Sunflower Lecithin and Breastfeeding: What We Know So Far

Sunflower Lecithin and Breastfeeding: What We Know So Far

Curious about whether to take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding? We’ll take you through the details of what we know right now.

Dealing with breastfeeding challenges can be both stressful and painful.

If you’re looking for some help, you may have heard that sunflower lecithin and breastfeeding are a good combo, particularly when it comes to managing clogged ducts.

So what’s the deal here? What exactly is sunflower lecithin? And does it really work?

We’ll take you through the details.

In this article 📝

  • What is sunflower lecithin?
  • What does sunflower lecithin do for breastfeeding?
  • Does sunflower lecithin help milk supply?
  • How often can you take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?
  • Bottom line: should I take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?

What is sunflower lecithin?

The word lecithin refers to a collection of fatty substances found in plants and animals. 🌱🥚

Our bodies use lecithin in all sorts of ways, including moving fats through our digestive systems.

As a dietary supplement, lecithin comes from a variety of different sources, including soy, eggs, and sunflower seeds.

Sunflower lecithin has become a popular option because it does not have the same potential to cause allergies and sensitivities as the other forms.

Lecithin acts as a natural emulsifier, meaning it can blend substances that don’t normally combine, like oil and water.

This makes it a really useful food additive, found in fat spreads and sweet treats like chocolate and baked goods. 🍪

While not well studied to date, sunflower lecithin supplements are used to treat a range of conditions from cholesterol, digestive issues, and, yep, breastfeeding difficulties.

So does it work?

Here’s what we know.

What does sunflower lecithin do for breastfeeding?

So, what is the sunflower lecithin-breastfeeding connection?

Well, outside of rich sources like liver and egg yolks, lecithin is already present in human breast milk.

The theory goes that by increasing the percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids in your milk, lecithin is said to make breast milk less “sticky.”

And that means easier flow, which is great if you’re struggling with clogged ducts.

But it’s important to note that the research is really young on this one, and we just don’t know all the details about how effective lecithin may be, nor its safety in high doses for mama or baby.

A clogged duct is exactly what it sounds like—your breast is unable to fully drain because it is plugged up—and sometimes, this results in a sore lump on your breast.

This can be both painful and frustrating. 😩

And in some cases, it can lead to a more painful condition called mastitis, where your breast tissue gets inflamed.

If this is where you’re at, it’s no wonder you’re keen to find some relief.

If you’re considering taking sunflower lecithin as a supplement, the first thing to do is to check in with your healthcare provider.

(The same goes for trying any new supplements at this time.)

They will be able to advise you if this is the right route or recommend an alternative.

Does sunflower lecithin make milk flow faster?

So, the word from the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation is it may be an effective treatment for some mamas.

And since it’s believed to do this by decreasing the viscosity of milk (making it more fluid), it would seem that sunflower lecithin could improve milk flow.

But, again, there’s no conclusive scientific evidence of this at this point.

Does sunflower lecithin help milk supply?

It’s a frequent question on Peanut and a fair one—after all, for breastfeeding mamas, supply is crucial.

But the answer is complicated.

Not least of all because producing breast milk is a complicated process that relies on supply and demand.

As we mention above, anecdotal evidence does suggest that sunflower lecithin may improve the flow of breast milk.

But it’s important not to mistake a smoother milk flow for an increase in milk supply.

Really, the amount of breast milk you’ll produce comes down to the frequency of your baby’s feeds.

If you are concerned, there are some natural ways to increase your breast milk supply, such as:

  • Decreasing the hours between feedings
  • Allowing your baby to feed for longer
  • Offer both breasts when feeding
  • Hold off weaning until your baby is ready
  • Pump either directly after or in between feeds
  • Switch between breasts for each feed to ensure your baby keeps suckling stimulating prolactin

A 2019 study also shows that skin-to-skin contact between you and baby can increase the success rate and duration of breastfeeding.

How often can you take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?

The recommended dose is 1200 mg, four times a day.

As for whether there’s any sunflower lecithin side effects for baby, the good news is that, while it’s not FDA-approved to treat any conditions specifically, sunflower lecithin is “generally considered safe” by the FDA.

If you do decide to take sunflower lecithin to keep possible clogged ducts at bay, we recommend talking with your healthcare provider first. 👩‍⚕️

Instead of sunflower lecithin for clogged ducts, they may suggest sticking with treatments like adjusting your breastfeeding position, checking your baby’s latch, or even applying a warm compress.

It’s also worth noting that sunflower lecithin is considered a preventative measure than a treatment for a clogged milk duct.

If you’re looking for other ways to prevent and treat clogged ducts, we’ve got you covered.

How to relieve clogged ducts

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, here’s what to do if you have a clogged duct:

  • Keep breastfeeding. Although it may be tempting to stop, it’s important that you get that milk flowing.
  • Express milk as often as you can.
  • Try different breastfeeding positions.
  • Apply a warm compress to the area or soak your breast in warm water.
  • Give yourself a breast massage while breastfeeding and pumping or when you’re applying your warm compress.
  • Talk to your doctor about pain medication that you can take at this time.

And if you need some support through the breastfeeding journey, it can be a good idea to consult a lactation specialist.

You don’t have to struggle through this alone.

Bottom line: should I take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?

When it comes to sunflower lecithin and breastfeeding, it’s important to check in with your doctor before taking any supplements while breastfeeding.

The reality is that while the effects of sunflower lecithin appear promising for the treatment of clogged ducts, we just don’t have clear evidence to back this up yet.

Breastfeeding can come with a host of highs and lows.🎢

Chat with your Peanut community.

We’re in this together.


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