Breast milk supply boosting lactation tea – does it work? A review.

When breastfeeding Ng shared on Instagram that she would be releasing a lemonade lactation drink, I thought… ‘hm, that sounds interesting’. She added an introductory discount price, lol, so I jumped into her DM and ordered mine. Here’s my unbiased review.

Why would you consider a lactation drink or snack?

If you would like to pump larger quantities of milk. Or feel like your supply is low or might not be enough, you might choose to consider a lactation supplement.

These snacks or drinks are said to boost your milk supply using natural milk enhancing ingredients from nature. Examples of these ingredients are fennel, coriander, fenugreek and oats. They are not backed by research, but by mothers anecdotes.

What else should I know about supply?

It is very unlikely that you do have enough milk – many mums who think they have low supply may be surprised to find it’s not the case. Checking the weight of your breasts or looking at how much you can pump are NOT good ways to gauge whether your milk is satisfying or sufficient for your baby.

The best way to check that is to monitor if baby is putting on weight by looking to see if they have wet or dirty nappies, often.

Mums have also found that drinking water, not stressing, pumping or feeding baby regularly helps boost supply. See full listing of tips to try to boost your supply here.

So, back to my review. Breastfeeding Ng offers two flavours of lactating iced tea: watermelon and lemonade. I tried them both.

Here’s what I noticed:

🍉 It tastes like a tea, not too sweet and best served iced cold.

🍉 I like both flavours, but the watermelon in particular is that bit more interesting in taste.

🍉 I tried the watermelon at about 1pm in the afternoon and I felt like I could see the results quite soon. I don’t have supply issues or doubts my body is producing enough for my baby, but there seemed to be a noticeably fuller feeling in the breasts after I introduced the iced tea, than before.

🍉 The drink tends to make me very thirsty so I ended up drinking lots of water, more than I normally would daily. I don’t know if this is a planned side effect but it’s definitely a benefit which also helps boost supply.

🍉 It would depend on amounts in the particular supplement you take, but fenugreek actually contains iron, magnesium, manganese’s, vitaminb6 and dietary fibre. It is also said to aid digestion, boost the immune system and reduce cholesterol levels. So apart from the supply boosting benefits, there are other nutritional benefits too.

What could have been different?

🍋 I would have liked to see a more detailed label which includes the full ingredients in the drink so I know what I’m putting in my body. I read labels a lot so I was a bit disappointed not knowing what I was drinking exactly. I reached out to Breastfeeding NG and the owner explained that she would normally do that but didn’t have those labels ready. She explained it contains moringa, aniseed and fennel.

I think telling us what is in the bottle also contributes to customer assurance and trust.

🍋 It has a natural and healthy-ish taste and smell. For me, this was perfect as it was not too sweet but if you’re expecting the usual lemonade sugary-sweet taste, you’ll need to adjust your expectations.

Price: 700 a bottle

Delivery process: Seamless! I actually requested delivery before 12pm and it was confirmed that it was possible. They missed me and came back once I explained I was able to still receive it. A very pleasant service altogether that I was pleased with.

Verdict: I would buy it again. I have serious sugar cravings and have been turning to sweet drinks but this drink is able to satisfy my craving, but with likely less sugar contained and other benefits too.

Please note: this is not a paid advert. I purchased these drinks. My review expresses my view and is unbiased. Milk boosting supply drinks are considered safe generally, but please do check with your Doctor before consuming them.

15 Top Breastfeeding Tips for a New Mum

In the first few days after baby is born, it can seem like your life is consumed by breastfeeding. Those early days breastfeeding can be like an obsession, because you know it is how your baby is going to feed and grow, so the pressure is ON, sometimes even through painful, swollen breasts and cracked nipples. Mercy, who has experience helping mums breastfeed from volunteering at a breastfeeding centre in England and plenty of breastfeeding experience feeding her adorable two Chiddy and Amara , shares her 15 essential tip for a new mum below.

By now, most of us know that breastfeeding is the best first food for baby, if there are no complications or other circumstances. Breast milk contains so many wonderful things: proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antibodies that protect the infant from infection and build the infant’s immune system. It can also reduce mums chance of contracting breast cancer.

But for all the good we know, there is so much that we don’t know about, it seems. If I had a dollar for every time a woman shared the many things she didn’t know about breastfeeding before she had a baby, I would have bought my dream home by now!

Having all (or a lot of ) the information, can make a big difference in your breastfeeding journey. Here are some important things that I think every woman who is considering breastfeeding should know:

  1. The start may be challenging.

Women all around the world experience difficulties with breastfeeding in varying degrees. From mild cases of nipple soreness and engorgement when milk comes in to more complicated cases of mastitis, tongue/lip tie and low milk supply. Many of these issues can be easily resolved with the right support. So please don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen easily for you. You are not alone, please get some professional and medical help quickly.

