Updated: Jul 20, 2020
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!). That being said, if you are having supply issues, no amount of supplements will solve the problem. Instead, it will be very important to determine the cause of your low milk supply, by working with a lactation professional, and creating a plan to increase your milk.
I know, I know... you're scrolling through Pinterest at 2am and need answers and solutions NOW. You need peace. You don't need to play the waiting game. You need an answer tonight. 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. Times I DO recommend trying this approach is if you have a plentiful supply, but are hoping to pump a little extra milk to stash for a date night or emergency... even then I have better solutions than supplements... but really, that's the only time when I think teas and cookies would be an acceptable final solution.
The issue I have with lactation cookies or teas is they aren't much of a long term solution for someone with legitimate milk supply issues. These supply boosters mask an underlying problem. Ask yourself, Why is my supply low? There are many factors that can contribute to a low milk supply. Some of these are medical. However, the majority of supply issues I've worked with mothers on 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) and that resulted in mom limiting her baby's time at the breast, therefore limiting her ability to make milk....
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. If you have a medical condition that may affect your milk supply, I highly recommend working closely with a lactation consultant to build a plan to reach your breastfeeding goals.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, & IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central New Jersey. Mother of three, military wife, and lover of coffee, Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital and home births in South Jersey. Jaimie is excited to also serve families from all over the United States with online childbirth classes, online breastfeeding classes, and virtual pregnancy, birth plan, and lactation consulting! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers!
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Have you heard the bottomless mimosa analogy? The more you drink your mimosa, the more the server will pour.... If you don't remove milk, your body won't refill the boob. Don't wait til your cup is full to drink.... just keep drinking when you want. Don't wait til your breasts are full to feed your baby... just keep feeding on demand.