As a new breastfeeding mother, you want to do everything you can to provide nourishing milk for your baby. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, your milk supply seems to be lower than you'd like. Don't worry - you're not alone. Many moms struggle to produce breast milk, especially in those first few weeks, as your body is still regulating production.
The good news is there are quite a few lactation drinks you can try that are specifically designed to support and increase breast milk production. These drinks contain natural herbs, electrolytes, nutrients, and hydrating liquids that work together to make your breastfeeding journey just a little easier while getting a good dose of deliciousness.
In this article, we'll explore the top lactation drinks for increasing milk supply, how they work, and when to expect results. We'll also look at some superfoods and DIY options you can whip up at home.
With the right information and support, you can get your milk supply to where you want it to be. So brew yourself a cup of lactation tea, and let's get started!
The Importance of Hydration for Milk Supply
Before we dive into specific lactation drinks, let's talk about the foundation of producing enough milk - hydration. Breast milk is 87% water, so if you're dehydrated, your milk supply can take a hit. The Institute of Medicine recommends lactating moms drink around 14 cups (3.3 liters) of total fluids per day.
Aim to drink to thirst and choose hydrating fluids like water, herbal tea, fruit-infused water, coconut water, soups, and smoothies. Limit caffeine and alcohol as these have diuretic effects. You're on the right track if your urine is light yellow or nearly clear. Dark urine can be a sign you need more fluids.
Staying hydrated provides the basic building blocks for milk production. Lactation drinks build on this by supplying extra nutrients, electrolytes, and milk-boosting herbs and galactagogues.
Ensure you drink to thirst, as too much water can lower your breast milk supply!
The Most Popular Drinks That Increase Milk Supply
When it comes to boosting breast milk supply, moms have found several go-to beverage options. Let's explore some of the most popular drinks for increasing milk supply.
Body Armor: A Popular Choice Among Moms
Body Armor sports drink has become a favorite among nursing mothers. This coconut water-based beverage provides hydration from electrolytes, vitamins like vitamin C and B12, and minerals including potassium and magnesium.
While individual results may vary, many moms report an increase in milk supply after drinking Body Armor. The electrolytes and hydration it provides likely play a key role. It's tasty too - a win-win!
Starbucks' Pink Drink: A Trendy Treat for Nursing Moms
The Pink Drink from Starbucks, also known as the Strawberry Acai Refreshers®, has become an internet phenomenon among breastfeeding mothers. This pretty pink beverage is a blend of Starbucks' Strawberry Acai Refresher, coconut milk, and real strawberry pieces.
While there’s no hard scientific proof, many moms enthusiastically claim the Starbucks Pink Drink increases their milk supply. It does provide hydration, tastes great, and gives nursing mothers an enjoyable reason to boost fluid intake. If you're watching your sugars, this may not be the drink for you.
GreaterThan Coconut Water: Nature's Electrolyte Boost
GreaterThan coconut water is another great option for hydration and electrolytes. Made from pure coconut water (not just coconut flavoring!), it contains potassium, magnesium and vitamin C.
GreaterThan makes getting coconut water's hydration and nutrients easy in a convenient, on-the-go bottle.
Mother's Milk Tea: A Classic Tea Recommended To Breastfeeding Moms
Mother's Milk Tea is a longtime favorite breastfeeding drink among nursing mothers. This natural herbal tea contains a blend of galactagogue herbs like fenugreek, fennel, and blessed thistle, traditionally used to support breastfeeding women.
While direct scientific evidence is limited, many moms find drinking a few cups of Mother's Milk Tea daily helps their milk come in fully and stay plentiful.
If you have thyroid issues or are taking other herbal supplements, be sure to consult your doctor before drinking Mother's Milk Tea.
Daily Dose Greens: The Ultimate Lactation Drink
Daily Dose Greens offers the ideal balance of superfoods to target the unique needs of nursing moms.
It provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes from premium sources like cold-pressed barley grass juice, spirulina, spinach, oats and more. These ingredients help increase breast milk supply and provide key nutrients to nourish you and your little one.
This superfood blend also contains sunflower lecithin and plant-based enzymes. Sunflower lecithin thins breastmilk to prevent clogged ducts and improve milk flow. While digestive enzymes from kiwi, papaya, and pineapple keep both breastfeeding mama and baby comfortable by preventing gas and colic symptoms.
Compared to other options, Daily Dose's Superfoods for Motherhood offers complete nutritional support without concerning additives like fenugreek. It's the gold standard for safety, efficacy, and optimal nutrition for breastfeeding.
Simply mix with water for an easy lactation boost free of the risks posed by fenugreek. Superfoods for Motherhood offers breastfeeding mothers the safest, most effective way to enhance milk supply through real food nutrition.