 

  1. Colostrum is enough for the first few days.

The breast starts producing the first milk called “Colostrum” during late pregnancy (as early as 16 weeks in some women). This thick milk rich in proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins, is all your baby’s tiny and immature stomach needs in the first few days. It is full of antibodies and acts as a laxative to get rid of meconium (baby’s first stools). Because colostrum can’t be measured in ounces but in teaspoons, I find that a lot of women get confused and think they’re not producing enough milk and begin to supplement with formula immediately. Don’t panic, sister! Though your mature milk may take between 2-5 days to fully come in, your baby is not starving. Just maintain skin-to-skin contact and continue to put baby to the breast frequently.

 

  1. Take care of your nipples especially in the early days.

Lots of mothers report nipple soreness. Always squeeze and aim for a deep latch (push your breast right into baby’s mouth), with baby taking in the full areola because a poor latch where baby is only sucking on your nipple will cause damage. Baby should be sucking on the area around the nipple, not just nipple. Try rubbing breast milk all over your nipple before a feed. You can also use lanolin nipple cream. I’m a big fan of coconut oil so that’s what I’ve always used. Really take care of your nipples, mamas! So many women have given up breastfeeding because they couldn’t bear the pain of injured nipples. It might be painful in the beginning as your nipples get used to so much friction, but it does get better.

  1. Constant nursing in the early days is normal.

If it feels like your baby is constantly nursing, this is normal. Not only is breast milk very easily digested, remember that it is also food, drink and snack. Your breasts are also soothers (unless you decide to replace them with a pacifier, which isn’t recommended in the early days – explained further below). Newborn stomachs are also very small, so when your baby is nursing voraciously, bear this chart in mind:

  1. It is best to put the pacifier away until your supply is established.

Following on from my last point, it is best not to use a pacifier in the early days. This is so that you’re not replacing the time needed at the breast to stimulate it into producing as much milk as baby needs and establishing a healthy supply. It is also to avoid nipple confusion, which may then lead to difficulty latching correctly to the breast. I know it may seem like baby is attached to your breasts all the time but trust me, this time will pass before you know it.

 

  1. On demand feeding will help to build your milk supply.

Feeding baby on demand (feeding whenever baby needs i.e. not scheduling to feed every two hours. Just grab a bottle of water or your favourite drink and put on some Netflix or pick up a book and don’t bother watching the clock. AND let other people take care of housework. Your only “job” in the early days should be to nurse and bond with your baby and to allow yourself heal.

 

  1. Breastfeeding may act like a sleeping pill in the early days.

If you find yourself nodding off like a baby while nursing remember that it is due to a hormone called “Oxytocin” being released during let-down (release of milk). It is also the hormone released during sexual arousal/orgasm so go figure! Enjoy it while it lasts.

 

  1. Breast milk is enough for the first 6 months.

With a good supply, baby is able to thrive on just breast milk for 6 months. Some people will tell you that you need to supplement but this is just not true. I assure you that breast milk is enough unless there’s an issue with your supply and/or baby’s weight gain.

 

  1. You don’t have to supplement with formula.

I had to add this one because of how many times I have encountered it. When many mums face difficulties, their first thought is to whip out the tin of formula. However, there are many things you can try before resorting to formula, like expressing to give extra feeds or donor milk. If you really want baby to have breast milk exclusively, explore all your options and leave formula as a last resort. If you don’t have experts or knowledgeable people around you, the Internet is a very powerful tool. Consider making google your friend!

 

  1. Every little breast milk helps.

I strongly believe that some breast milk is better than no breast milk. If you have to mix feed or stop breastfeeding after a short while, rest assured that whatever milk you have been able to give will go a long way. Leave the guilt outside and shut the door!

 

  1. Breastfeeding may protect you against pregnancy.

It’s possible that breastfeeding would protect you against pregnancy. It has worked for so many women, myself included. But bear in mind that how you breastfeed matters. There are rules to follow and even then every woman’s body works differently. I will share more about this subject in another post, if you’re intersted.

 

  1. Being extra hungry and thirsty is normal.

Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day and breast milk contains over 80% water. So if you find yourself very hungry and thirsty, don’t be shocked. Eat and drink up! Also even if you can’t maintain a perfect diet, don’t worry. The nutrients in breast milk are drawn largely from the nutrient stores in your body so babies will always get what they need. Obviously, it is best to maintain a generally healthy diet especially for your own wellbeing but don’t stress over the odd MacDonald’s or if you’re like me, a whole packet of custard creams and tea.

  1. You CAN breastfeed past 6 months.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of 6 months (when you introduce solids) and carrying on breastfeeding till the age of 2 and beyond. Yes you can breastfeed a toddler if it’s still mutually beneficial. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m an extended breastfeeding mama and I’m here to encourage you. Carry on, ladies!

