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Can You Eat Certain Foods to Decrease Breast Milk?

author image Michelle Fisk
Michelle Fisk began writing professionally in 2011. She has been published in the "Physician and Sports Medicine Journal." Her expertise lies in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition. Fisk holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Marywood University.
Can You Eat Certain Foods to Decrease Breast Milk?
You can naturally reduce your milk supply and ease the discomfort of hyperlactation or weaning. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Some moms produce more breast milk than their baby needs, which is called hyperlactation. Hyperlactation can be uncomfortable for you, causing engorged breasts, plugged milk ducts and even mastitis. It can also lead to feeding problems for your baby and either low or high weight gain. If you have an overabundance of milk, or you are starting to wean your little one from the breast, speak to your physician or a lactation consultant, but consider eating certain foods and herbs to help decrease your milk supply.

Sage as a Seasoning

The natural estrogen in sage may be helpful in reducing your milk supply. KellyMom.com recommends 1/4 teaspoon of this herb three times a day for one to three days. Blend it with vegetable juice or sprinkle it on a sandwich. Sage pairs nicely with chicken, lamb, pork and eggs. Mix it in with butter or olive oil and use it as a sauce over ravioli, or roast butternut squash on top of sage leaves. Drink sage tea by mixing 1 tablespoon of sage into 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep and drink the tea two to six times daily. Sage can work quickly to reduce your supply, so be cautious if you are not intending to wean yet.

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Parsley and Tabbouleh

According to Dr. Sears, most 6-month-old babies drink 1 quart of breast milk a day, and 90 percent of that milk is water. Parsley is a diuretic, so it may help decrease your breast milk by decreasing the amount of water in your body. Using small amounts of fresh parsley shouldn’t make a difference, but dishes full of it, such as tabbouleh, can decrease your supply. Tabbouleh is made from bulgur wheat, lemon, fresh mint, parsley, cucumbers and tomatoes. You can also replace basil with parsley for pesto sauces to get more of this herb and decrease your breast milk.

Peppermint Oil and Candies

Forest Lane Pediatrics in Dallas recommends peppermint candies to reduce your milk supply. The peppermint oil in candies such as Altoids and York Peppermint Patties may interfere with lactation. Kellymom.com reports mothers have successfully used these candies to decrease their milk, but La Leche League states you would have to eat strong peppermint candies in large amounts on a regular basis to affect your supply. You can try sipping on peppermint tea, but it’s not as potent, and you would need to drink quarts of it daily to see any results.

Cabbage Leaves

Cabbage leaves have been used for centuries to reduce breast milk, but not by eating them. Wash the cabbage leaves, chill them and place them on your breasts. If you need to reduce your supply due to engorgement, leave the leaves on 20 minutes three times daily. If you are weaning, leave the cabbage on until the leaves wilt and then change the leaves until you feel more comfortable. A study published in 2014 in the Indian Journal of Public Health showed cabbage leaves to be an effective treatment for breast engorgement.

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