Herbal Lactation Teas
For centuries, women have turned to herbal teas to promote milk supply. Many of these herbs have phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen and boost prolactin levels. The ritual of sipping a cozy cup of tea can be comforting as well. The most common lactation tea ingredients include:
Fenugreek: This is one of the oldest and most popular galactagogues, but there are some concerns about how it can affect both mama and baby.
Fennel: Known for its licorice-like flavor, fennel acts as a galactagogue and digestive aid.
Blessed thistle: With a slightly bitter taste, this herb has a long history of use as a galactagogue that promotes oxytocin and prolactin secretion.
Nettle: Rich in vitamins and minerals, stinging nettle is high in vitamins and minerals to support a healthy milk supply.
Many moms swear by the benefits of milk-boosting herbs like fenugreek, fennel, and nettle. Other herbs like ginger, coriander, and red raspberry leaf are also common. You can enjoy 2-3 cups of lactation tea per day. Effects may take 3-7 days, but can last 4-6 weeks.
Tip: Make a big batch and refrigerate for easy iced tea. Some moms add milk and brewed tea to smoothies too.
Fenugreek: Why You Should Avoid It
Fenugreek is an herb that has traditionally been used to boost milk supply. However, there are several important reasons why breastfeeding mothers may want to avoid it:
It can cause side effects like diarrhea, gas, and bloating
Potential to lower blood sugar levels dangerously
Lack of research on whether it transfers to breastmilk
May interact poorly with thyroid issues
While fenugreek works for some women, there are safer options without negative side effects. Always discuss supplements with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a thyroid disorder.
Lactation Smoothies: Coconut Milk to Oats
Smoothies and shakes make it easy for breastfeeding moms to consume extra protein, superfoods, and herbs that support a healthy milk supply.
Many lactation shakes also incorporate galactagogue superfoods and herbs like brewer's yeast, oats, flaxseeds, fennel, and spirulina. These ingredients have traditionally been used for increasing milk production.
Drinking a lactation smoothie once a day provides concentrated nutrition to support your milk supply. Most moms notice positive effects within 3-5 days of incorporating these nourishing shakes into their diet.
Plus, smoothies allow you to blend in protein-rich ingredients like greek yogurt, nut butters, and protein powders. Or add healthy fats like coconut milk to make a tasty and creamy mixture.
Lactation Protein Powders
Lactation protein powders are specially designed to boost breast milk supply. What makes them unique is they often contain several galactagogues in their formula. Since protein is vital during lactation, most experts recommend nursing mothers consume at least 25 additional grams of protein every day.
However, it's important to note that some lactation protein powders do contain fenugreek, which may pose risks like side effects or interactions for some mothers. I recommend looking for their fenugreek-free options to avoid potential issues.
You can purchase pre-made lactation shakes, or craft your own superfood-packed smoothie at home. Simply blend a scoop of lactation protein powder or greens powder into milk or yogurt, along with fruit, leafy greens, nut butter, chia seeds, or hemp hearts.
Coconut Water, Electrolyte Drinks and Sports Drinks
Staying hydrated is crucial for boosting milk supply, and electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut water and sports drinks can help.
Plain old water Yes, good ol' H2O is still the gold standard when it comes to meeting your nursing hydration needs. Some filtered or bottled waters have added minerals. Aim for around 120 oz daily when breastfeeding.
Coconut water is naturally high in potassium, magnesium, and manganese - minerals lost through breastfeeding. The medium-chain triglycerides provide an energy boost too. Look for unsweetened varieties without added sugar.
Sports drinks like BodyArmor, GreaterThan, Gatorade, and Powerade replenish electrolytes and are formulated for rehydration. The carbohydrates also give you an energy lift. Just be mindful of sugar content.
Aim for 12-24 oz of coconut water or sports drink per day in addition to plain water. Many moms notice increased supply within 1-2 days. Avoid relying solely on coconut water long-term since the potassium content is high.
Tip: Make popsicles from diluted coconut water + pureed fruit for a refreshing treat.
Beet Juice and Vegetable Juices
Fresh juices made with produce like beets, carrots, spinach, and kale pack a nutritious punch.
Beets are particularly popular for lactation because they're very high in potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and vitamin C - all nutrients important for milk production.
Carrots provide vitamin A to support breast and mammary health.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale offer folate, vitamin K, calcium, and antioxidants.
You can juice veggies on their own, or create blends with fruits like apples, pears, berries, or pineapple. Aim for 8-12 oz of fresh juice per day. Effects may be noticed in 2-4 days. If buying bottled juice, check labels for added sugars.
Tip: Add a scoop of yogurt or nut butter to your juice for a nutrient and protein boost.
Lactation Water: Flavored and Infused Waters
If you find plain water boring, try sipping on lightly flavored water. Here are some easy DIY ideas:
Fruit-infused water - Add sliced fruit like lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, pineapple, or watermelon to cold water. Mix and match fruits to create your own signature flavor.