  

  1. Breastfeeding remains beneficial for as long as it lasts

Whether it’s for nutrition or comfort, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing something wrong. Someone once told me that there’s nothing left in my breast but water so I should stop breastfeeding my toddler. Research has shown that for as long as you breastfeed, the milk remains beneficial to your child. And to be honest even if my milk was no longer doing anything, I would still carry on because there is more to breastfeeding than milk transfer. My body, my baby, my choice.

 

  1. Support is EVERYTHING!

Lastly remember that support is everything. Find a lactation specialist near you. Befriend other breastfeeding mothers. If you’re struggling, seek help immediately. In fact, don’t wait until there’s a problem to seek support. Sometimes, just having someone to rant to about late night feeds and lack of sleep, is all a nursing mother needs to keep her sane. I will add a list of helpful links at the bottom and of course I’m always here to answer any questions or refer you to someone that might be able to help. Happy breastfeeding to all who are nursing.

Thank you so much, Mercy.

Mums, what would you add to the list of things new mamas should know about breastfeeding? Was there something you did that you think made a difference for your early breastfeeding days? Please share in the comments, below.

 

Useful links

La Leche League International

La Leche League UK 

KellyMom

Unicef Baby Friendly

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers

Association of Tongue Tie Practitioners

5 New Trends in Breastfeeding

 

Let’s be real, breastfeeding takes over you life as a new Mum!

Especially, if you’re trying to do it exclusively – that is offering baby ONLY breastmilk and no formula at all. I remember going through those first weeks of breastfeeding and understanding why Mums say you feel like a cow. Milk was literarily everywhere – breast pad, baby’s clothes, your clothes. I spent the early days carrying my breastfeeding pillow around with me in the house, because positioning baby on my lap was still awkward. My breasts were heavy (painfully heavy when the milk first came in) and I cannot forget trying not to cry from the pain on first latch by baby.

Like many women, I persevered because  – bonding, and the thought of baby getting milk made perfectly for them with antibodies etc was very satisfying.

The trends below are a salute to Women’s resilience. What I see is Women making breastfeeding work for them and professionals doing more to support women going through the process. And I love that! You want to do what’s right of baby, but that shouldn’t come as a sacrifice to your health, sanity and happiness entirely.

Check out these new trends in Breastfeeding:

1. Exclusive pumping

This involves only feeding your baby breastmilk from the bottle ONLY and not putting them directly to the breast. Reasons why you might do this:

  • you cannot get baby to latch on,
  • you suffer from breastfeeding aversion (see point 2),
  • your baby gets used to the bottle and refuses to breastfeed on the breast continuously or
  • just out of choice – thats what you want to do!

2.  Breastfeeding Aversion and Agitation (BAA) is REAL.

BAA is described as having negative feelings when your baby is latched on and sucking on the breast.

This is something that affects mums, that they may be shy to share about. There may be a feeling of guilt or shame attached, since we are told breastfeeding should be a natural and thats the opposite of what they are feeling in that moment. It might be temporary or only happen when you’re on your period or on certain days. For some, you just cannot breastfeed at all because of the feeling and might choose instead to go for exclusive pumping.

It’s so important that this feeling is labelled because it is something women are experiencing. Someone close to you may be going through it and not even know there’s a name for it. The more of us who know, the more we can support our sisters, wives and friends or show them where to get support, if they experience these feelings. There is a dedicated website for women experiencing Breastfeeding Aversion & Agitation (BAA), please visit: breastfeedingaversion.com.

3. Adoptive Mums can breastfeed

Induced lactation involves teaching your body to produce milk for a baby, in this case, a baby you have adopted.  You do it by putting your baby to the breast to suckle. If baby is willing and does it, then you repeat this un till milk flows.

I found this very fascinating, but I do wonder why it would be of top importance to have this particular bonding experience with your adoptive baby. In any case, I cannot speak on it much since I haven’t been in the position. What do you guys think – did you or someone you know achieve this successfully?

4. Sadness and Depression during weaning

This usually happens when a mum is forced to wean before she is ready. Some Mums still cannot pump at work comfortably or travel and come back and baby is not interested. This sadness is also more common in mums who have a history of depression. It is believed to be caused by changes in hormone levels. When you’re breastfeeding, the hormones prolactin (brings wellness, calmness, relaxation) and oxytocin (increases positive attitudes like bonding)  are released. So stopping can cause a big drop in these hormones and that may in turn lead to sadness and possibly depression.

As usual, if you suspect a friend or family member is experiencing this, please advise them to talk to you and  a Doctor, who can offer advice and professional help. No one who is suffering these feelings should have to do it on their own.

5. Lactation cookies, muffins and teas

I would say that this is a trend that is new for Nigeria in particular. Two Mums operating as Milky Express and The Milk Booster, are offering breastfeeding advice on Instagram, alongside selling home made cookies and muffins. These snacks can help Mums maintain or increase they supply of milk.

