Breast-feeding newborns and infants provides optimal nutrition, immune support, and many lifelong health benefits to mothers and children. However, some women, particularly in low-income settings, experience social, psychological, and physiological difficulties that impact breast-feeding.
In the latest issue of the Ochsner Journal, Bazzano and colleagues explore the persistent barriers to breast-feeding as well as potential treatments in a detailed review of the literature.
Current trends in maternal health, such as increasing rates of obesity, delayed age at childbearing, and high rates of cesarean section, may result in physiological challenges for breast-feeding that cannot be managed by counseling alone. Several types of galactagogues—pharmaceutical and herbal compounds used to increase lactation—have been studied as potential treatments for insufficient lactation.
The authors conclude that although women’s interest in agents that promote breast-feeding is evident (Figure), not enough information is available for clinicians and patients to make informed decisions on the use of galactagogues to promote breast-feeding. Click here for more about the potential benefits and limitations of the available galactagogues.
Figure. Google Trends analysis: relative popularity of the search term “increase breast milk” worldwide.