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Complementary and Alternative Methods of Increasing Breast Milk Supply for Lactating Mothers of Infants in the NICU

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"Breastfeeding" an infant in the NICU means that the mother must manually pump her breasts for milk for weeks to months until the infant is physiologically mature enough to suckle at the breast. Complementary and alternative therapies have been proposed to assist with lactation in NICU mothers. These methods for increasing breast milk supply include herbal galactagogues, kangaroo mothering, and relaxation therapies.

A review of the literature was performed using PubMed and CINAHL databases. Twenty-four sources were chosen for inclusion in this article. Search terms included the following: galactagogues, breastfeeding, kangaroo care, and lactation, among others. The state of the science of alternative therapies in the management of inadequate breast milk supply is summarized here. The evidence is discussed and adverse side effects related to these therapies is addressed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2010

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