s been, It’s been busy over here. Yeah, it’s been really busy. I was just, actually right before we sat down here, I was kind of venting to Maureen.

You know, all of it’s all good things. All good things. It’s just a lot. You can have too much of a good thing. You can have a bit too much of a good thing. And yeah. You know, you’re working too hard when someone has a birthday party and they invite you to it and your initial instinct is ugh. Or you’re just an introvert.

Yeah. Or I’m an extrovert introvert that like, just needs to accept that about myself. But yeah, it’s okay. Yeah. Anyway, so what’s going on with you? Well I just, had like a day and a half in my house, completely alone what I know. So since Griffin is homeschooled, I can just like send him off to visit his grandparents now and just like print out his schoolwork and be like, Okay, just do your homework. Bye.

Wow. So he went to stay with them for a week cuz they’re gonna like close the pool down. So he wanted to swim before then and his grandmother met up with Ivan in Hagerstown to do the switch cause it’s like halfway between our houses. And Ivan was like, How about I take the baby and get a hotel room?

And I was like, Oh yeah, and then I, I’m just, I’m just gonna be alone. Whoa. In silence. What are you gonna do? Well I mopped my whole house, which I don’t think I’ve done at like once, like at once in years, Cathartic mopping. It’s, it’s usually just like one room where I’m like, frantically mopping, you know, while like a dog runs through or a child’s like, Oh no, I.

Build, mopped the whole, I mean, obviously vacuumed as well cause you have to do, so I vacuumed and mopped the whole house. I threw away a trash bag of toys that we will never discuss again. Mm-hmm. And hopefully nobody will remember their existence ever again. And I listened to like an audiobook and cooked myself dinner and I didn’t go anywhere.

That’s amazing. It was so nice. I slept alone with no children. Wow, that’s really cool. I shaved my thighs for the first time in six months. Yes, I does that count you, You methodically mopped and Yeah. You know, the only reason I actually did it, Is because I’ve been working out at this place that has these large like industrial fans and it’s wonderful that they blow on you constantly.

But I can feel every thigh hair flapping in the wind and you know, So it really wasn’t like a cosmetic thing. Goodness. Yeah. I just like can’t deal with thinking about my thighs. That’s a lot of sensory. It’s too much . It’s too much. So like the whole point of not shaving your thighs is to not think about them.

And now I’ve got these industrial fans being like, Your thighs are hairy. It’s like, God, okay. So I shave them and now I can’t stop touching myself. Oh, it’s, so I’m sitting here like, Rubbing my thighs. Remember the first time you shaved your legs and you got into bed and it was like your legs were slicked up?

Yeah. So with like clean sheets and you just like kinda kicked all around. Yeah. And you were like, Whoa, my sheets feel amazing. . Yeah. So I kind of had that experience last night and I was like, , you know, young again. Yeah. Oh my god. My thighs. That’s the experience I have anytime I shave. Cause it’s like maybe a once a year occurrence.

Yeah. And it’s like, oh yeah, this is why people do it. Yeah. So I mean that’s what’s going on with me. Everything and nothing sounds great. Yeah.

Oh well today I was thinking we could start out by talking about kind of like a hot topic, cuz those are my favorite. A confusing topic. Yeah. I wanted to finally address the topic of fenugreek.

Is it a friend or a foe? Well, I think that everyone’s confused at this point. Yeah. Every single person. The 25% of healthcare providers listening to this, also confused. Well, I, I hope I can shed some light on it, and I think more than that, I’m hoping to reframe the way we’re thinking about this so that it’s more useful to us.

But before we get into that, what do we need to do here? We’re gonna thank a patron. Oh, who? Charlotte. T Thanks, Charlotte. Yep. Charlotte T is coming in hot with a brand new Patreon contribution and we are so thankful for all of that because it goes directly to producing the show and we just keep doing this.

Yeah. And we may never. You know what I mean? We, When do you quit? I mean, we don’t have bosses, It’s just us. You just have to like stop. I guess when we stop liking it, we quit, so, Oh, well, never then. Yeah. I mean, I personally like to just take one day every once in a while to completely hyper focus on a topic that I really like and which all I ever wanna do is just.

Talk about the things I’m thinking about like this. Yeah. And I get to spend a whole day with a friend and call it work. Yeah. It’s, Which is cool. All right. Let’s answer a question. Okay. This is from one of our patrons, Cecilia in Italy. And she says, My baby is 10 months and has been requesting my boob a lot recently at night.

It’s now the only thing to put him back to sleep. We will still wake up every two-ish hours over here and during the day, he now literally opens my shirt and pulls up my T-shirts to access the breast milk, especially around nap times. But not only then. I’ve basically been going with it and I’m wondering whether I should be resisting it somehow.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but I wonder whether we’re overdoing it. I have some answers for this. . Yes. I also have some thoughts going. Yeah, so one is that before you hear any of our advice this is your life and your baby and yourself. So you are the one who decides if it’s working for you or not.

