Breastfeeding Remedies

| Modified: Jul 24, 2018
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Treating nursing issues naturally is safest for a nursing baby and mother. Several topical applications as well as internal supplements effectively treat breastfeeding issues. Anise seed tea, apple cider vinegar and cabbage wraps are three of the most common treatments for issues with breastfeeding.

What are Nursing Issues?

Nursing or breastfeeding is often considered the most natural and healthiest choice for babies. The process involves the act of feeding the infant by way of milk naturally produced in the mother’s breast. However, nursing can sometimes cause issues for the mother and baby. Common nursing issues include latching pain, cracked or irritated nipples, clogged or plugged milk ducts, engorgement, mastitis and high or low milk supply.

Natural Remedies for Nursing Mothers

Breastfeeding issues can be uncomfortable at the very least and required intentional treatment. Natural options including anise seed tea, apple cider vinegar and cabbage wraps as well as others offer fast relief without any harm to the nursing mother baby. Breast milk can also be used as a remedy for many nursing issues.

Anise Seed Tea

Anise seed tea contains an important spice compound anise. Anise seeds contain anethole, which is a phytoestrogen that aids in boosting milk supply. This supply boost often helps treat issues of clogged ducts as well as other problems in the milk glands by maintaining a constant flow of milk.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat a number of breastfeeding issues. Diluted apple cider vinegar taken orally or applied topically eliminates infection. Apple cider vinegar also offers an added energy boost.

Cabbage Wraps

Cabbage wraps offer nursing mothers relief from engorgement and clogged ducts. Cabbage has a high sulphur content which is a known remedy for inflammation and swelling. Leaves may be chilled and applied directly to the breast to relieve engorgement as well as oversupply.

Breastfeeding is a natural process but one that is not without its issues and difficulties. Many new mothers experience breast pain, tenderness, inflammation and other problems associated with nursing. Natural treatment methods, however, afford mother and baby a safe, happy and healthy breastfeeding experience.

Anise Seed Tea

Posted by Brigitte (Houston, Texas) on 01/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

re: anise seed tincture for treatment of nonproductive coughs. A nonproductive cough is another name for a dry cough which does nothing to move phlem from the throat and lumgs. This is often a precursor to a more serious ailment like pneumonia. It is of the utmost importance that you remove the excessive phlem from your system. I have found that the best expectorant that I can find is made by placing five tablespoons anise seeds into 1 cup of rum. I take no more than 2 teaspoons of this as needed to induce a cough which allows for the mucus to be removed from the body.

A note to nursing mothers who have problems with milk production; a good side affect of anise is that it increases milk production in lactating mothers. I know this for a fact as my last child was born when I was 40 and I had problems producing milk sufficient to meet my child's needs. Be cognisant of the fact that you do not want to over do it with alcohol if you are nursing as this would be counter productive to the health and well being of the child who depends on you for nourishment. I used an anise tea when I was nursing it works well for increasing milk production.

Replied by Margaret

Where can I get the anise seed tea

Posted by Brigitte (Houston, Texas) on 01/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

To increase milk production drink anise tea. It really works to increase milk supply for lactating mothers.

Antibiotic Use While Breastfeeding

Posted by Rachel (Maryland) on 09/12/2013

Recently I developed a UTI which became a bladder infection. I was prescribed an antibiotic, which I hate to use. I would like to replace the good bacteria that was lost, so I am considering a probiotic. Is there any reason I should be cautious using one while Breast Feeding?

I also believe I may have a fungal infection on my feet, toes and shins. I have read about ACV and coconut oil. Again, is there anything I should know about starting a regimen while breastfeeding? Would a foot soak be better then taking it internally?

Thank you so much. Your site is wonderful!

Replied by Mama To Many
Tennessee, Usa

Hi Rachel,

I have used ACV, Coconut Oil and probiotics while breastfeeding. Personally, I think they are all safe to use internally. I have never seen any ill effect from them for myself or baby while breastfeeding.

As far as the fungal infection on your legs/feet, it might help the most to treat internally and externally, especially if it is causing discomfort.

