Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Folk Remedies Offered During Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can sometimes be difficult for both mothers and babies. Using tea bags and cabbage leaves to alleviate pain or consuming oatmeal to add to your milk production are few of the natural remedies women recommend to breastfeeding mothers who seek help.

Conducting the Research

The survey’s conclusions are located at Breastfeeding Medicine.

An online questionnaire of 124 breastfeeding experts associated with various U.S. medical sites across 29 states show that 69 percent disclosed they heard of folk remedies. 65 percent endorsed one or more of these techniques.

Survey responders were requested to give examples of alternative remedies they’ve heard of, in addition to information they regularly passed to new mothers. Advice was categorized into five divisions: advice on how to increase milk production, to begin breastfeeding, to relieve pain that coincides with breastfeeding, assistance in weaning, and avoiding certain substances for the baby’s health.

Survey Results

The survey shows that particular natural remedies are hotly debated among experts, especially regarding natural remedies to boost milk production to alleviate breastfeeding related pain. They state that advocating folk remedies outside of conventional medical means is an increasingly common practice with breastfeeding consultants who advise mothers about nursing.

Over 50 percent of the breastfeeding advisors who answered the polls said they’re aware of and told others about folklore remedies designed to either boost milk production or assist with breastfeeding pains. Most respondents stated they are familiar with folklore remedies that advise staying away from particular foods to avoid infant gassiness, yet only two doctors passed on this knowledge to their patients.

Alcohol Remedies

Drinking beer to enhance milk production is a long-time tradition that was in the headlines when singer Mariah Carey was subjected to child endangerment charges for attempting it. This tradition started in the 1800s. However, studies show this method provides no increase of milk production.

Drinking alcohol has also been exhibited to decrease breast milk production. In fact, it may have negative effects on the newborn. Many cultures suggest mothers consume oatmeal to boost milk production. However, no research has been administered to observe its use.

Folk traditions which assist with breastfeeding pain were brought up, including the use of cabbage leaves, despite studies that question their effectiveness.

Tea Bags

Many breastfeeding experts suggest tea bags to assist with a mother’s sore nipples. A randomized test of breastfeeding mothers experiencing pain showed tea bags provided no extra benefits than a water compress. An inspection of studies examined treatments for sore nipples showed that there wasn’t a significant advantage to using tea bags, expressed milk or lanolin on the nipple.


The breastfeeding consultants who gave advice based on folklore compared with those who made medical recommendations didn’t have any discernible difference regarding age, experience, education, parity or socioeconomic status.

The folk traditions expressed in this questionnaire represented a specific culture in the United States, and folklore between different cultures can vary greatly. Surveys of breastfeeding consultants in different nations and different ethnicities may end up with different results.