Using Mother’s Milk Tea to Boost Supply

  Photo by  Drew Taylor  on  Unsplash
Photo by Drew Taylor  on Unsplash

Drinking Mother’s Milk Tea is one popular method of boosting milk supply for nursing moms. This herbal tea can be found at health food stores, and some grocery stores, depending on your area. If you live near a Sprouts, Jimbo’s or Whole Foods, you can easily find the caffeine-free tea, usually in a pink box. If you don’t have these types of stores in your neighborhood, you can also order Mother’s Milk Tea online through Amazon or other retailers, like Target or GNC. A single box retails for approximately $4-$7.

What is it? 

A mild galactagogue, Mother’s Milk Tea is simply tea mixed with herbs that boost milk supply in a nursing mother. The tea itself doesn’t contain any milk. Further, dairy consumption is not generally recommended in the early days of breastfeeding when you’re most likely to need a supply boost. The primary ingredient in the tea is Fenugreek, which has been used by breastfeeding mothers since ancient times.

The store-bought version comes with ready-to-brew teabags in a pink box. Like any other hot tea, you simply pour hot water over the bag in a mug and wait a few minutes for it to brew. When cool enough to drink, enjoy.

What does it taste like?

Being an herbal tea, Mother’s Milk Tea has a slightly bitter taste. Some liken it to black licorice. A new mother may enjoy the spicy flavors or be repulsed. It’s certainly an acquired taste.

It’s fine to add honey, sugar, or even apple juice to sweeten the tea. For some, this makes the drink more palatable.

Should I drink it hot or cold?

Fortunately, you can drink it either way. May nursing moms enjoy relaxing with a hot cup of Mother’s Milk Tea, with a spoon of honey mixed in. Others like to drink it over ice. The iced version is preferred by those who don’t love the flavors of the tea. If you’re avoiding table sugar, or simply can’t stand the taste, you may even want to try mixing it with apple juice. You may also want to add a lemon wedge to the hot or cold version of the tea. You can customize it to better suit your individual palate.

How much should I drink?

To effectively boost supply, a full cup of Mother’s Milk Tea should be consumed three times per day. Remember, this tea is meant to boost your supply. This means once your supply is good and baby is wetting plenty of diapers and gaining weight well, you can slow down on the galactagogues like mother’s milk tea.

It should take 1-2 weeks of drinking the tea 3 times per day to see a real boost in milk supply.

Does it have caffeine?

No. Mother’s milk tea is an herbal remedy that is naturally caffeine free. It’s best for nursing mothers to avoid consuming too much caffeine as it can interfere with milk supply and baby’s temperament.

Is there a DIY Version?

Yes–you can certainly make your own lactation tea at home. You can typically find the ingredients below in bulk at your local health food store. If you don’t have a health food store nearby, you may order online through sites like Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon. You don’t need much of each individual herb to make quite a lot of lactation tea. The recipe below makes over 100 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fenugreek seed
  • 1/2 cup dried lemon verbena
  • 1/4 cup dried blessed thistle
  • 1/2 cup dried nettle leaf
  • 1/2 cup dried red raspberry leaf
  • 1/4 cup fennel seed

Equipment

  • Airtight container
  • Teapot or Individual Tea Bag

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Measure out 1 teaspoon of the tea blend per cup of water. If making an individual cup, use a tea infuser ball or individual tea bag. If using a teapot, measure out tea proportionally to the cups of water in the teapot.
  • Fill your teapot or cup with boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove tea bag or infuser and enjoy. For optimal results, consume three 8-ounce cups per day.

Where can I find the ready made version?

As with the herbs needed for the DIY version, your best bet to find the store-bought tea will be your local heath food stores. Places like Whole Foods, Jimbo’s and Sprouts typically keep the herbal tea in stock.

Some drugstores, like CVS, GNC and Walgreens also keep Mother’s Milk Tea on the shelf.

If you don’t have these stores in your area, or don’t want to leave home, you can order the tea online through retailers like Amazon, Target, and GNC.

How much does it cost?

A box of Mother’s Milk Tea will cost about $4-7 depending on the amount of tea bags, the brand, and the retailer. You can also buy a bulk pack of 6 boxes online for $20-$25 if you anticipate a need to use it consistently. These bulk boxes are usually available through Amazon for $20.

Will it really boost my milk supply?

Generally speaking, yes. However, it can take 3-14 days to see results.

While the additional hydration and fenugreek will provide a slight boost, Moms who are really struggling to make milk, will typically have better luck with a higher concentration of fenugreek. For mothers who are not getting enough wet diapers from their babies, aren’t hearing swallowing noises during a feed, and need to supplement with formula, fenugreek capsules are a better option. They offer a higher concentration of the galactagogue and an easier method of measuring your daily dose. Fenugreek capsules can be purchased in grocery stores and drugstores at an average retail price of $10 per bottle.

If you’re drinking plenty of water, trying the herbal teas discussed here, taking fenugreek, and still struggling to produce enough milk for your child, it could be time to seek help from a professional lactation consultant.

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