~Mama to Many~

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Casey (Norwalk, Ohio) on 01/31/2010
1 out of 5 stars

Apple Cider Vinegar and Breastfeeding

I breastfeed my son, and he was 8 months old when I started taking the apple cider vinegar for joint pain. At his age, nothing I ate or drank bothered his stomach, but when I was taking the apple cider vinegar he had frequent stomach aches, was very fussy, and would go days without bowel movements when he normally would have one twice a day. I would definately not suggest drinking apple cider vinegar if you're a breastfeeding mother.

Posted by Danielle (Everett, WA) on 02/18/2009

I was looking on your site to see if there were any dangers of using ACV while breastfeeding and I see that there are three others with the same question, but couldn't find any answers. I am not having any trouble breastfeeding my 7 month old. My mother in law just started using the daily ACV dose and looks and feels great and has more energy and has not gotten sick this year (she is a grade school teacher). I want to do the same, but want to make sure there will be no problems for my baby or my milk production.

EC: We've been searching the net and this is the typical response to your question:

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Not recommended due to lack of sufficient data.

However, here is one response from (

"When I had some problems with plugged ducts in the early weeks of dd's life, I came here and read some of the threads looking for suggestions. Someone suggested apple cider vinegar in order to prevent plugged ducts/mastitis. I did a search on google and found out that it can be used to prevent mastitis. I've been taking a tbsp daily with a little honey and some cold water. I use Bragg - organic apple cider vinegar. You should not have any problems, in fact it will probably be good for you. That's just my 2 cents


Replied by Earth Clinic
5 out of 5 stars

UPDATE: We decided to email the _____ company this afternoon to see if they could answer the question as to if apple cider vinegar is safe for pregnant or nursing women.

John Westerdahl, PhD, MPH, RD and director of the _____ Health Foundation emailed us back, "_____ Apple Cider vinegar is safe to consume for pregnant and lactating women."

Good to know.. FINALLY!

Posted by Vanessa (Denver, CO, USA) on 01/11/2009

Please if anybody has any information about taking ACV for weightloss and the side effects it has on breastfeeding, if any, let me know. I was just wondering if there was any reason why I shouldnt be taking it while breastfeeding. Thank you.

Posted by Leticia (Houston, Texas) on 01/08/2009

Does taking Apple Cider Vinegar affect anything having to do with nursing? My niece has acid reflux and I want to recommend this to her because ACV has helped me so much...can someone shed some light? will it affect an infant thru her milk? If so, what are the side effects?

Replied by Maggie
Springfield, Il
5 out of 5 stars

I took ACV (organic) all through my last pregnancy and while nursing with no problems at all. Helped a lot with the problems of constipation during pregnancy. I also took unsulpherated blackstrap molasses and never needed iron sups (I needed them for my first kids). And oh yes....I had my last when I was 47, am still nursing at 48 1/2 and she is perfectly healthy and I feel great. In fact, I can eat anything (healthy of course) and it doesn't bother her. A very happy baby!

Posted by Aline (Chico, CA) on 01/05/2009

I've been drinking the cleansing dosage of water and ACV and like it very much, but I just heard that, while breastfeeding, I shouldn't drink it. Could it harm my 17 months old son? Is it OK to do a "light" cleansing like this at all? Thanks!!

Replied by Sammy
Johannesburg, South Africa

I have a 3 month old baby and would like to find out if its safe to drink apple cider vinegar. During the day am at work, hence only breastfeed him in the evening, was thinking I drink it in the morning.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sammy,

I put Apple Cider Vinegar in my water every day during my last pregnancy and the entire time I was nursing that baby. I probably used up to 2 T. a day. When my baby was able to drink from my cup he would take sips of my vinegar water, too! :)

I have never heard of Apple Cider Vinegar being a problem for breastfeeding moms.