My advice though, would be, That it’s not necess, at least for me, the frequency of nursing isn’t really a thing that if it doesn’t bother you, it’s fine. It’s more. The way baby’s approaching it with like taking your clothes off to get to it, that frankly, that bothers me. And it might escalate into like a larger problem around boundaries when you have, say, a two year old nursing.

So my advice would be not necessarily to like put hard boundaries in place but think about a way that you could have your baby initiate. It that it like in a kinder way, like what I did is I started being like, Oh right, let’s make sure we’re teaching the milk sign and before you do anything, we sign for milk.

And then when Lira was pulling out my clothes, I was like, Okay, instead of that, you’re gonna point to which one you want. So we sign for milk and then point, and now. She doesn’t tear my clothes off, thank goodness, because that bothers the shit outta me. But it doesn’t have to be that way For you. How long did it take you to switch her over to the sign language and break that behavior?

I mean, it’s probably like a month of being really consistent. It wasn’t that bad, especially because I did it around that time. It was like around a year. Mm-hmm. . You know, the longer you wait, the more those neural pathways are like, you know, like in use. So the harder it is to change them. Right. You know?

That’s funny because the advice that I gave her was exactly that, . So I started with that and then I highlighted the fact that this question is actually more about sleep. Yeah. So it’s like that’s what jumped out to me in this question. And she put in parentheses, we still wake up every two-ish hours over here.

I mean, if that’s bothering you, that’s a sleep thing. And you can absolutely work on that if you’re feeling ready and comfortable to do that. And then just the behavior modification and you know, or do nothing, you’re not overdoing it if it’s working for you. And that’s my thing. It’s like we don’t have to fit our lives into socially acceptable molds.

Because, Right, exactly. So if that works for you, go with it. Or if you’re like, Oh, your alternative sound better, go with that. And also if you know, it sounds like this kiddo’s been waking up that frequently for quite a while. Mm-hmm. . But if this is like a new behavior, I would wait it out a little bit.

It’s probably just a weird gross spurt or something. Yep. Weird gross spurt. Maybe baby’s getting sick. We’re in that like 18 month-ish one where all of the sleep trained babies and babies who sleep through the night just suddenly. Wake up again. Mm Oh. My children took turns waking me up like a newborn the other night, both of them together.

So my husband gave me the eyes where he was like, We need to hang out. And I was like, Oh God. Oh, it’s getting kinda late. Like, kids are definitely gonna wake up if we do that. I was like, it’s getting kinda late, but okay. So I put down my, my book and I was like, All right, let’s do it. So we would get to bed finally at 11, and then at one, Heidi wakes up and crying because she needs a.

Okay, great. Okay. Sure. And then she wakes up at four because she’s very sad. That’s what I, She told me, I was like, Why are you up? She was like, Cause I’m very sad. How, what can you, You’re like, Okay, I get it. All right. Sure. And then at five in the morning, Theo’s iPad alarm went off. Oh God. What? Full blast.

And I was like, Buddy, why did you set your alarm for 5:00 AM And he was like, Oh, I tried to set it for 5:00 PM yesterday. And I was like, Oh my God. Been there. Been there. Yeah. And then people were like, You should have another baby. And I’m like, listen, these two are already waking me up every two hours, every once in a while.

So anyway, we’re with you. Kids are hard , it’s fine. But hey, for everybody else out there if you have questions like this, want some more personalized advice, reminder that both of us do virtual consults, and you can find those links in the show notes on our website, just every. Everywhere. And if you’re in Morgantown, West Virginia, by the way, that’s where we live.

So I’ve had a lot of people recently be like, I had no idea you guys were in West Virginia. Like we live in the same town. You can also see me in person if you wanna do that. So surprise, we’re not in la everyone thinks we’re in la. Well, I’m actually even further. South of West Virginia, like near the Elkins area, so I can do home visits there as well.

Ah, yes. Yeah, so anywhere around there , anywhere. You just let us know what you need. But let’s take a quick break to thank a sponsor and then we’re gonna talk about Venue Greek and really try to get to the bottom of why this is so darn confusing.

All right. It’s Maureen here, and I want to tell you that. Finally set up a link so you can instantly book virtual lactation consults with me. Thank the Lord . I know Heather, it took me a long time to take the leap from in-person visits to virtual, but I did it. You’re gonna love it. I love doing virtual consults.

