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What Is Mother's Milk® Tea?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated May 17, 2024
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Mother's Milk® tea is a drink rich in phytoestrogens, plant-derived compounds that have mild estrogen-like properties. Phytoestrogens may improve breastfeeding by cultivating healthy breast tissue and increasing milk production. This tea, which tastes like licorice, needs to be steeped for ten minutes to release the beneficial phytoestrogens. The effectiveness of this tea varies among breastfeeding women.

The ingredients of Mother's Milk® tea that contribute to the tea’s licorice flavor are anise and fennel. Mother's Milk® tea also contains the herbs coriander, fenugreek, and blessed thistle. All of these ingredients are rich in phytoestrogens, which bind to estrogen receptors in breast tissue, augmenting the natural estrogen present in the body. The result is breast tissue enhancement and, in some women, an increase in milk supply.

This herbal tea can be made at home but is also readily available from health food stores. To prepare Mother's Milk® tea, the ingredients are steeped for ten minutes in hot water to ensure that the brew is properly infused with the valuable phytoestrogens. This tea can be sweetened by adding sugar or honey. The strong licorice flavor can be muted by cooling the tea and drinking it cold or mixing it with apple juice.

Typically, one cup of this tea per day is enough to increase milk supply; however, when first started, it may take a few days before benefits are observed. In some women, this herbal drink has no impact on lactation. Many women who use this tea choose to drink it at night to enhance the production of breast milk when they are sleeping and unable to eat and drink.

There are some instances where adding an extra cup of this tea for a few days may be helpful. When a breastfeeding woman is menstruating, the milk supply will sometimes decrease slightly. Adding a second cup of Mother's Milk® tea to the daily routine may augment milk production during this time. An additional cup of this tea may also briefly increase milk supply enough to help feed a baby who temporarily increases feedings due to a period of growth or illness. In addition, when the mother is sick and taking decongestants, which can dramatically decrease milk supply, adding an extra cup of Mother's Milk® tea to the diet may help to offset the impact of the medicine.

Some herbs can interact with prescription medications. Before this herbal supplement is started, the mother should discuss its use with both her obstetrician and her child’s pediatrician. This will ensure that the tea is safe for the mother and child.

Fenugreek is being explored for its anti-diabetic properties. It is especially important for breastfeeding mothers who are diabetic to talk with their doctors before adding this tea to their diet. The fenugreek ingredient may also impact the blood sugar levels of non-diabetic mothers. Women using this tea need to be sensitive to the way it makes them feel and possibly eat some food with the drink to avoid any problems.

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