The truth about home remedies for breastfeeding


If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ve undoubtedly heard about “Jungle Juice”. Advocates of this concoction says it can increase your breast milk supply. Registered Dietitian in private practice, Abby Courtenay, sheds some light on home remedies and looks at whether they meet the unique nutritional requirements of a breastfeeding mom.

What is Jungle Juice?

It’s a mixture of blackthorn berry elixir, rehydration solution, apple juice and homeopathic rescue remedy (some recipes also include water and/ or rooibos tea).  Jungle Juice provides you with approximately 130 calories, zero protein and 42.22g carbohydrates. The sugar content in this home remedy is a major concern, as the recipe contains large amounts of glucose, fructose, and sucrose.

Sugar is considered void of nutrients, is energy dense and contributes to unwanted weight gain. There is approximately 42g or 10.5 teaspoons of sugar in one cup of Jungle Juice. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than 10% (approximately 50g or 12 tsp) of your daily intake should come from sugar. In addition to unwanted weight gain, mothers who have diabetes shouldn’t drink Jungle Juice.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s very important to take care of yourself during this vulnerable period and to be mindful about what you eat and drink and whether it is beneficial for your baby,” says Abby.

ALSO SEE: Your ultimate breastfeeding plan

Your nutrient and energy requirements during breastfeeding are similar to when you were pregnant, so it’s vital that you consume foods and drinks that meet your increased needs and contain sufficient essential vitamins and minerals. As many moms will know, easy-to-grab foods are usually better options as you’re always busy, and you want to have a variety of food and drink choices that appeal to you from a taste perspective.

According to the South African Food Dietary Guideline, you need to eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, beans, split peas, lentils, and soya regularly. You should also eat fish, chicken, lean meat and eggs daily and drink plenty of water.

Things to do:

  • Use fats sparingly. Choose vegetable oils rather than hard fats.
  • Consume sugar, as well as food and drink that’s high in sugar sparingly.
  • Use salt, as well as foods high in salt sparingly.

If you are looking to supplement your diet, consider a complete maternal nutritional supplement that can help with the following:

For mom:

  • Helps build your immune defences.
  • Supports healthy digestion.
  • Helps reduce the risk of iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Supports improved calcium absorption.

For baby through breastfeeding:

  • Vitamin D improves calcium absorption from the gut in adults. Improved calcium absorption ensures sufficient calcium is available to support the development of your baby’s bones.
  • Provides nutrients to support the development of your child’s brain.
  • Folic acid helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

If you are struggling with your energy levels or breast milk supply, it is not advisable to rely on home remedies. Seek relevant medical advice to assess your individual situation as soon as possible.

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