Monday, June 4, 2012

Milkmaid tea...a galactagogue review

a lovely cup of tea on the porch
  Most breast-feeding new mums have a lot of worry about whether or not they are producing enough milk. I know I did, especially when the doctors were getting on my case about Evening gaining weight too slowly during our CF scare.  Lately it isn't something I've been worried about, but for the past few nights Evening has been sleeping straight on through for 10 hours or so, which has me worried the supply might start to dwindle.  Fortunately, I did my homework three months ago so I'm on top of this.

  Most pharmacies carry some sort of tea for nursing mothers, but it isn't always organic.  Eventually I discovered the Earth Mama Angel Baby ™ brand.  With adorable photos of mums and babies with wings adorning their products, I wholeheartedly admit I tried their tea over all others just to have the picture on the box (see photo).  I officially love this company.  They offer several organic teas for Earth Mamas, including Monthly Comfort tea, Heartburn tea for pregnant mamas-to-be (wish I'd known about that while I was pregnant!), Peaceful Mama tea for a good sleep, Morning Wellness tea for morning sickness, and even a Third Trimester tea; all of them happily organic.  You can see their full range of products (and lots more adorable mama and baby pictures) on their website  They also offer a free and very helpful ebook called A Comprehensive Guide to Herbs and Breastfeeding on their website that I highly recommend for breastfeeding mums (, as it offers an easy to follow list of what herbs are good for your milk, and which are not so good. 

  I have a box of Monthly Comfort tea sitting in my pantry waiting for my monthlies to return, and I have a sample box en route as we speak, but for now I've only tried the Milkmaid Tea.  The main galactagogue (holy crappers!!  What a magnificent word!!!  No need for the dictionary today mum, a galactagogue is something that induces milk production) in Milkmaid Tea is fennel, which has a bit of  black licorice flavour.  This seems to be the common ingredient in most galactagogue teas, and that is wonderful because it packs a secondary use for baby.  Fennel assists in easing gas and tummy upsets in baby and is one of the ingredients in Gripe Water ™ which mums of colicky babies everywhere have heard of.  A herb that induces milk production AND makes baby's tummy feel better?  Nature, you wonderful, wonderful creature, you.   No wonder they call you Mother.  

  Some galactagogue teas contain only fennel, like the pharmacy brand I tried first, and I found it to be a bit intense for my liking.  The Milkmaid Tea combines other galactagogue herbs (fenugreek, stinging nettle, milk thistle, anise seed, caraway, and alfalfa) as well as orange peel with gives a nice flavour to the tea.  It also contains red raspberry leaf, which is a fantastic herb for uterine health.  What uterus doesn't deserve some extra love after pregnancy?   The tea is certified organic by the USDA and QAI, and certified kosher by EarthKosher, so it's not only safe - it's pure! 

  Milkmaid tea is not a looseleaf tea and also the tea bags were clustered and wrapped in what seems like plastic, but then I discovered that the tea bag is biodegradable, and the 'plastic' is isn't plastic at all.  I just hope it isn't like the Sun Chips™ bags in my compost that I so love to hate.    

  The real question, though, does Milkmaid Tea work?  I can tell you that it definitely works for me.  When I first drank this tea months ago I would be completely and painfully engorged within an hour, which certainly suggested that I didn't need to be drinking it (even if I was stubborn for a while just the same).  In truth, the non-organic pharmacy brand I tried had me engorged within a half hour, but it wasn't organic and didn't taste as good, so I prefer the Milkmaid Tea.  The suggested serving on the box is 1-3 cups daily, and I've never needed more than one.  I'm  not experiencing any engorgement this time around, but my breasts certainly feel fuller and firmer sooner after she nurses, which tells me that it's working fine and that one cup is all I need for now.  Which is too bad, because it's tasty enough for more

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