As experts in this field, lactation specialists were surveyed to see how often they pass along this folklore to breastfeeding mothers, despite a lack of research-based evidence to support these suggestions, according to a recent survey by Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, an obstetrician at Ohio State University Wexford Medical Center.
The online survey of 124 lactation consultants affiliated with U.S. medical centers in 29 states found that 69 percent reported hearing of folk remedies, and 65 percent had recommended at least one of these methods.
They were asked to provide examples of advice they had heard of, as well as advice they routinely passed on to breastfeeding mothers. Advice was broken into five categories: recommendations to promote lactation, to initiate breastfeeding, to treat pain associated with breastfeeding, to assist with weaning, and about substances to avoid for the baby's sake.
The survey found that certain folk remedies are widely discussed among experts, particularly herbal remedies to increase milk production and cabbage leaves to ease pain from breastfeeding. They suggest that recommending folk remedies that are outside of the medical mainstream is a common practice among lactation consultants who advise women about breastfeeding.
Results of the survey are published in Breastfeeding Medicine .