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Milk Thistle and Breastfeeding

Due to the unknown risks of milk thistle, breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare provider before taking this supplement while nursing a child. Although there is almost nothing known about the safety of using milk thistle while breastfeeding, it is thought that this herb may affect the quantity and quality of breast milk because it may have estrogen-like properties.

An Overview of Milk Thistle and Breastfeeding

Milk thistle is an herbal supplement often recommended for increasing breast milk supply. However, no reliable scientific studies have demonstrated that it is safe (or even if it really works to increase milk supply).

Is Milk Thistle Safe While Breastfeeding?

It is not known if milk thistle supplements are safe (or unsafe) for women who are breastfeeding. No studies have evaluated the safety of milk thistle for use during breastfeeding. Similarly, no studies have evaluated the effectiveness of milk thistle for increasing breast milk supply in humans.
Although this herbal supplement has been traditionally used as a galactalogue (a substance to stimulate breast milk production), theoretically, milk thistle might actually have a negative effect on the quantity and quality of breast milk. Milk thistle may have estrogenic (estrogen-like) properties, which might interfere with the normal production of breast milk.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Milk Thistle and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about milk thistle and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about milk thistle and breastfeeding that is right for you.
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Milk Thistle Supplement Information

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