What Is Lactation Tea—and Does It Really Work?

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Looking to boost your milk supply? The answer may be as simple as steeping a comforting cup of lactation tea.

Thanks to that 3 a.m. feeding last night, you’re probably craving a cup of coffee right now. How about tea instead? If you’ve been searching for a way to boost your milk supply for your hungry baby, you’ve probably come across recipes for lactation tea. Moms need to know about these lactation foods, too.

What Is Lactation Tea?

While the ingredients may differ slightly from brand to brand, lactation tea is an herbal tea that contains supplements believed to increase a mother’s milk supply.

Does Lactation Tea Really Work?

You probably have a friend or neighbor who raves about the benefits of lactation tea. Well, when researching this piece, I put my nurse hat on and was unable to find any quality medical studies on the effectiveness of lactation tea. Because these teas are considered supplements, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and thus do not have to prove their results.

That being said, most lactation teas are caffeine-free and contain small amounts of herbs so are most likely safe to try. Always check with your pediatrician if you have any questions, though. By the way, it’s best to avoid these foods when breastfeeding.

What Are the Best Lactation Tea Herbs?

When you’re looking for a tea to try, consider the herbs listed on the ingredients label. You’ll want to keep an eye out for fenugreek, blessed thistle and goat’s rue. Each of these unusual ingredients is thought to help boost milk production. Here’s how much baby should eat during the first year.

Which Lactation Tea Should I Try?

If you’d like to give it a go, look for a lactation tea that is made with real, whole ingredients and doesn’t contain sugar or caffeine. Your doctor or lactation consultant may have recommendations but here are a few to get you started:

Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea ($26 for 96 tea bags) uses high-quality herbs from ethical trading partnerships. It ticks all the boxes as it’s non-GMO verified, certified organic, kosher and caffeine-free. It has a sweet, licorice flavor. The only downside? 3-5 cups of tea are recommended per day for optimal benefits.

Pink Stork Lactation Tea ($15 for 15 tea bags) combines organic herbs including blessed thistle, fenugreek, marshmallow root, fennel, anise and licorice to boost milk supply. It also contains herbs believed to soothe a baby’s tummy. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, and we love that the tea bags are biodegradable. This is, however, one of the more expensive options.

Earth Mama Milkmaid Tea ($7 for 16 tea bags) combines organic fennel seed and herbs to naturally support your milk supply. It’s also great hot or iced and is non-GMO verified and kosher. Making too much milk? This brand also offers a tea that can reduce production.

Not into tea? You can bake a batch of lactation cookies instead.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.