They are the best. It serves more people. I’m so glad you took the plunge. Thank you. And if you guys out there wanna book some time with me, you can go to highland birth and then click on my lactation services tab. Is that h I g h l a n D? Yes. Okay, . I will see you on Zoom everybody.

All right. Welcome back. Maureen. Where should we begin with this? Okay, so we’re actually gonna begin, like in a very broad context here because I feel like I’m not going to, it’s gonna be hard to understand if I don’t kind of like lay down a few things first. So pretty much like in almost every episode we’ve been giving you guys, you know, medical information, parenting information, all of that from like a Western medical evidence standpoint.

Controlled studies, like isolated compound medications, like, you know, this, this very controlled way that. In for the most part, like European medicine Canadian medicine, American medicine, all kind of lives. But when we talk about herbs, which are largely ignored by Western medicine we need to talk about other kinds of evidence that largely come into play.

Like in the eastern medicinal traditions like Aveda, traditional Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, things like that. It’s nothing like western medicine, just like the, the way that they even categorize the body is. You know, and each of those traditions has their own way. And so the kind of evidence that they’re working from tends to be more of these like very longstanding traditions, anecdotal, as we would call it here, but also like literally thousands of years of use of.

Plants and techniques who needs it? Yeah. So I don’t discount that, but you know, it’s not something you’re gonna find in like the NIH website, you know, So I just have to kinda say that because herbs don’t do very well in controlled Western studies because they don’t just contain one active compound.

Right. They contain literally thousands of phyto constitu. And each specific plant is not gonna contain the same thing because they make those to benefit themselves. So it’s a response to like the pests in the environment, to the bacteria in the environment, to the fungus, to the soil, to the sunlight, like, It’s like if you harvested a human

I was just thinking that, but I didn’t wanna be creepy. I was thinking about like, yeah, Maureen and I are both humans, but in different environ do not contain the same thing. Oh my gosh, that’s so why are we so gross? ? No, it’s a great analogy. So, you know, you have to understand that when we’re talking about plant medicine, and even if we isolate like the one compound that we think might be responsible for the action we’re seeing, Unless we’re actually using it that way every time, we’re not gonna see the same results replicated that.

And then you put it into a complex organism like a human. Yeah. Whose body is gonna react with it differently. Yeah. So it’s, it’s a complicated topic and I’m gonna do my best to make it understandable so you guys can understand kind of how we got here with Fen Greek. But let me introduce you to this lovely plant.

Tell me and Maureen’s an herbalist, by the way. I am because you didn’t know . Yeah. I’m, I’m a trained herbalist. It’s one of my, like, one of the ways that I use my holistic. You know, medical practice, I guess , you do herbal consults a lot? I do. I do her herbal consults. Usually in person though, because when I put them virtual immediately all of my requests were like, Here are my cancer.

And I was like, I can’t do that . So I, I’m very sparing with virtual consults, but if you wanna book one, that’s fine. Just know that I will not treat. Or things like that. Incurable diseases. Okay, great. . Anyway. Vena, Greek . It’s a plant in the PE family. It is a like goo. Does it have peas on it? Yeah, it, so it makes these like little beanie type things.

It looks like a little bit like a very tall clover. It’s got like those three leaves and little like pea shaped flowers, like all the peas have. They’re very cute. Oh. And it’s native to the Mediterranean region, into the Middle East, into many parts of Asia, which I think is important for this conversation.

It is not an indigenous herb. To where we live, and we are lack. Do we grow it here now though? Yeah. We can certainly grow it here, but we are lacking some information about it because it has not existed here very long. However, it has been cultivated since, as far as we understand, at least 4,000 BC.

That’s a long time. Yeah. So like before the Bronze Age, Right? . And it’s mostly been used as a food. It’s been used like people eat the leaves, they use the seeds as spices like sprouts, micro greens, I mean all, all kinds of ways you can imagine using this. What does it taste like? It’s kind of sweet.

And the seeds particularly smell like maple syrup. Oh yeah. . And today, It’s like just a really common ingredient in so many popular dishes, like particularly in the Indian subcontinent. Right. Hmm. So this is a food that we’re talking about, and as a dietary supplement slash herbal medicine most people are using the seeds.

Can I just say from all the galactic GOs that we use; I feel like a lot of them could be used in traditional Indian dishes. And it’s like, are they all good over there with supply? They’re eating fennel and turmeric to take out the inflammation. And I, I do have a lot to say about that. . Okay. I’m excited.

And then I just wanted to kind of talk about this from an herbal medicine standpoint. So disclaimer, I am not a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, nor an a veic practitioner. This is just some information I’m adding in. So in the traditional Chinese viewpoint, this is seen as a yang tonic, particularly used for kidney deficiencies.