~Mama to Many~

Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic

Posted by Freeha (Ferwania, Kuwait) on 03/24/2009

Hi, I am lactation women and i want to know about apple cider vinegar/honey and garlic mix,,,i am using applecider vinegar/honey and garlic mix three times a day and two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and lime mix in 16oz water and sip all day long for weight loose,,,,so need to know that can i do this during lactation becouse i ahve 8 months old baby ,,,can i use only ACV and lime without baking soda for weight lose during lactation? if the toxins are released to drink all these things then will it harmfull for my baby,,,,If the toxins are entre to baby so what can be heppen ,,is that so danger and what the symptoms if and how do i know that the toxins enter to my babay,, thanks but waiting your feedback,

Breast Milk

Posted by Shirley (Springfield, Missouri) on 06/20/2008
5 out of 5 stars

When you are breastfeeding your newborn and are sore and chapped, try expressing the breast milk, rubbing it into the nipple area, and letting it air dry. When I first start nursing a new baby, I do this 2-3 times a day. It works extremely well! Lanolin cream is great when you need a barrier, but your own breast milk actually heals the soreness. I actually learned this one from my doctor.

My mom taught me that squirting breast milk in your infant's nose is helpful when they are congested.

Replied by Mesem
Toulon, France

For some support and humour go to Utube and enter 'Phyllis Diller Breast Feeding'. This lady was really onto it. Despite her humour to the contrary she was a natural mother and great home maker. Here in France I think you might get put away for being so pro-mothering.

Breast Milk Cures

Posted by Michelle (Regina, Sask., Canada) on 01/06/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Breast milk makes your skin appear younger, remove acne scars and wrinkles. I nurse my daughter and collected a couple drops of breast milk in my hand and put on my face. I leave the breast milk on my face. You can see the results in minutes. The first time I did it, my older daughter asked what I did because she said that I looked so young. Now when I leave the house I put a thin layer of fresh breast milk on my face but I make sure it is only a little bit, all over my face, otherwise the breast milk runs and gets dry and white,then I have to wash and reapply. I have read that breast milk is good for ear infections in babies and I tried it out on my daughter a couple times, I just squirted some breast milk in her ears a couple times a day within a couple of days cleared up. I did want to wean my daughter off but want to try to freeze the breast milk in little ice cubes trays, then use the iced breast milk on my face.


Posted by Audrey (Rocklin, CA) on 04/02/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I breast fed all my children. However, one of my babies was babysat for just 3 hours while I looked for a new home. My sister-in-law unfamiliar with breast feeding or the allergic dangers of cows milk on a 6 month old, fed my son a bottle of cow milk. My infant son went into pneumonia. He (we) suffered for 3 weeks and were at the brink of putting him in Children's Hospital. He cried all night, all day and I had to pump my breast because he could not breathe and suck at the same time. The doctor said his lungs were damaged.

The doctor told me that he would probably have weakened lungs and allergies when he got older. Exactly as predicted, my son has terrible allergies, sinus infections and occasionally pneumonia throughout his life (he is 28 now). My three other breast fed children did not have milk products introduced until 2 years old. They experience NO allergies or problems with milk products.

Infants were meant to grow on breast milk NOT prepared cows milk! I have seen this same scenario played out in families for years young and elderly friends will tell of similar incidents where they as infants were given cows milk formula or straight cows milk and led lives miserable because of early ingestion of cows milk.

Just one bottle in spite of breast feeding causes my son years of miserable respiratory illness! Breasts are meant to nourish infants, even animals know that! If breast milk without introducing milk products too early can prevent a life time of illness, why aren't young moms told by doctor's and nurses the complications that their children will bear?

My mom (born in 1912) saw in her generation (1920-30's) artificial milk in baby bottles introduced in the commercialized hospital. Babies were brought up on formula and often watered down formula were weak and sick all the time. She braved being labeled having "a third world" mentality (used to bully the new mom into a formula customer). Breast feeding nourishes the whole infant and prepares the digestive system as well as being the BEST first food that is the best preventative against allergies, sinus infections and digestive ailments for life!

A little time out of a mother's life can benefit the child and the mother from the beneficial hormones.

She also braved having a child at 39 in 1952, me! I learned from this old gal who used common horse sense and, yes, she also used good old fashioned organic apple juice to cure many ills.


Posted by Ann (Paris, France) on 06/24/2009
5 out of 5 stars

A few years ago, my daughter having had her baby and having chosen to breast feed her, began getting "knots" in her breasts. Apparently the baby was not drinking enough milk to have a smooth flow and the milk was causing congestion in the ducts. The result was very hard and painful swollen breasts.

