Protecting the milk supply is serious business. If you’re a nursing mother, whether hustling hard at your job or busting your ass as a stay at home mom, you already know that milk making is another occupation. Anything that makes nursing easier is something I pay attention to – from supplies for my boobs to products to boost my supply.
But here’s the catch: I have two kids that both demand all of my attention and energy, even when I’m supposed to have my mind on other things. While I work from a home office, I find that there are more days in a week where I’m working after the kids are in bed than there are nights for me to watch Netflix (and if my husband had a say in it, and chill. Neither one is happening.). I need easy, enjoyable solutions that require little funds and even less mental energy.
I haven’t tried pills to boost my supply. That falls into the category of too much work and too much money. I’m sure that if I really started to have a major dip that I couldn’t recover from with (what I would consider) a management about of effort I would swallow more extreme measures to see if I could increase lactation. Low effort is what I’m going for here.
I love lactation teas
Nursing makes me thirsty. Not like, “oh, I should probably get a sip of water as I’m a little parched,” but like, “I-will-drown-in-a-lake-trying-to-guzzle-every-drop thirsty.” If this sounds familiar, it’s not in your mind! Breastfeeding really does make you extra thirsty. The National Institute of Health conducted a study in 1995 to try to figure out why. Unfortunately, they didn’t come up with an answer but they also agree, there is something about a baby suckling that makes women thirstier than usual.
Water only gets me so far before I get bored. Coconut water can be an option, but it’s pricey. I am a tea drinker, so adding in milk supply-boosting teas has been a double win for me. I embarked on my own lactation tea face-off to see what I liked and if either of the two I lined up head to head actually made a difference.
Lactation Tea: Milkmaid v. Mother’s Milk
When I left the baby friendly hospital where I delivered my babies they didn’t hand me any pacifiers, formula samples or coupons, but they did send me off with disposable breast pads, little tubes of lanolin, and samples and coupons for Mother’s Milk Tea.
Mother’s Milk Tea is the go-to recommendation in all of the mom’s groups I’m in when it comes to boosting supply. It’s easy to see why it’s the most frequently recommended. It’s easy to get – readily available at Whole Foods and my local co-op.
The tea has a mild flavor that some people might like, but I found too weak, even if I let it steep way too long, like not removing the bag at all. MM relies on an herb mixture which most prominently features fennel, which has a licorice-like flavor. I hate licorice, but I love fennel, and I found the tea wasn’t fennelish enough for me.
I don’t care if a tea tastes weak if it works. So I drank it a little bit, and I drank it a lot, and I didn’t notice any change in my supply at all. I wasn’t sure if it was just this particular tea or if all lactation teas were more for fun and less for milk impact.
The one thing I did notice is that my baby would get a bit fussy after I had been drinking the tea. This could be coincidental, but it happened on multiple occasions. This was two strikes for the tea – no impact and fussy baby – and I had fairly low hopes for any lactation tea to work at this point.
Still, pushing forward to see if the tea thing would work in my personal lactation tea challenge, I tried Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic Milkmaid Tea.
In the name of full disclosure, the fine mamas at Earth Mama Angel Baby sent me some items to try. I’ve been terribly slow to get reviews up, and part of it is I really wanted to see how I felt about their products and not just write a review because someone gave me something for free. I will say this – like a good drug dealer, my first box of tea was free. The repeated Amazon Prime orders of the tea have all been on me.
I kept buying Milkmaid Tea because it worked for me.
Milkmaid has a different taste than Mother’s Milk. I found it to be a stronger, earthier flavor. While both teas share some of the same ingredients, Milkmaid leads with Fenugreek, which may account for having a more bold taste.
Taste is subjective and all about preference, but I found that the tea’s overall flavor strength held up iced. That was awesome when I made a bunch of iced tea and could tell that’s what I was drinking, not like a weird weak, yet sweet, sock water drink.
I was glad I liked the taste as I had a noticeable increase in my pumping output. When I ran multi-day comparisons of Mother’s Milk (no increase), water (baseline amount) and Milkmaid Tea, the Milkmaid was the winner.
In my typical late afternoon pumping session I was barely squeaking out 3 ounces on a good day, and on a drier day I was closer to 2-2.5. With Milkmaid, I was able to pull anywhere from the solid 3 to a much more hefty 5 ounces. Yes, the tea boosted the output by a full two ounces. That’s not shabby at all!
My theory on why Milkmaid Tea isn’t a go-to recommendation has to do with availability, or maybe more accurately, visibility. The tea isn’t sold at the non-online places where I shop, which is basically a slightly sketchy Safeway, Whole Foods and our neighborhood Co-Op. Two of those three sell Mother’s Milk, but not Milkmaid.
Long term results- and a clear winner
Since it’s taken me so long to get this review up, I’ve been able to see if the bump I experienced around the 6-7 month mark held up over time. I noticed that when I started to hit a supply slump around the 8-9 month mark as my baby increased his solid food intake, Milkmaid Tea helped me bring the supply back up to adequate – that is, my supply was able to meet my baby’s demand – instead of either falling behind over being overly bountiful. When I noticed that I was about to get my period back, as evidenced by the feeling like my nipples were being ripped off during pumping and nursing (although another very delayed review of nipple creams is coming soon, and one of them helped with this pain as well!) and my supply started to dip again with those hormones, I made another Amazon Prime purchase of 6 more boxes of tea. Again, my supply has been able to meet demand, which is really all I want at this stage of approaching the year mark.
In my accidentally months-long lactation tea face-off I learned that lactation tea worked for me. You may be one of the people that benefits from drinking lactation tea, and if it doesn’t have the right taste for you, or the right herbs to do the job, try a different one.
Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic Milkmaid Tea came out as the clear winner for me, and is the one that I recommend for maintaing and boosting milk supply, without any adverse affects to my baby.