If you’re a breastfeeding mum, you’ll have probably experienced the worry of whether or not you’re producing enough milk for your growing baby.
With all this pressure put on us mums to provide enough milk, it’s no surprise there are a number of products on the market claiming to help boost our milk supply.
One of the most popular products amongst breastfeeding mums is breastfeeding tea, or lactation tea as it’s sometimes called.
As with everything we put in our body when breastfeeding, it’s important to consider if it’s safe, how it works, what’s in it and if it even works to boost our milk supply?
What is breastfeeding tea?
This special kind of tea is a form of herbal tea, marketed as a supplement to help boost your breast milk production. Many breastfeeding women swap their usual cup of tea with a nursing tea, with many mums enjoying 3-5 cups per day.
It usually comes in tea bags or as loose leaf tea and is always caffeine-free. The tea leaves usually contain ingredients including high-quality fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and blessed thistle to name a few. These ingredients are often referred to as the galactagogues herbs, which in Greek translates to ‘bringer of milk’ and they have been used for centuries to help support milk supply for breastfeeding mums.
Does breastfeeding tea work?
The scientific evidence isn’t all that conclusive, and while some mums swear by it, the jury is still out on whether breastfeeding tea will definitely improve a nursing mother’s milk flow.
Either way, getting more fluids into your system is a positive thing when you’re breastfeeding (it can be very thirsty work!), and if a nice, warming cup of tea can help you relax as a new mum, then we think it’s a good thing!
Is it safe to drink?
As with any herbal remedy or supplement, it’s always important to talk to your GP first before you start taking it, especially if you think you’re having problems with your breast milk supply, as something else could be causing this issue.
The best breastfeeding teas to try
One mum reviewer said: 'It's not the nicest tea but it works, my milk supply was low and I'd bought every supplement, ate all the foods recommended online to increase my milk production and nothing worked. This was my last thing to try before I packed in breastfeeding and I'm thrilled it's worked - my daughter is 7 weeks old, I have medical problems I never had with my other 2 and they were exclusively breastfed, I've had to mix feed my daughter - within 12 hours of drinking the first cup, my breasts were filling up with milk! It's been a few days of drinking 2-4 cups a day and i'm now almost exclusively feeding via breast - its expensive but worth it!!'
One mum reviewer said: 'They actually work. I'm not a big fan of hot drinks so although it advised 2-3 cups a day, I was only having 1 a day and saw an increase immediately. Recently I've upped it to 2 bags a day and have managed to double the amount of expressed milk. I admit they are more costly then the other brands but the taste is much nicer in my opinion, they're not overpowering like a lot of herbal teas, just a mild liquorice taste. The quality and packaging is brilliant and the hand written note and midwife advice was a nice touch, very quick delivery and I would definitely recommend them, I've already stocked up.'
One mum reviewer said: 'I started drinking this tea when my baby was 3 months old as I noticed a decrease in my milk production and after I started drinking this tea it really did help me, I always take 2 a day, I drink one first thing in the morning before breakfast and another one in the evening. It has also helped with my digestion and I feel it’s helped me loose weight too! Now it’s been 4 months of drinking this tea and I continue ordering and still continue to exclusively breast feed my 7 month baby girl. Only downside I would say is that the quality of the tea bags is a bit poor so sometimes you do end up with some herbs in your mouth but it’s not like it’s going to cause you any harm anyway. I also think the taste is good.'
On mum reviewer said: 'I bought these to improve lactation and it worked within the week and I was able to collect milk for the freezer in addition to her normal feeds. I've tried a couple different brands and these are by far the best quality ingredients and the same bag can be reused a few times so you can stretch the cost as they are pricey - other brands don't work as well on a second / third brew. A nice bonus is that my baby's reflux calmed down massively after drinking, so the ingredients must be good for her tummy and she sleeps soundly all night at 10 weeks old, which she couldn't do before with obvious tummy pains. It's made a huge improvement to the amount of milk she brings up and her quality of sleep so for that reason alone I'll keep buying and recommending.'
One mum reviewer says: 'This really works and pretty much straight away. I drank this 4 years ago with my son and again now with my 2 week old. I breastfeed only and this tea is magic. Just don't make the mistake to drink before bed or when you're popping out and planning to not feed until you get home.'
One mum reviewer said: 'I've tried various supplements for milk production (lactation cookies, fenugreek tablets, brewers yeast etc) but this is the thing that seemed to actually make a difference. I pumped significantly larger amounts of milk since starting 2 cups per day. I thought I'd hate the taste but taking it cold really helps and I find it a refreshing drink like that. Worth a try.'