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  • Bee Pollen

    Dr Hale, I've been asked by another collegue if it's ok for a breastfeeding mother to take bee pollen. The sites that sell bee pollen say no. What's your opinion?
    Thank you
    Kathy Kuhn RN BSN IBCLC
    The Reading Hospital and Medical Center

  • #2
    Dear Kathy,

    Supplements are not evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is recommended that a breastfeeding mother consult her physician or a qualified herbal specialist before beginning any herbal or homeopathic therapy. At this time, there is insufficient data to determine safety regarding the use of bee pollen during breastfeeding.

    Sincerely,
    Cindy Pride, MSN, CPNP
    TTUHSC InfantRisk Center

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    • #3
      Bee pollen is quite safe IMO as an Herbalist and Midwife. It is a nutritional powerhouse. The default safety advice from all companies is going to be as conservative as possible.

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      • #4
        I see in the 2012 version of Medications and Mothers' Milk that bee pollen is rated L4. It's in a table at the back, not a regular entry, so I was unable to find any explanation. Normally Dr. Hale gives a rating of L3 if there is simply insufficient data regarding the use of something. Is there data showing some kind of harmful effect with bee pollen?

        Thank you,
        Jessica Barton, IBCLC

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        • #5
          Nyakanyasko:

          Bee pollen can be contaminated with Botulism spores and other bacteria. While it is certainly contraindicated in infants, I'm not sure why I gave it an L4 "for breastfeeding women", other than the potential risk of botulism bacteria and their possible transfer into breastmilk.

          I still do not think it would be advisable for a breastfeeding women to use this during the first year postpartum.

          Tom Hale PH.D.

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          • #6
            Would you consider honey L4 as well in that case? Or is Botulism contamination different with honey in some way?

            Thank you,
            Jessica Barton, IBCLC

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            • #7
              Nyakanyasko:

              No, honey is a much purer product than bee pollen. I don't know much about it, but it seems that bee pollen has a lot more contaminates in it. Honestly however, I doubt either honey or bee pollen would be a major risk factor when used in a MOTHER who is breastfeeding. They obviously should never be used in an infant. But I'm not a big fan of using drugs or substances, that we don't know much about in breastfeeding mothers. That said, now that we've had this discussion, I'll probably reduce this risk level to an L3.

              Tom Hale Ph.D.

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              • #8
                Bee Pollen, Honey, Propolis and Royal Jelly

                I've read information on safety for nursing mothers but my son is almost 2.5 years old (29 months) and nursing primarily once in the afternoon, and then night time. Would this mean it's ok to take these type of supplements?

                I've often wondered if it's more acceptable because of his age and size (he's almost 37lbs) I had trouble conceiving due to endometriosis and I've read the benefits of this supplement which is why I am inquiring about taking it.

                My son has had honey and is not allergic (but does have other food allergies)

                Thank you

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                • #9
                  Dear Hairess,

                  I think that your milk supply is probably very small by now, but I still cannot advise you to use this supplement. Simply because we do not have any studies on it, and i can not completely rule out any risk to your son.

                  Tassneem Abdel Karim, MD
                  InfantRisk Center

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