Background and objectives: Poor breast milk production is the most frequent cause of breastfeeding failure in preterm babies. The aim of our study is to evaluate the effect of herbal tea mixture containing stinging nettle (Natal, Hipp) on breast milk production and serum prolactin levels of mothers, and weight gain of preterm babies.
Materials and methods: We enrolled mothers and their babies who were less than 37 gestational week and less than 2000 g, fed with orogastric tube without any contraindication of enteral feeding in neonatal intensive care unit between November 2010 and June 2011. The mothers of treatment group (n = 32) were consuming commercially available herbal mixture tea for 1 week. The mothers control group (n = 21) received only the same advice on supportive measures as group I. Mothers in the placebo group (n = 32) were given fruit tea for 1 week. The daily breast milk production of mothers and weight gain of preterm babies were recorded. Also, serum prolactin levels of the mothers were measured.
Results: Increase of the milk production from the first to the seventh day was more prominent in mothers using herbal tea mixture. Increased rate in the amount of milk was 80% in the treatment, 34.3% in the placebo and 30% in the control group (P = 0.000). There was no statistically significant difference in weight gain of babies between the two groups, due to formula feeding in case of insufficient breast milk. Serum prolactin levels of the mothers at the beginning and on the seventh day showed no significant difference.
Conclusions: In mothers with premature babies and who are treated in neonatal intensive care unit, consumption of galactogogue herbal tea will increase lactation and prevent lack of human milk without any adverse effect.