Chances are, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re nursing a very real obsession over milk supply (pun intended). Breastmilk is produced on a supply and demand basis, meaning the best way to increase your output is to nurse baby more often. But when that’s not possible—or producing enough results—a galactagogue can give you that needed boost.
A galactagogue is a fancy name for a milk-increasing herb. The most common include fenugreek (the all-star), blessed thistle fennel, anise and coriander. These milk-aids can be found in everything from nursing tea to lactation cookies. The trick is to use galactagogues as a way to jumpstart your supply. Once you’re producing more milk, it’s best to wean off them so your body doesn’t get used to them, rendering them ineffective down the road.
Which one is right for you? You’ll have to do a little recon work. Taste preference plays a big role, and the effectiveness of herbal blends differs from mom to mom. Once you find a supplement that works, it’s worth it’s weight in liquid gold.
Each brand of milk-aid tea varies slightly in blend and flavor. You may have to sample a few before you find an herbal mix you’re down to sip two to three times a day and one that delivers results. If you notice an uptick in your production but aren’t crazy about the tea’s flavor, try adding honey or serve over ice.
Teas to try
Buy it: Mother’s Milk, $5, TraditionalMedicinals.com
Buy it: Pink Stork Lactation Herbal Mint Tea, $12, PinkStork.com
Buy it: Earth Mama Milkmaid Tea, $6, EarthMamaOrganics.com
Buy it: Upspring Milk Flow Chai Tea Latte, $18, UpsringBaby.com
Hunger strikes all too often when you’re breastfeeding. Reach for a double-duty snack that offers an energy boost and aids milk production. Bars and cookie bites are great for eating one-handed while nursing or stashing in your pump bag for on-the-go snacking. Best of all, many are free of common allergens like gluten, shellfish, nuts, dairy and soy.
Snacks to try
Buy it: Oat Mama Lactation Granola Bars, $39 for 10, OatMama.com
Buy it: Milkful Lactation Oat Bars, $20 for 6, Milkful.com
Buy it: Boobie Bars, $18 for 6, GetBoobieBars.com
Buy it: Milkmakers Cookie Bites, $22 for 10, Munchkin.com
Adding a pill or chew to your daily prenatal vitamin routine is perhaps the easiest way to achieve a quick boost. The caveat: Some supplements require multiple daily doses for maximum effectiveness. Fenugreek is often heralded as the most effective milk-aid, but goat’s rue, malunggay and shatavari are also go-tos.
Supplements to try
Buy it: GNC Herbal Plus Fenugreek, $10 for 100 capsules, GNC.com
Buy it: Motherlove More Milk Plus, $26 for 60 capsules, Motherlove.com
Buy it: Mommy Knows Best Goat’s Rue, $27 for 120 capsules, MommyKnowsBest.com
Buy it: Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk Lemon Chews, $12 for 14 chews, TraditionalMedicinals.com