By reading the title, you might assume this post is a review of the best galactagouges (or supply boosting foods and supplements) and which ones you should try. Let me start by saying cookies, teas, and other treats are delicious and can be very nutritious for anyone, especially a breastfeeding mom (who can totally use the extra calories! Read more about breastfeeding and nutrition here). That being said, if you are having supply issues, you need to work with a lactation support person to figure out what is going on. So how, then, if you're struggling with your supply, can you boost it? Well the first step is to figure out IF you actually have a supply issue. Many mothers perceive themselves as having a low milk supply, because their breasts don't feel full, because they don't have a large freezer stash, or because their little one is fussy. These aren't necessarily markers of low supply. Many of these moms will have a well established supply that is "just enough" for their baby, and really that's all that's needed. Some people say they are a "just enougher" as if it's a bad thing. But it's not! Your body is supposed to supply enough milk to meet the demand. Supplying more milk can be nice, but it's not necessary by any means.
Okay, so you've accurately assessed your perceived supply problem to find you are not making quite enough... what now? Cookies and teas can be a quick fix that help some women. The concern is they aren't much of a long term solution the majority of the time. These supply boosters mask an underlying problem. Ask, Why is my supply low? There are many. many factors that can contribute to a low milk supply. Some of these are medical. However, the majority of supply issues are a result of inappropriate breastfeeding management. Often, someone gave mom bad advice (whether that's a doctor, family member, friend, or other support person).
This reiterates why access to information and support are so important. So what can you do? Skin to skin and quality time can be an amazing solution. Some moms with benign suppoly issues, will be amazed with what a little extra oxytocin can do! Nursing on demand, and frequently is great for supply.
"Never wake a sleeping baby..."
"Never wake a sleeping baby" is what our parents say. But is this true? If you have supply issues and your baby is sleeping for long stretches during the day or at night, waking them to feed could make a world of difference. So you see, supply and demand will always drive breastfeeding. Cookies and teas.. they might taste good. They might help. Or they might make it worse. If you feel comfortable trying galactagogues, that's completely your decision. But please assess the situation with an experienced support person first, and don't fall victim to the scams that are "magical supply boosters". Don't doubt your ability to produce enough milk for your baby on your own. There are women who genuinely struggle. Yes. But they are not in the majority.
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