Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade Fenugreek Capsules, for more milk - Confinement Month # 1

Last time, when I had Lydia, I didn't know much about breastfeeding, and yet the inexperienced me didn't do much to have more milk. Now don't tell me, the more the baby sucks, the more I'll have. Oh yes, but I do believe that comes to a certain limit for different individuals. I've one relative whose baby has never suckled and yet can pump 6 oz of milk on first attempt, and thereafter 2 bottles each time. The baby never suckled for at least 3 months because the baby was the the incubator. She had so much milk that the milk was all thrown away due to super excess. How I wish I had that much.

When I had Lyanne, I was determined to give her more, and knowing of my past mistakes, I certainly did better. But to me, how I wished I still had more. I then searched on the internet on ways to increase my supply, and one of the methods is to consume fenugreek.

Fenugreek is a cheap and common spice. Used in making curries and Asian dishes like nasi dagang. My MIL told me, her sister uses this and make an infusion with hot water as a cough remedy. So, it's something pretty common, nothing to be scared of.  I got to know that to buy this ready made in capsule form from supplement shops, it's pretty pricey, compared to the cost price.

Few weeks before I was due, I bought 100gm of fenugreek seeds, for only RM1.60 and 300 gelatin capsule shells for RM5.40. I made 270 capsules for less than RM7. Cheap? Yes.
So, was it effective? I'll be glad to say, it worked for me the last time. I was from barely enough to slightly more than enough after comsuming for a few days. I read it gives about 20% increment, and so that's about 20% for me, quite true.
I won't be consuming all 270 capsules. The amount is shared between 2 sister in laws and me. Just take until you achieve your desired milk flow. Won't need to take this forever.

Mike's friend took Domperidone, a prescribed drug all through her breastfeeding, something of which both of us detest to. It's actually used to treat vomiting and nausea and having more milk will be the side effect of that drug. Mike would rather buy formula than for me to use Domperidone. It just feels weird to consume the drug for its side effects throughout breastfeeding. No stopping!

How many fenugreek capsules should one take? Some sites I read says 3 capsules 3 times a day, meaning 9 capsules/day. I was worried it might be too much, so I just take 3/day. It was sufficient for me. . I read that as long as your body starts to smell like maple syrup, then it's enough. Yeah, 2 days into taking and I became a walking pancake around the house, LOL. This time I took 3 capsules each time, twice a day and I still don't smell like maple syrup, so you have to make your own adjustments.

So, for those of you who are interested to make your own or as a gift for someone, here's how I did it.

1. Take some fenugreek, spread it out on your palm, checking for bits of sand or impurities.

2. Grind it in your mill (the short thing that comes with your blender). At this point I wished I had a Blendtec. The machine that can be used to blend Iphone, LOL.

3. Use a not too fine sieve and sift it. Repeat milling process with those that are too coarse. Actually there's nothing wrong with comsuming coarsely milled fenugreek, but isn't it easier to digest if it's finer.

4. Fill into capsules and keep them in a glass jar. Do not fill them into containers that can absorb smells like Tupperware. The smell stays forever, even after 3 years. Yes, the Tupperware I kept the milled fenugreek during Lyanne's time still smell like fenugreek until today.

Use the fenugreek raw. As heating will change its compounds to Niacin, a type of Vitamin B. It can be very heaty to consume too much Vitamin B. Read here.
When I consumed this during Lyanne's time, I roasted it at 150C for 10 minutes in a preheated oven before grinding. It was more effective with only 3 pills and I absolutely smell of fenugreek in the armpits and urine. Milk flow was obviously better BUT, it was very very heaty. I had to stop after consuming for 2 weeks, as I was having a very dry throat. The throat took 3 weeks to moisten up again.
This time, I consumed 3 in the morning, and 3 more at night, and I do not smell that strong of fenugreek. Milk flow is not as great as consumed roasted, but I can consume it for longer periods of time without being "overheated" by the Vitamin B in the roasted fenugreek.
I'll update more later. I plan to do another batch roasted again, at a lower temperature, to see it effects. Please stay tuned.
Do not consume fenugreek during pregnancy as it can cause early contractions.


  1. breast milk = best milk for your baby
    i'm so regret never breastfeed for my girl
    for my second baby i really believe more suck have more milk. now my boy already 21 mths &
    now my milk is become less already

  2. this forum may can help u
    this forum is fully support breastfeed

  3. Wow...with these fenugreek pills, I am sure Mr.R has no complains :p so what name have you settled with for him? I guess he is getting cutie and bigger with your milk :)) Take care, Elin

  4. This is a very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    If I have no2 I would like to try this. Just wondering how long can the capsules keep? Store in room temp or fridge ?

  5. thanks for your very useful blog and congrat for the new born prince R!!
    may I ask you where can I find jelly capsules?

  6. abbymonster,
    Yeah, sucking will help too.
    thanks for the info.