With many Nigerians mums returning to work after a three month maternity leave, these products are helpful to those who want to achieve at least six months of exclusively breastfeeding, especially. New Mums, Funto Ibuoye and Anita Okoye – who is a twin mama, have endorsed the products, sharing that they have found them helpful. If you’re that Mum who has been thinking a lot about your milk supply and returning to work or just boosting your supply, these products could be for you! Find them on Instagram @milkyexpress and @themilkbooster.

….

Alright Mums, let me know what you think. Are you exclusively pumping? Are you currently using lactation snacks and do you find them helpful? Share below, please. Let’s do this together, I am personally preparing to get into breastfeeding very shortly again!

———-

Ps: I will be running my first detailed & paid course:

 The Biggies’ – all the key considerations for your first year with baby.

There will be webinars that cover breastfeeding, weaning, sleep, play & early learning, TV & screen time, Nanny vs Creche (and handouts to help choose either), transitioning older sibling when baby arrives and more. All those big topics you’re thinking about as a new Mum or second time Mum who wants to do things differently this time.

I am very excited, because for once I will be able to give full information, tying all the topics I have been sharing for two years now on Instagram, together.  You will put forward your personal questions, which we will answer. It will act as a small, closed support group of mums with children of similar age.

I will also at this point have a new baby and toddler. Everything is just as REAL for me, as it is for you. If you are interested, please fill this form (it asks for your name, email, subject & message). In the subject put ‘The Biggies’. In message tell me your baby’s date of birth. I’m exciteddddddddd. 

———-

When Baby Refuses Bottle Feeding – 10 Tricks to Try

Is your exclusively breastfed baby refusing to drink from the bottle?

I know the feeling! But do not despair, there is hope.

It may be tricky at first, but you can still get baby to drink their milk.

I have found some wonderful tips that you can try. Check them out below:

 

1. Use a baby cup

Try with and without the spout. Have baby drink like we do – from the rim of the cup. The newness of that may encourage baby to drink. Or try with spout, or spoon or a wide brimmed baby bowl.

 

2.Have someone else feed baby from the bottle. 

When you are not in the same room. Try this with tip number 6!

 

3. Feed baby bottle with their back to you. 

So hold baby facing outward, in cradle position. Or have baby sitting upright, again facing outward.

 

4. Warm the nipple with cooled boiled water.

Just so the nipple is not cold.

 

5. Put baby in a swing or bouncer to distract them while you offer bottle.

Or you can trying rocking and moving as you offer the bottle.

 

6. Put mums t-shirt or piece of clothing on

Or something that smells like you close during the feed.

 

7. Offer bottle when baby has just woken up (but not fully awake yet)

Or when baby is sleepy or when baby is asleep.

 

8. Tickle baby’s lower lip to get them to open their mouth.

Don’t force bottle in. If you try and baby is resisting, do not continue beyond 10 minutes. Stop and then try again at another time.

 

9. Try different temperatures of the milk

Warm, cold or very warm (but not hot so doesn’t burn baby’s mouth.

 

10. Try a different bottle nipple/teat. 

Different nipples have different flows. Also a silicone nipple may feel more natural, like an actual breast nipple.

 

And that’s it. It might also help to get into a routine of trying the bottle at the same time everyday. So offering baby a bottle every evening, for example. If you can get Daddy or Grandma or Carer on your side to support the effort, that will remove or at least reduce the pressure you feel.

 

Some more thoughts on the topic:

When’s the best time to introduce a bottle?

There’s a lot of debate about when the ‘right time’ is, to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby. If you want to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months (or longer), you might be hesitant to introduce the bottle because you don’t want to sabotage your success with breastfeeding.

 

Nipple confusion

There’s also something called ‘nipple confusion’ – because the bottle is technically easier to drink from than the breast, the breast suckling requires more effort, we are told  if we introduce the bottle too early, baby may like it better and then refuse the breast because its more work!

 

Preparing for a return to work 

However, if you’re going back to work between 6 weeks to 4 months, you might feel pressure to know baby will drink from the bottle, or some other means, when you are not home. Knowing baby is comfortably fed while you’re at work will give you major peace of mind, as you prepare for your return to work.

I don’t have the answers. I offer a solution prescribed by one of the links I have listed below. You could try this: At 3-4 weeks (or 2-3 weeks if you are returning to work at 6 weeks), you can begin pumping after feedings for 4-5 minutes if your baby had a good feeding, or 8-10 minutes if he didn’t nurse well or only nursed on one breast.

 

Mums, on this one, I’m counting on hearing your experience. What worked for your baby? When did you first introduce the bottle? Did your baby ever experience nipple confusion? Please share with plenty of details for other working mums in these shoes.

 

sources:
Motherandchildhealth | BreastfeedingBasics