Nausea When Breastfeeding: Causes, Treatment and Home Remedies

Nausea is an unpleasant sensation that may cause a strong urge to vomit. While it is common during pregnancy, some women may also experience nausea during breastfeeding (1). Nausea after childbirth may be related to lactation, but it may not be as common during pregnancy.

Read this post as we bring information about home remedies, medications, causes, and tips to prevent nausea during breastfeeding.

Does Breastfeeding Make You Nauseous?

Breastfeeding does not directly cause nausea. But various factors associated with breastfeeding or milk letdown might trigger the condition in some women. For instance, lifestyle changes and hormonal changes could cause nausea. We will give you more details about the reasons, later in the post.

Home Remedies For Nausea In Nursing Mothers

The following natural remedies are traditionally used, while their efficacy is mostly anecdotal.

1. Ginger tea

Ginger tea might help reduce nausea when breastfeeding

Ginger tea might be helpful in reducing nausea. Moreover, ginger is also a proven “galactagogue,” which means it helps increase breast milk production (2). Above all, ginger may benefit overall maternal health, which might also play a role in alleviating nausea. 

2. Peppermint tea

Some women find peppermint tea refreshing. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes peppermint tea as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). However, consuming an excess of peppermint tea could exacerbate nausea and may lead to heartburn and vomiting (3).

3. Aroma oils

Anecdotal evidenceiXThe evidence based on individual experiences and observations. suggests that smelling some aroma oils like those made from lemon, spearmint, cardamom, etc., might help in relieving nausea. It is suggested to use them in moderation and keep at a safe distance from the baby to avoid accidental ingestion.

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4. Others

  • Sucking on a slice of lemon.
  • Having instant carbs such as a rusk or toast.
  • Consuming water during breastfeeding helps relieve most of the gastric distress and complaints. You can either have it plain, boiled or infused with cucumber, mint leaves, lemon, etc.

Consult your doctor or a lactation consultant before using these home remedies. Stop using them if you find any reduction or alteration in breast milk production or if you notice any effects on the baby.

Can You Take Medicines For Nausea When Breastfeeding?

Domperidone and metoclopramide are usually prescribed for nausea

Never self-medicate, but consult a doctor if your condition doesn’t improve. Doctors usually prescribe domperidoneiXMedication used to treat nausea and vomiting and allows the food move easily through the stomach. and metoclopramideiXMedication used to treat stomach and intestinal issues. as they are considered safe and are not known to adversely affect the breastfed infant. However, they should be used for a short time and only on a doctor’s prescription. Monitor the nursing infant for a few hours after taking medicine to see if there are any adverse effects such as drowsiness, etc. (4).

What Causes Nausea When Breastfeeding?

Here are some possible reasons for feeling nauseous when breastfeeding:

1. Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a hormone that signals the mother’s breast to release milk, and the phenomenon is known as “milk let-down” or “milk-ejection reflex.” The hormone can lead to certain changes in a mother’s body, with nausea being one of them (5).

2. Dehydration

Dehydration can happen in nursing mothers because of the loss of fluid during breastfeeding. It might lead to nausea (6).

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3. Hunger

On average, a breastfeeding mother needs 400 to 500 extra calories a day (7). Insufficient diet to meet the extra demand for calories can lead to hunger. An empty stomach makes you feel nauseous. Hunger can also increase the risk of acid reflux, which might lead to heartburn and nausea.

4. Fatigue

New mothers often have insufficient sleep and experience fatigue. These conditions might add up to the other triggers to make you feel nauseous.

5. Increased demand for milk

Increase in breast milk production further alters the hormones

As the baby grows, their requirement for breastmilk increases. The increase in breast milk supply and production can further alter the hormones, thus increasing the chances of nausea.

6. Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is a common but serious health concern that affects several mothers. According to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, 13.2% of women reported experiencing postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS) in 2018.
For those with symptoms, the doctor might prescribe antidepressants to mothers experiencing post-natal depression. These medicines are safe for the baby but might cause nausea as a side effect (8).

7. Pregnancy

If nausea and vomiting continue even for several weeks or months after delivery, then take a pregnancy test. Nausea might occur due to a new pregnancy. Although most women experience nausea in pregnancy, it worsens when you are both pregnant and breastfeeding (9).

8. Low blood sugar

New mothers may sometimes forget to look after themselves after having a baby and might not get the necessary nutrition. If you’re not eating right and at the right time during this period, your blood sugar levels could drop, leading to nausea. So, it’s crucial to pay attention to your diet while breastfeeding to make sure you and your baby get the proper nutrition. If you’ve been forgetting to eat, consider making some changes in your routine. You can seek help from friends and family so you can also focus on yourself.

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Tips To Prevent Nausea When You Are Breastfeeding

The following tips might help you prevent nausea when you are breastfeeding.

1. Have sips of water through your breastfeeding session. You may also drink homemade sugar-free fresh juices, soups, broths, etc., to keep yourself hydrated.

2. Keep some munchies like crackers, dried fruits, etc., handy to munch on them when you are hungry.

3. Eat wholesome and nutritious food. Avoid junk food, greasy, fatty, and spicy food, as it can lead to gastric distress and issues, such as gastroesophageal refluxiXA condition where stomach acids flow back into the food pipe. and nausea, and dyspepsia.

4. Take rest whenever you can. Sleep when the baby sleeps and seek help from family and friends.

5. Nausea during breastfeeding can also be managed like you would have managed nausea during pregnancy. Avoid the things that trigger nausea.

Avoid things that trigger nausea when breastfeeding

Just when you think you are liberated from the symptoms of morning sickness of pregnancy, you may be taken aback when you experience nausea when breastfeeding. Although it is uncommon, some women may have nausea after delivery while nursing their infant. Changes in your routine or hormones could be to blame for this. However, you may easily manage this condition with some home care tips and precautions. If you are concerned about nausea while breastfeeding, you may consult a doctor or speak to a lactation consultant to determine the causes and treatment options.

Key Pointers

  • Hormonal changes, dehydration, lack of a good diet, and fatigue can cause nausea in breastfeeding mothers.
  • Having ginger or peppermint tea, sucking on a lemon, drinking plenty of water, and sniffing aromatic oils can relieve nausea.
  • Munching on crackers or nuts ensures that you’re not feeding your baby on an empty stomach, which can also cause nausea.
  • Home-made fresh juices and proper rest and sleep can help alleviate nausea.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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