    He's very well fed, haha, he's a small drinker.

    These can be stored like your spices. I don't know if they have an expiry date, but I use them unwashed and dry just to prevent fungus from growing due to insufficient drying. I just keep them at room temp but you can keep them in the fridge if you want.

    Chinese Medicinal Halls.

  7. body smell like maple syrup? i think your hubby must be another happy fler besides didi, he will happily lick all over you!! hehe!

  8. oh.. I had these too when I had my son but I didnt know you can DIY... I bought two small bottles for RM60.. from the nurse at the hospital...

    Nevermind, if I ever have my second one... I know how to DIY now... hehehe!

    Rest well Wendy!

  9. lena,
    Haha, weirdly this time around, I don't smell that strong woh. Haha.

    Food Dreams,
    Wow, the nurse make "personal money" ah?
    Yeah, you can DIY and save lots of money.

  10. Hi Wendy, I hope you don't mind I ask you question which not related to your supplement. I'm looking for new oven. I'm not sure if you are using oven fro Teka or Bosch. Can u share with me your experience with your new oven? Thank you

  11. Sue,
    I've currently switched to Bosch.
    I'll be sharing about my oven in weeks to come. But I'm not sure when.
    Please stay tuned

  12. whoah you are really a great mum and want the best for your kids!!
    thanks for educating me with this...will come to need for me next time!! =)

  13. Oh wow, totally impressed! I wish I knew about all these while I was nursing my kids. But again, I had more then enough, heehee. :P Will pass this valuable info to a good friend whom will definitely find it useful. Thanks yah.

  14. Hi Wendy,
    Thanks for your reply. Congratulation to you for having a lovely baby boy. I understand you are busy with your newborn. I will stay tune with your blog. Meanwhile I will find out more about oven from Bosch.

  15. Hi wendy,
    When you mentioned you r going on long leave in one of yr entry, i never thought u delivered! Congratulations!

  16. Hi,

    i really feel glad tht u share this info with us.
    i'm having my 4th baby in july,i wish to try this method whn lactating my baby, coz my 3 kids i don hav much milk,especially ard evening time my milk flow getting low.
    but i hav difficulties in getting the gelatine capsules shell. is thr any way tht i can get it? i'm frm miri,sarawak. thnx


  17. Qin,
    Just go to any Chinese Medicinal shops.
    They will have it.

  18. Hi Wendy,

    May I know what do you call fenugreek in chinese/cantonese? Where can I buy it?

    Thanks for your help.


  19. ling,
    Indian grocery shops, Malay grocery shops will all have this. And supermarkets will have this in their spice department. I think you have to google for the Chinese name. In Malay it's called biji Halba. It's a very common cooking ingredient for Malay and Indian cuisine. Just buy RM1 and it's enough for more than 100 capsules.

  20. Thanks Wendy for your prompt reply. I really enjoy your blog very very much. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us, I will surely try them.


  21. wow. I wish i'd stumbled unto your post sooner. I'm one of them moms who was too inexperienced the first time and tried everything i knew the second time, but with only enough for the baby. i've bought these online, they didn't seem to work, i've been on domperidone, maxolon..i guess some of us just cannot have a "flowing cup" of breast milk...:P But still this post was most interesting!!

    love: Dayze

  22. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful tips.
    When I had my son in 2010, I had little breastmilk, only able to pump 2-3oz each time and it took almost an hour just to get that little breast milk. End up, we paid a lot for formula.

    Woooowww.....Wendy's blog has helped us save a lot money spending on expensive formula and as well as our precious time of travelling.

    I took fenugreek the next day after I delivered my daughter on March 20th. I take 2 capsules, 2 or 3 times a day. She is now 2 months old.
    I am so happy to see my "full house" freezer.
    I can pump at about 6-10oz each time, 5 to 8 times/24hours a day.

    For those who wish to get more breastmilk, do give it a try. It might takes few days to 2 weeks to have breastmilk comes in after taking fenugreek.

  23. Hey...WanYee,

    The above comment "Thanks for sharing such a wonderful tips. When I had ......." posted by me.
    Don't know what I did/click that my name has become Unknown.
    Once again, THANK YOU very much for your sharing!


  24. Foong Mun,
    Eh, weird hoh... Nvm, thanks for the feedback!

  25. Tqvm for this info... I'm looking for fenugreek pills n kalau boleh tak nak beli coz very expensive.. Better DIY ;-)

  26. Faisya,
    DIY quality terjamin, bersih pulak, hehehe.

  27. Hi wendy, am confuse Do u mean need to heat fenugreek in oven?

    Thank You

  28. May,
    Not neccesary.
    Unbaked-less effective, not heaty
    Baked-more effective, very heaty

  29. Hi wendy, where did you get the gelatin capsules?? Any other places I can get them?? Tqvm ;)

  30. Anonymous (pls leave a name),
    Chinese Herbal shops

  31. How many mg go into each capsule? There are different sizes. Thanks!

  32. Anonymous,
    I never weigh them. The capsules are for easy swallowing only.

  33. Hi Wendy,

    Is it necessary to wash n dry up then only heat ?


