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Sunflower Lecithin and Breastfeeding: What We Know So Far

last year4 min read
Last updated: Jan 23 2023

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

Sunflower Lecithin and Breastfeeding

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?
  • Should I take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?
  • What does sunflower lecithin do to breast milk?
  • How often can you take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?
  • Sunflower lecithin and breastfeeding: the bottom line

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.

Should I take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?

The most common use of lecithin for breastfeeding is for clogged ducts.

The word from the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation is it may be an effective treatment for some mamas. But there’s no conclusive scientific evidence of this at this point.

A clogged duct is exactly what it sounds like—your breast is unable to fully drain because it is plugged up.

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.

What does sunflower lecithin do to 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.

How often can you take sunflower lecithin while breastfeeding?

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

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.

But it’s still a good idea to check in with your doctor before diving in.

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

Treating 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.

Sunflower lecithin and breastfeeding: the bottom line

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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