I believe this is a situation that many nursing mothers face. We tried using fresh cabbage leaves and it worked miracles! Just take the individual leaves, dip in boiling water for a couple of minutes to soften; let cool till warm and wrap the breasts in 2 or 3 layers of leaves. Cover with a warm damp towel and leave for an hour or so, then repeat until the breasts have become supple once again.

Try it, it works! Cabbage works for alot of other types of congestion and swelling and even for wounds. It's a great home remedy.

Replied by Sunnymummy
Seattle, Wa
5 out of 5 stars

Cabbage for engorgement is AWESOME! When I had my frist child I got very very engorged, to the point where my breasts were red like they had been sunburned and I could not put my arms at my sides anymore. So I put a head of green cabbage in the fridge and let it get cold. When it was cold I peeled off the largest outside leaves and put them on my breasts and then put a bra on to try to keep them against the skin. There was instant relief from the pain beacause the leaves were cold but after a few hours the swelling had reduced and I was not in excruciating pain. I only had to use this method one more time becasue my child was nursing better so the engorgment was gone but it was awsome when I needed it!

Replied by Bj
Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand
5 out of 5 stars

yes! I did not believe such a simple thing could work and suffered terribly with my two firstborn children. I finally tried it when my 3rd child was born (some many wise years later). It is like a miracle. I used it cold as above, wore one leave as a bra liner, it also helped soften my cracked (bleeding) nipples. Better than anything else.

Coconut Oil

Posted by Helena (Nashville, TN) on 05/16/2009

Nursing and Cleansing: Hi...I have a question. I would really like to do some cleansing, but I'm still nursing my 5-month-old baby. Can I use EVCO safely while nursing? Do I need to wait until I stop nursing to start anything new? Thanks for the help!

Replied by Bekah
Gresham, Or

EVCO is completely safe to use while nursing and while pregnant. There are no known allergies to EVCO and there are hundred of health benefits! Google 'health benefits of coconut oil' you'll be amazied at what you find!

Replied by Marisa
Norton, Oh
5 out of 5 stars

Coconut oil is actually good for mom and baby when she is nursing. Since it is anti- viral, -bacterial, -fungal, she may detox quickly if taken too much at one time. Start slowly, then increase slowly. It is a good immune booster for both, and the fat is good for mom's milk. Coconut oil is especially a good alternative if a mom has to exclude dairy from her diet, as she can easily replace butter in baked goods, cooking, etc.

Dandelion Tea

Posted by Jolynda (Long Beach, California, USA) on 01/19/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Our daughter is almost seven months old and she is breastfed. When I first started nursing I would get these terrible shooting pains as soon as she latched on. It hurt so bad that I almost stopped nursing her! I went to a lactation consultant and she said it was probably thrush. Then I went to my doctor and he said I had clogged ducts and that it would eventually go away as long as I continued nursing. He gave me motrin for the pain. However, the pain stayed for over two months! Then a friend of mine suggested trying dandelion leaves or even dandelion root tea. She said that dandelions will not only help with the milk supply, but it will help the milk flow through the ducts more easily. She said we would be able to find the dandelion leaves in an Asian Market, because they are not found in the regular grocery stores. I tried the dandelion leaves as a salad. It's very bitter so you have to put a lot of dressing on it. I ate this salad for a couple of days and the pain went away! I was so relieved! Then I checked online for the dandelion root tea bags (it's caffeine free). I ordered a few boxes (30 tea bags in each box) and I drink one every day! I have not had any nursing issues since! Just make sure you follow the directions on the box. I once let my tea bag sit in the hot water longer than the suggested time and after I drank it, I had a bad stomach ache! The box I ordered says to steep tea bag in a cup of no more than 6 oz. of boiling water, press the bag and remove. It's still bitter but I add 2 scoops of honey to sweeten. Good luck to all the nursing mothers out there!

Replied by Margieson
5 out of 5 stars

What happened to all moms that breastfeeding their babies and then having a problem how to cure the aches of their breast, I do recommend the Dandelion Tea to drink it is such a relief and also a good source of milk supply! When my breast got engorge every time and don't know what to do, My Sister in law bought me a pack of dandelion tea and relate to me how it works and I was amazed that engorgement went away that fast!! I ordered dandelion tea in it's easy to buy from internet than searching in different supermarket. ;)