Increasing Milk Supply: Homemade Mother’s Milk Tea

IMG_6143-1I have personally struggled with keeping up a healthy and rich milk production for my babies. I have battled with discouragement and failure when not able to satisfy my child’s need. The Lord has done a good work in my heart, calling me to trust Him that He will provide my child with the nourishment required to grow healthy and strong. My responsibility is to do my best in eating nutritionally, nursing as frequently as my son needs it to increase my supply, but ultimately God is in control, to which I am thankful.

Here are a few resources and recipes I have found helpful in the journey of nourishing my babies…

I am currently studying herbology in my spare time, which I have found truly fascinating. There are many available herbs in creation that are galactagogues, herbs that increase breast milk supply. Once again, I am amazed at God’s glorious provisions for us. Thank you Lord!

There are several varieties of Mother’s Milk tea that include these herbs available on the market. I have tried and enjoyed Tropical Medicinals Mother’s Milk Tea and Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea. Milkmaid Tea is superior in flavor and effectiveness, although more expensive than Tropical Medicinals. Overall, I favor the frugal and fresher alternative in a homemade variety. I have been making my own Mother’s Milk tea for the last few weeks and have been encouraged with the results. These herbs are not only good for milk production, but also will encourage and strengthen your entire body, keeping it healthy and strong. All these herbs are available in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs, which offers the best herbs that are either organic or cultivated without chemicals.

Mother’s Milk Tea

1/2 cup nettle leaf, dried (a vitamin factory, high in calcium, iron, potassium, etc. -strengthens and tones entire system)
1/2 cup red raspberry leaf, dried (nourishing tonic for the reproductive system, high in calcium)
1/4 cup alfalfa leaf, dried (a superlative restorative tonic, rebuilding vitality and boosting milk supply)
1/4 cup dandelion leaf, dried (beneficial for all conditions due to the wonderful source of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and micronutrients)
1/4 cup fennel seed (Increase milk production and tone the digestive system, curtailing colic and indigestion) – you could also substitute fennel with any of these seeds: anise, cumin, caraway, coriander or dill
1/4 cup blessed thistle, dried (Stimulates the milk flow and helps restore vitality to weary mothers)
ground cinnamon, to flavor

You can make as little or as much as you desire. I choose to make a larger batch at once and used 1/4 cup as my 1 part measurement, but you could cut the recipe in half as desired. This produced about 1 quart full of dried herbs. Combine herbs well and cover securely with a lid. Store in a dark cupboard as light will cause nutrition lose. Use about 1 tablespoon herbs per cup of boiling water. Allow to steep covered for 15 minutes before consuming. Best results if you consumed 3-5 cups per day. You can change this recipe as desired, if you do not have access to all these herbs. The best galactic herbs are nettle, alfalfa, blessed thistle, and red raspberry leaf. The other herbs add wonderful nutrition and are healing to the body. The herbs can be rather bland and grassy tasting on their own, so I added cinnamon (about 1-2 tsp for this quantity), which provided a delightful flavoring. You could try chamomile or lemon balm as an alternative. A teaspoon of honey tops it off for a refreshing tea beverage. I use my french press for this recipe with perfect results.

Other methods of increasing milk supply include:

Oatmeal- a good bowl of oatmeal daily is an excellent means of increasing your milk supply.

Bump Up the Calcium – Loading up on calcium is very valuable.

Water – drink lots of water!

Rest – when the body is weary, it will not be so inclined to produce milk.

Fenugreek – I have been taking a fenugreek supplement in capsule form for its helpful benefits of increasing milk supply. Fenugreek can also be added to the mother’s milk tea listed above.

Here are a few tips from A Wise Woman’s Herbal for the Childbearing Years (page 85):

Apricots, asparagus, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, pecans and all leafy greens such a beet greens, Parsley, Watercress, and Dandelion leaves are considered helpful in increasing and sustaining lactation.

Borage leaves – The leaves of this herb are highly regarded as a tea for increasing milk flow. Half a cupful of borage tea at each nursing insures an abundant supply of milk, acts as a mild laxative, and soothes jangled nerves.

Fennel/Barley Water - Prepare barley water by soaking 1/2 cup pearled (regular) barley in 3 cups cold water overnight or by boiling for 25 minutes. Strain out barley and discard or add to a soup. Heat a cup or two of the barley water to boiling as needed, store the rest in the refrigerator. Pour 1 cup boiling barley water over 1 teaspoon fennel seeds and steep for no longer than 30 minutes. The combination not only increases the breast milk, but eases after-pains and settles the digestion of mom and babe.

What if none of these recommendations work? Here are a few resources for the safest and healthiest supplementation:

GMO-Free Infant Formula – great article on increasing your milk supply and safe infant formula alternatives.
Recipe for Homemade Baby Formula – the best alternative if you cannot produce your own milk supply.

It works for me!

Any tips to share for naturally increasing your milk supply?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

103 Responses to Increasing Milk Supply: Homemade Mother’s Milk Tea

  1. Kristen February 3, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Please, please, please do not feed raw milk to your babies (or drink while pregnant). This website suggests you get milk from ‘cows certified free of disease’ – there is no such thing, and it’s not the cow’s diseases you should worry about – it’s the bacteria in the environment in which they live. They can KILL infants without sturdy immune systems, as well as pregnant mothers. So unless you think you would be okay with letting your baby suckle from a cow’s teat that’s just been dragged in manure that came out of her hind end, I would not recommend letting them drink raw milk! (PS – I have a doctorate in veterinary medicine, a PhD in bovine mastitis, a two year-old who is still nursing (even though I had limited supply) and one on the way, and I have been studying this topic for more than 10 years, so I know of what I speak!)