It’s used really often in Ave medicine. You know, so it’s a very common ingredient in those practices. From a Western herbal perspective, we would talk about this in these terms. We would say it’s hypotensive, it could lower blood pressure. It is in a Amen, agog, meaning it stimulates menstrual flow and uterine activity, which is why it is not safe in pregnancy.

It’s anti spasmatic, so it relieves those smooth muscle spasms. Anti-inflammatory, which I think you guys understand. hypoglycemic, which is important so it can really help with high blood sugar issues insulin production issues. It is mu aous, which is something we typically use to support mucus membranes, So like digestive tract particularly.

But a lot of plants contain misage and it’s like a, that like slippery gooey liquid. You find in some plants it’s basically long chain polysaccharides carbohydrates. Mm-hmm. . And those are really useful when we’re dealing with like wet parts of our body that the wetness protects them. like a esophagus.

Anything down below that . It’s also a laxative, right? So it aids in bowel movements. You sure? You can’t take this in pregnancy because like the, the leg cramps for the anti-spasmatic. All the information, the hyperglycemia that we get. Am I sure? No. , but typically anything that can stimulate menstrual flow, we’re certainly going to caution against in pregnancy.

Right. Man, that’s a bummer because all of those other things that it cures is like basically describing pregnancy . Yeah. But you know, there’s a lot of other herbs that do that too, that are complimentary. But essentially things that this would be commonly used for as a medicine. Would be like to help kidney health, lung health, supporting digestive membranes promoting menstruation when we’ve got like ahea or something supporting lactation.

And then an interesting one is this is a warm herb, which a lot of the Eastern medical practices think of the body with like different constitutions. Warmth, then cold and dry and moist. But this is a warm herb that if we’re using it externally, it’s for things that we’d consider cold skin eruption. So like boils and swollen glands and things like that.

So , here’s the thing. We have actually studied Fendi Greek. In a western sense with some human clinical trials using the seeds for, particularly when we’re talking about like blood sugar control for people with diabetes and things like that. Oh yeah. That’s where the money’s at. Yeah. You can fix diabetes and obesity and Yeah.

So it’s certainly been studied that way, but like I said, Herbs present a challenge to fit into that clinical framework, but there have been some promising, promising studies for sure. Now, the real question, like why we’re here today is does this help you make. Right. Yeah. That’s why everyone is tuned in.

Does it help you make milk or does it ruin your milk supply? Yeah. Sorry to take so long to get there. I do wanna mention what the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine says since we talk about them a lot and lacked med because they really. I think they’ve done a good job at summarizing this in a way that y’all will be thinking about it.

So APM does include fenugreek on their like galacto go protocol. Of course. Like any time. And like we always say before, using Galacto, gogs including medications, right? Like dumb paradigm. Please see a lactation expert to evaluate the feeding process, your history, et cetera and basically maximize your nongo management.

Prior to adding in this stuff. And that’s what they say too. But there have actually been a number of studies that include Fendi, Greek, and they have very mixed results because some of them use it in compound with other herbs, which is how it’s traditionally used. And those tend to have good results with improving supply.

However, we can’t necessarily then say it was Fen. itself if there were like five other herbs used. Okay, wait back up because I think this is really important. . So you’re saying that most of the time in Eastern medicine, they’re not just taking one herb and being like, Here, take this. This is the magic bullet.

Just like we do in western culture with a pill, they’re kind of fully integrated into like their diet and their daily like life. It’s not the way we’re taking it. Okay. And I think that’s like a mentality of the Western culture where it’s like A plus B, equal C. Like I have low supply, I take Fen Greek.

How many times a day do I take it? Like we’re taking it like medication? Yeah. Expecting those results. And, and so here’s the thing, of course, looking at all these studies where some don’t show any difference, some show a big difference. Mostly there were no like major adverse effects. The the biggest thing that happened is some people had diarrhea cuz they took too much cuz it’s a.

Duh, . Oh, it works though. Yeah, , it’s a great lax and if you have to take quite a lot of it for that, there’s a lot of fiber and that misage really helps pass things. Same misage. One more time. Silage, . But ABM says if you’re going to use it, their protocol is to do 200 milliliters of herbal. Three times daily or up to 600 milligram capsules three times daily, taking only for one to three weeks, which I think is important with any new medication or herb that you have an amount of time after which you check in with yourself and you’re like, Do I have weird side effects?

What’s going on? And I think one of the points that they make, they’re saying to only take it for a certain amount of time because like, You kind of have to figure out like is your problem, you know, what’s your real problem? Right? This is sort of just like a Band-Aid in the way that they’re framing it.

Well, and also if you’re taking it for milk supply, for example, or like when I, I rarely prescribe regin, for example, to boost supply. Yeah. But I always check in in a week. Mm-hmm. . And the goal is not to be on it forever. So a lot of people, I will, they’ll come to me and they’ll be like, I’ve been taking Fre, or this one supplement for six months, and I’m like, Okay.