Herbal water - Steep fresh herbs like spearmint, basil, rosemary, or sliced ginger in chilled water for subtle flavor without calories.
Lactation water - Make "red raspberry water" by infusing red raspberry leaf tea in water for a light, fruity taste.
Flavored seltzer - Jazz up plain seltzer with a splash of 100% fruit juice or blend in sliced fruit. Try citrus, pomegranate, cranberry, or cherry flavors.
You can sip infused water all day long to hit your hydration goals. Most moms notice an increase in 2-3 days as hydration improves. Get creative with combinations until you find some favorites.
Tip: Always use filtered water, and change out fruit/herbs daily for maximum flavor and nutrients.
Greens Powders for Breast Milk Supply
It's not always easy for busy moms to prepare fresh juices or consume enough leafy greens daily. That's where a breastfeeding-safe greens powder comes in handy! These supplements offer concentrated nutrition from superfoods like spinach, kale, spirulina, and barley grass.
But are greens powders safe while breastfeeding? Here are tips for finding a nursing-friendly option:
Avoid powders with stimulants, adaptogens, or fillers
Carefully read labels for any concerning ingredients
Look for powders specifically designed for pregnant/nursing moms
The right greens powder makes it easy to get comprehensive nutrition to support breastfeeding.
Superfoods for Breastfeeding Moms
As a new mom, I struggled to get enough nutrition and hydration. Now as a registered nurse and lactation counselor, I'm proud to be able to recommend my Superfoods for Motherhood blend. A greens powder specifically designed for the needs of a breastfeeding mother. Here are just some of what makes Superfoods for Motherhood so unique!
Barley Grass Juice Powder: This concentrated superfood contains vitamin B12, iron, and magnesium to nourish your milk supply. The juice powder retains optimal nutrition since it's not processed with heat or pressure.
Organic Leafy Greens: Packed with vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and minerals. Our blend includes spinach, kelp, and cracked-cell chlorella.
Sunflower Lecithin: Helps thin breast milk for an easier flow and aids in preventing clogged ducts. Plus, it provides a natural source of choline that enriches your breast milk.
Plant-Based Digestive Enzymes: Enzymes from sources like papaya, pineapple, and kiwi help alleviate gas and colic symptoms in breastfed infants.
I intentionally formulated this superfood blend without fenugreek because of its potential side effects.
Designed Specifically for Breastfeeding Mothers
I know firsthand the importance of specialized nutrition for nursing mothers. Unlike generic greens powders, Superfoods for Motherhood is tailored specifically for the unique needs of breastfeeding mothers. Finally, moms have a safe, gentle, and nutritionally comprehensive formula to nourish them during their breastfeeding journey!
When to Seek Help from a Lactation Consultant
If at first, you don't notice an improvement in your milk supply, don't get discouraged! Your situation may require a more customized approach, and scheduling an appointment with a lactation specialist is a great place to start. They can assess possible underlying causes like hormonal disorders, insufficient glandular tissue, or tongue/ lip ties in your little one.
Good lactation specialists can help identify if any of these factors are at play and will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. This may include herbal supplements, medications, feeding/pumping plans, bodywork, and more.
Having the right support makes all the difference. Be patient, keep nursing on demand, and know that your milk production can be optimized.
As you cuddle your precious little one, remember that breastfeeding is a journey filled with many ups and downs.
When your supply hits a slump, don't lose heart. There are many natural ways to increase your milk supply from home. From checking how your baby is latching to incorporating some of these lactation drinks. They are convenient, hydrating, and provide many nourishing ingredients that have sustained mamas for generations.
So drink up mama! Here's to an abundant milk supply and a smooth breastfeeding journey ahead!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for lactation drinks to work?
Most moms notice an increase in milk supply within 3-7 days of consistently using lactation drinks. Maximum effects are usually seen within 2 weeks. Patience and consistency are key.
When should I drink lactation drinks?
The best times are first thing in the morning, between breastfeeding/pumping sessions, and just before bed. However, you can drink lactation beverages anytime throughout the day.
Most lactation drinks contain herbs and ingredients that are generally recognized as safe during breastfeeding. However, always check with your doctor before trying new supplements, especially if your baby has sensitivities or allergies.
Do I need to keep drinking lactation drinks once my supply increases?
Once your supply is where you want it, you may be able to reduce consumption. It's important to note that lactation drinks can provide ongoing support and prevent decreases due to stress, menstruation, etc.
Can I drink too many lactation drinks?
It's best to go slow and not to overdo it. Getting too much of certain herbs may have unintended effects. Stick to recommended amounts, and watch your baby for any changes like fussiness, rash, or changes in sleep patterns.
What can I do if lactation drinks don't work?
Make sure you're using them consistently for at least 2 weeks. Check in with a lactation specialist to explore other underlying causes. Don't lose hope - keep nursing/pumping to signal your body to produce more milk.