  34. SAM,
    As I did not intend to bake it, I fear fungus more than dirt.
    If I wash it, and mistakenly didn't dry it as properly as I should (we won't know how dry it is on the inside), it could lead to fungal growth.
    If you intend to bake it, wash it, sun dry it, then only bake it.

    1. Tks, Wendy. Besides this, what did u eat during tat time? E.g, meat, milk flow is really low.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. SAM,
    You can refer to my confinement menu.
    Milk flow isn't the same with everyone. I didn't have a lot, but just enough. If the baby sucks, I have nothing to express, and if I express, there's nothing to suck.
    I do find Vit B rich foods to help a bit, like nuts, and if you google for galactagogues, most of them are rich in Vit B.
    Constant sucking (until dry) and a positive mind helps, and if the mind is negative, the milk decreases a lot! I've experienced that before.

    1. Tks..Wendy. have tried to search the confinmt menu few times but still unable to find. Could u pls write me ur webpage/site..

  37. SAM,
    You can always use the 'search' bar on the right panel (above recent recipes), if not, the confinement label on the "Occasions" list on the right

  38. Hi Wendy,

    I just tried the homemade fenugreek pill today. I only managed to fully bf my baby for only 1mth++ then we have to top up with fm:-( and I have tried several things to increase my milk supply but seems like nothings changed and when im back to works i can only managed to pump twice at the office due to workloads and the milk become lesser and lesser. so now i am eager to try this fenugreek pills.

  39. Farah,
    it's important to make yourself happy and keep the brain positive.
    Some people are just blessed with fountains of milk. and i wasn't one of those too

  40. dear wendy,

    the gelatine caps, how to tell the person in chinese med hall? haha my chinese not so good..perhaps you can tell exactly where you buy them? i stay in SS2 area.

    thank you very much for this wonderful DIY.

  41. joey,
    What I always do it, do a google search on my phone with the picture and show the shop.
    I bought them from Yik Hong in Kuala Kangsar. Come to Perak! :)

  42. haha wendy! nice one are from KK? my mom hometown is in we both considered bau-bau bacang orang Perak =p

    ok thank you for your tips dear. I think it is easier to consume conveniently than making tea or eating them grounded in teaspoons. my dad has diabetes, so i want to ask him try abit.

    btw, the maple syrup smell, is it really so bad? it will go away once stop taking fenugreek?

    thank you so much wendy!

  43. Joey,
    It comes after few days of comsumption.. and goes off around 2 days when you stop.
    If you like maple syrup, then you like the smell lor.... I tak suka leh. hahah

  44. haha..yalah..i did some experiment to see how they smell..they smell ok if still in original form..after i ground them ughhh..they smell very 'green' but nemind la, try and see how...i will see if i have time go buy that gelatine caps today =p

    thanks a bunch wendy!

  45. You are soooo awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Hi tell me how many time in a day I eat fenugreek capsules for bigger breast my breast is very small plzzzzzzz tell me

  48. Hi Wendy plzzzzzz tell me can I eat fenugreek capsules for increase breast size? My breast is very small.plzzzz tell me?

  49. Khan,
    You are a man, there is no need for that

  50. Hi winddy plzzzz tell me i am not a man I am woman this is my husband I'd mkhan. Plzzzz tell me I have two baby boys my little son is 8 years old my breast is very small plzzz tell how many time I eat fenugreek capsules in a day in summer season. Plzzz tell???

  51. Mrs Khan,
    Sorry but I have no idea

  52. hi dear,

    Can i know where to buy that capsule?


  53. bagus utk buat sendiri.


  54. Hi Wendy,
    I am from india and I have heard about nature's fenugreek tablets , blessed thistle and mother's milk tea.
    Do I need to buy them or by taking only capsules(the one you mentioned) milk supply will go up?
    Riya seth

  55. Riya Seth,
    I just consumed these homemade fenugreek capsule and bought the fenugreek seeds from the supermarket.
    The capsules can help (no guarantees as each person is different), but a cheerful and positive attitude will work hand in hand with the capsules. Fenugreek itself is not magic.

  56. Hi Wendy, is it possible to consume the fenugreek without the capsules? Does it really taste bad/ weird?

    I just have to sundried then blend it and ready to be consume ? How much to consume ya? Like in teaspoon measurements? Tqvm!

  57. Zee,
    I have never tried eating fenugreek powder just like that. But I do not like the taste of it. Some people just boil it to make a drink.
    How many to eat... hmmm.... maybe 1 tsp a day? If you can take more, you can increase, but my body can't. I feel dry and hot after consuming for a few days, the throat gets really dry, so I stick to 3 capsules a day, of which could be around 1 tsp.


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