Okay. . Yeah. And, and honestly, sometimes side effects creep up on you and you stop it and you’re like, I didn’t realize I was having burning poops. Every, you know, just like, who knows what your side effect is? They’re like, Oh, be in postpartum. It’s just weird. Yeah, exactly. I did wanna mention, and ABM mentions this too, Unfortunately in the United States, we don’t have a lot of regulation around herbal supplements, particularly in capsules.

And there have just been a plethora of FDA reports of vitamin companies either just completely selling nonsense under whatever label they want. None of the things that they say are in it or in it or having totally different amounts than they claim. And it’s kind of. , and this is just not like one incidence.

There are like hundreds of reports of this. Yeah. Let me just remind you that Subway was just cited by the FDA for having no tuna fish in their tuna fish sandwiches. That’s terrible. No tuna. There was actually pork in there. Which sucks for people that don’t eat pork who were purposefully ordering the tuna to avoid pork.

So you think that subway can’t even put tuna in their tuna fish? Imagine what’s in these like little proprietary capsule blends. Yeah. And, and it’s really frustrating. So if you are getting any kind of like vitamins or capsules, the kind of very least you can do is check for national NSF certification.

It’s like a. Crest on it. It’s, it’s actually the National Sanitation Foundation, but they standardize sanitation and food safety. So that means like they’ve actually tested what’s in there for verification. I don’t know that that’s like the most we should be doing, but at least that’s one thing. And when buying loose tea, like make sure you’re buying it from.

An herbal supplier with really good reviews like Mountain Rose herbs or Pacific Botanicals, and not just whatever, Joe Schmo on Amazon.

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Go ahead and check out the link to Arrow Flow in our show notes and order your pump through them.

Heather, when you were nursing Heidi, did you get thirsty every single time? Every single time I sat down to nurse, it was like the Sahara Desert had taken up residents in my mouth. Same. And my go-to drink right now is Liquid iv. Oh, me too. Liquid IV makes your water work harder cuz it has a hydration multiplier in it.

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basically. As far as Fen Greek goes, if we’re looking at it from a Western medicine perspective, we don’t have enough evidence to say that it works. It’s considered safe generally. Sometimes it works, maybe sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s. Particularly dangerous when taken at those quantities that ABM is talking about.

Right? Kind of the worst thing that’ll happen is diarrhea. Oh, well. But there are some contraindications, right? People who should not take it. Anybody who struggles with blood sugar issues, particularly if you have hypoglycemia, which. Many people don’t have diagnosed because their insulin like resistance is all jacked up from pregnancy even in the best circumstances.

You might not be noticing that postpartum, you should not be taking this herb if that is the case. It’s not for use. If you use insulin related drugs, if you’re on any antiplatelet drugs, if you use aspirin regularly, heparin, warfarin, and you know there are possibly other herbs, you should not combine this.

Yeah. I mean, people say, Oh, herbs don’t work. And they’re like, But definitely don’t take ’em if you have any of these symptoms. And it’s like, Oh, well you can’t be in both camps. Yeah, you can’t. And, and that’s the thing. It’s, So here’s my biggest problem with this is that we have colonized to this herb and then just completely stolen it out of context and tried to shove it into a framework that it doesn’t fit into.

And then, Basically saying like either it works or it doesn’t, or don’t take it, or it’s like it, it doesn’t fit where we’re trying to put it. And I think what you’re saying there is like respect the herb and respect the culture. Here’s the thing, like galacto, gogs as we call them, which are things that boost your supply, right?

It’s particularly herbs are built into traditional postpartum nurturing activities in many cultures that we have taken them. Right, So herbal supplements would be instead included in foods used as teas put in soup broths, right? It’s not the same as using them as like a medication in the way that we understand with like capsules and dosing and very rigid.

Guidelines, You know, and a common thing we see in a lot of these eastern traditions is using fenugreek, turmeric, and ginger all together in a dish. And those are all anti-inflammatory. They’re all thought of as galacto GOs. I mean, and they taste wonderful together, . And that’s why, you know, they’re, they’ve been kind of honed that way from literally thousands of years of traditions.

People are not gonna keep doing this if it doesn’t work. But also, you know, they’re served with these really rich meals with lots of nuts and seeds and very well cooked vegetables, and easy to digest foods which are so important postpartum when all your guts have just. Been traumatized , and your whole digestive system is messed up after like suddenly not being pregnant anymore, you know?

And, and they use other things like that. We consider medicinal like coconut and fennel seeds, and asparagus root and ashwagandha and just like so many herbs and spices. And that’s the thing. A lot of our medicinal herbs are traditional spices, and that’s for a reason, right? We should be eating healing foods every day.

So here’s your sign. When your mom asks you what she can do for you postpartum, , you tell her, You can make me some of these nice, traditional, wonderful dishes that are supposed to support digestion and milk supply early on. And I, and I think that is the key that we should be latching onto, right? What we’ve done instead.

In this like, or we, you know, like Western Medicine, I don’t know. Whoever decided to do this, it, it just feels like they’ve latched onto one thing as the miracle lactation boost. Well, just ignoring the whole philosophy and basically not seeing the problem is that we are disrespecting the postpartum period.

Yeah. And we are trying to. Into this system that’s already broken, where people are too busy postpartum, where it’s like, well, we need venue Greek available in a capsule three times a day because she barely even has time to eat, much less, make herself a traditional meal full of spices. And it’s like, wait, this is a system problem.

This is just like, I’m pretty sure I need to be on medication. But also like for yeah, anxiety, but also I feel like also, It’s more of like a lifestyle problem. You know, I should probably just take away something off my plate instead of medicating myself. Well, and it feels like by, you know, just trying to give us more band-aids, right?

That’s what I see these as. Yeah. Like, you know, all of the like liquid gold and lactation boost and mother’s milks, like, I feel like those are Band-Aids to enable. The complete disrespect of women and the complete disrespect of the postpartum, and just like to put us back as cogs in a machine as soon as possible.

And what we should be doing instead is giving people full maternal leave and giving their family the opportunity to take care of them and feed them and nourish them and let them establish physiological. Feeding. Yeah. And how about the fact that the boomers won’t retire and be grandparents to actually help you?

You know, and because they’re still stuck in the system. Because not only do they need us to be cogs in the machine, they need us to be in there until we’re dead. So like you don’t even have grandma available to help with the siblings and the childcare anymore. Did you see that on TikTok, how there’s like this whole thing going around about how boomers are the worst grandparents of any generation ever?

They are . Kinda like, Well you said it . Yeah, it’s cuz they’re too busy. Yeah. It’s, I don’t know, but I, I realize that that doesn’t give you guys out there like an actionable thing to do from here where like there’s a systemic problem. Okay. I had to say it. There is, So here is what I think you should be doing with FNA Greek and many other herbal GL Togo.

you should be incorporating them into your normal nourishment throughout the day if possible. Instead of using things like capsules and tinctures, you learn how to use them as spices. Learn how to use them properly as teas. and try to do that. Like if you cook one meal a week with your family and that’s it.

Okay. But maybe learn how to make a curry that uses fig Greek and turmeric and ginger and coconut. It’s not very hard. Mm-hmm. , it’s actually quite easy to make a, you know, like a very simple curry dish. You know, Learn how to make yourself like a doll with lentils. They’re so nourishing. A doll, doll is the dish.

D a h l. Okay. Yeah. Learn how to make yourself that it’s, it takes 20 minutes, you know? They’re actually quite simple dishes and they’re not as intimidating, I think, as a lot of us feel like they are because we’re like, Oh no, it’s Indian cuisine. Yeah. But it’s like, look at the recipe. Mm-hmm. , even if you don’t have all the ingredients, like, okay, no big deal.

Yes, we have. It’s okay. Yeah, I would love that. That sounds delicious. And it feels like a reward after doing something really hard where it’s like, Ooh, you get this like really wonderful, beautiful, rich and spiced dish. Mm-hmm. for like all your hard work and dedication. And also for those of you like me, who during pregnancy.

Could not eat a full meal. Right. Because it wouldn’t fit inside your body. So you were basically just permanently hungry. Yeah. And crabby all the time. And then you’d throw it up anyway. Yep. After you’re done being pregnant. It’d be kind of nice to have that like restorative meal Yeah. Going on. And so I think if you’re listening pregnant right now, build this into your postpartum plan.

You know? Don’t like this. Yeah. Freezer meals. Well, I did have a question though. So we talked about side effects in mom, but what I’ve heard circulating. Through the lactation community Sure. Is that Fen Greek, especially for NICU babies, can cause GI upset in infants. So L Med said that there were no serious adverse effects reported in the studies that they looked at For infants.

Yeah. Is it possible it could cause tummy upset? Absolutely. Also, NICU babies, who the heck knows what’s causing what. I do know that when I was donating milk, they asked about herbal supplements, and I was like, Okay, but what are you really asking? And they were like, Basically, are you taking Fen Greek because we don’t feel like it’s safe for preemies?

And I was like, Okay, I’m not taking it. Why I, And it’s probably out of an abundance of caution sugar. Like are they same? It could be an insulin issue. And you know, we do know . Sometimes things come through milk and we don’t have particularly good studies. Unlike can we find the amino acids and, you know, the saponins and the antioxidants and all that stuff.

These active constituents from F Greek, like we, I don’t think we’ve analyzed breast milk to see how much comes. Cool. I’d like to do that in a study. Yeah. PhDs write it down. Does it make your breast milk smell like maple syrup? Okay, so here’s one of the problems. I haven’t heard that. It can make your breast milk smell like maple syrup, but it makes your sweat and your urine smell like maple syrup when you take too much and has caused misdiagnosis of maple syrup urine.

What? Yeah, What is maple syrup? Urine disease. A disease where that is the keynote symptom that your P smells like maple syrup. Isn’t that I don’t actually Diabetes where back in the day the diagnosis for diabetes was just dipping your finger in someone’s urine and licking it to see if it was sweet. I mean Hold on, let me look it up quick.

Okay. Maple syrup, urine disease, M S U D is a rare but serious inherited condition. That means the body cannot process certain amino acids causing a harmful buildup of substances in the blood and urine that makes could worse peace smell like maple syrup. So it’s definitely caused like people to go through a bunch of testing and see doctors, and then at the end of it they’re like, Are you taking Fen, Greek

Oh my gosh. And they’re like, Oh yeah, I’m lactating. I’m taking 2000 milligrams a day. Like, and, and that’s something that I really wanna caution you against, is. If you are one of those folks who feels like you are reliant on Galactic GOs, look at the ingredients and add up how much of each different herb or whatever vitamin is in there to make sure that you’re at an acceptable daily level, like the tea you’re using and the supplements and the tinctures and the cookies and like if you’re adding it into your meals, because you can easily take too much of any medication, any.

When you’re, when it’s in every single thing you’re consuming. I, I mean, my conclusion to this is that you should treat self-care as a necessity and a responsibility rather than a luxury. You should nourish your body in the postpartum. Possibly using Fre and that you should see that as a way to honor a tradition from another culture rather than appropriating something from another culture in, in a way that’s disrespectful.

I can’t argue with any of that . I think it sounds wonderful. And also don’t do it alone. It sounds like the, you know, if you feel like you need venue Greek for supply, you should probably be working with a lactation professional. Yep. Because it’s not a long term solution. It’s really not. And how about, is there anything that you saw that was like, if you do it in the first two weeks of life, it’s better than.

Yes, absolutely. So in studies, the, one of the few things that I don’t know, like the websites felt comfortable asserting is that it seems like it was more effective to use within the first two weeks. Okay. And that’s also probably when it passes through the milk the most because you have more gaps in your lac ofcy where things can actually filter through a lot easier.

Yeah. Which also makes sense. Like that, I don’t know, that’s the time where your body is at, just like a complete nutrient deficit. Yeah, you know, you just had a whole baby. You bled a bunch more than you’re used to bleeding, you lost a bunch of fluids. Otherwise, like your digestive system is not quite up to the task.

Because your whole metabolism is shifting now from growing a baby through your uterus to growing it through your boobs instead. So that would make sense then that interventions nutritionally done in the first two weeks would have a greater impact. Yeah. But guess. We’re not doing Galactic GOs in the first two weeks in Western culture.

Yeah, because we’re, It’s probably too soon to call like a real supply issue. We’re just gonna work towards. You know, pumping more, solving the actual problem at the breast. I would venture to say most people do not start galactic GOs until like four weeks out. Six to eight weeks. Six to eight weeks. When they go back to work, right?

They go back to work and they, they start to realize, Oh crap. You know, like, I don’t have enough in my freezer or something like that. And then they start where it’s like, Actually, they’re not even thinking about it in other cultures most of the time because it’s just built in. Right. And I, and I think the thing that I see most often is people come to me asking about this when they’ve already been back at work for about a week and they are blowing through their freezer stash and they’re like, I see the end in sight and I don’t know what to do.

Whereas if we take these goc, degos, these healing herbs, and we reframe our notion of them. A fix to a problem. Instead, we take that and we just like do, do, do, take it over here and we turn it into like a nourishing tradition, right? A part of our food instead. That makes a lot more sense than to do in the first two weeks.

We need a postpartum meal. Galactic dog rich service that is like a month long. You know, a lot, a lot of people who live in cities in the United States can probably find this particularly through the AUR Veic tradition. There are like services that do that for people. So like postpartum doulas, who will do that?

If, you know, if there’s an Indian community nearby you, you might be able to find, or like a Tibetan community or something in. Subcontinent you know, cuz people who move here wanna keep those traditions alive. , Do we not have any naturally occurring galactic GOs in the United States? We have so many, but, But why are we all obsessed with venue Greek?

I wanna know how it, We have obliterated our indigenous cultures. Oh, right. With genocide. Yeah. So they have lost. A lot of that knowledge. And then like for the surviving people, what do we do? We put them in residential schools to like beat their culture out of them, literally. So, you know, our wonderful, vibrant, amazing indigenous cultures with their indigenous scientists, right?

They have scientists. They’re, we don’t, we’re not the only people who have scientists. They’re trying to reclaim and rediscover their own cultural knowledge. . Yeah. Yeah. That’s a hard truth. It really is a hard truth, and I do just wonder how Fen Greek became such a buzzword for milk supply. You know, it’s like a marketing trick that happened at some point.

I feel like there’s a couple of studies that really make it out, like to seem like a very successful tactic. And I feel like probably some manufacturer was just like, This one. Yeah, let’s pick this one cuz it’s cheap and we can exploit the people who grow it or something. You know, like, Right. Yeah. . Anyway.

Well, there’s a common theme here. Everyone in our, I think, you know, if you do something long enough, you find a common thread, and I think we’re, I don’t know how many episodes we’re in 130 or something like that. I think by now we’ve started to realize that a lot of. Lactation issues stem from cultural.

Deficits mm-hmm. that we’ve either inflicted upon ourselves and others, or that we just cannot fix ourselves because of system problems. Yep. And you know, the more we keep talking about it and the more we find these underlying issues in all of the topics that we pick, and the more aware we are. The more we can change.

Absolutely. And I don’t want anybody to leave this episode feeling hopeless. I want you to leave this episode feeling like there are things you can do to support your health and your lactation, right? You can nourish yourself in ways that have been tested for thousands of years and you deserve it. You deserve a hot, delicious meal that heals your body.

Oh my gosh. Am now craving. I know some, maybe we need to go to Star of India for lunch. I, we might lunch. Actually, we’re gonna do it because I did not pack a lunch today, and I knew you wouldn’t mind because as I was leaving the house, I was like, I just can’t serve any more people right now, and I can’t even pack a Turkey sandwich.

So I’ll buy you lunch. Oh my God. Thank you, . All right, we’re gonna do it. So you guys go do it. But first let’s take a little. Break to thank our sponsors. Absolutely. And then stick around. We are going to give an award to our new patron, Charlotte Tea. Yay.

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Welcome back everybody. It’s time for our award in the alcove. Yes, this is one of my favorite parts of every episode. Today we are giving our award to Charlotte T and Charlotte says, My recent win would be getting my eight month old son a prolific contact lap napper into his own bedroom and night weaning with very little drama.

We waited until we felt he was ready and it was very timely. As I’ve just started back to work full time, I’m lucky enough to work from home with my baby, with help from my amazing mom, which is kind of like having two jobs at once, but I wouldn’t have it any other. My original breastfeeding goal after a slightly rocky start in the NICU was only a few months, but here we are at eight months, still going strong, and I really do owe a lot of that to your podcast.

I swear your content is even more informative than any of the lcs I’ve seen in person. Haha, thanks again,

Thanks, Charlotte. Well also, also, you know, it’s available at 2:00 AM so it feels a lot more helpful. No one, I’m, I’m happy help, but I’m always like, Oh God. Are we better than the in-person help? I think the answer is all of it. Yes. The answer is never one or the other. It’s always all of it. But I think we should give Charlotte the double time debutante award.

Oh, that’s cute. You know anyone that is working from home full-time and breastfeeding their baby at home. Full time and you’re doing, and you’re crushing it by the way, you know, you might not be every single day amazing at work or amazing at, you know, taking care of your kid, but it’s like a pendulum. You know, I had someone ask me the other day, How do you have this work life balance with your family and running a business?

And I was like, Oh no, there’s no balance. It’s just a pendulum that swings one way and you’re really good at one thing one day, and the next day it swings over here and on Sunday you do 15 loads of laundry cuz you can’t do it all week long and you just live like this back and forth. You know, in the spirit of embracing Eastern.

Medicinal traditions. Let’s all strive for a little more balance in our lives and in our bodies, and some grace for ourselves. When the pendulum swings too far one way and the other side gets a little bit neglected. , absolutely. Well thank you guys so much for listening to another episode of the Milk Minute podcast.

The way we change this big system that is not set up for lactating parents, especially in the immediate postpartum, is to educate ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, family, healthcare providers, anyone that’s involved in lactation. And if you guys really liked this episode today or any other we’ve ever made, we would love your support.

You can tell a friend about the podcast or you like Charlotte can join our Patreon. You can support us and you can get top priority for awards, shout outs, things like that. And you can always leave us a review on Apple cuz we read every single one of them and we love them so much. Oh yes, we love those.

Okay, well thank you guys so much and we’ll see you next time.


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