  2. Jessie b August 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Hi
    I am interested in making the tea but how many oz does it take? I don’t know how much to buy of each ingredient. Thank u

  3. Mandie June 16, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this. I had to stop pumping and breastfeeding my son due to my diabates. I wasnt sure if breastfeeding was messing it up so I stopped doing all for a little less then a month when I relaized I could safely give my son all the benefits of my milk. However because I stopped for a month my flow was not good at all anymore. I talked to some of my friends who told me about the mothers milk tea and its already helping my flow come back so much however I need to make my own due to price and I currently have no working car to get to the store to buy it. Making my own is great and I appericate you posting this for new mothers like myself.

  4. Kelly Sours June 7, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Thank you for this recipe. It has helped me and I have been trying to get my supply up for months. I hope it continues to build my milk and I can get my daughter off of formula!!!!!!

  5. Jen M April 5, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this. I was able to find everything I needed to make a huge batch between a local herb shop and Mountain Rose. However, I just made a pot and it is unbearably bitter. I’ve enjoyed the Traditional Medicinals before, even unsweetened, and I’me wondering what I did wrong. I mean I can’t even handle another swallow because the bitterness is sitting in the back of my throat. Help! I want to salvage this batch. :(

  6. AnnaMichelle January 7, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Hi there. Thank you for all your info. I just discovered your site a few days ago and I love it. I just thought I’d add to this posting about breast feeding that cabbage leaves work great for engorged breasts. Yes, that’s the opposite problem, but I thought it might be helpful to some. My sister used to have engorged breasts all the time, mostly in the morning, because she had such an overwhelming milk supply. She would put cabbage leaves in her bra overnight, and in the morning she would be drenched…and not engorged. Something about the cabbage releases the milk. (I don’t know if it also helps to increase milk supply or if just releases the milk without creating more demand…) but it worked wonders for her. I rarely had the problem myself, but there were a few times I was in terrible pain because of how engorged I was. I put the cabbage leaves in my bra overnight, and problem solved. I just wanted to pass that info along.

    Thank you again for all your recipes, and for your faithfulness to the Lord’s leading in your life!
    AnnaMichelle

  7. Rachel October 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    One more thing not mentioned, which was a standby of my Grandma who had 10 children, and that is to take Brewer’s Yeast each day. (I don’t know dose, but am guessing 1 TB or so to start) My Mom and sister swear by it, and say it works wonders. Good luck!

  8. Ali K. May 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Fenugreek worked for me through feeding 2 babies.

  9. Shereen May 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Ladies, if your reading this in april/may, GO OUTSIDE!!! There are nettles growing everywhere right now! I picked a huge bag full on my last hike !

  10. Jessica February 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Lindsay, do you do any scheduling with your baby’s feeds? Or limit nursing at night? From what I’ve read, in order to boost your milk supply it can be helpful to wake your baby 2-3 times at night to nurse if he/she naturally sleeps through the night and of course feed on demand all day. I have been a doula for nearly 4 years and am recently a new mom, and this advice has been very helpful for several of my “ladies” who were struggling with low milk supply. All your herbal/lifestyle advice is awesome also! I pray that you have no trouble maintaining a healthy milk supply for your newest little one.

    Blessings,
    Jessica

  11. Carol January 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Try AmeriHerb 800 267 6141. I got powdered buffered Vit C from them. My sister in law orders from them regularly.

  12. Melody November 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Jodi – I’m obviously not Lindsay, but… ;O)
    I had a hard time finding nettle too. I believe I eventually found some on eBay. Several sellers there sell bulk herbs at reasonable prices. Hope you can get some easily. The tea worked WONDERS for my supply, and I constantly struggle to make enough milk for my babies.
    Hope that helps!!

  13. Jodi November 14, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Lindsey- I know that you wrote this post a long time ago but I am hoping you still get this question. I am getting ready to have a baby within the next month and I am having an extremely hard time finding Nettle Leaf. I even checked at the place (BulkHerb) and they are out of stock as well. Any idea where I can find this herb?

    • Soccy January 2, 2011 at 8:39 am #

      Hi Jodi

      Try Mountain Rose Herbs here: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/search/search.php?refine=y&keywords=Nettle+Leaf

      I order from them quite often (at Lindsey’s recommendation) and their herbs are great!

      I always order from either Mountain Rose Herbs or from Bulk Herbs. Mountain Rose Herbs have a great ORGANIC selection of herbs, but if I can’t find it there I order at Bulk Herbs.

      Congratulations on your baby. I just had my 4th 3 wks ago. Our first boy!
      -soccy

    • Brandi January 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      I order mine from SanFransisco herb Co. they are online and have a great selection of hard to find herbs!

  14. Michelle W October 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m just 9 weeks pregnant and I”m wondering when I should start drinking a tea like this.
    Lindsay, thank you so much for your blog, it’s the only one I read regularly, such a wonderful resource!!
    I also just wanted to add that I really wish I could have come and listened to you at the Selah Conference, I went to George Fox for 4 years and of course graduated the year before you spoke, bummer! Anyway, I’d love any input you have, thanks!!
    Michelle

    • Lindsay October 18, 2010 at 7:26 am #

      I would recommend you wait until you actually give birth. Some of these herbs are not suitable during pregnancy but are perfectly safe once you have your baby. You can start consuming immediately after you give birth.

  15. amber October 17, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    HI! i know this is an older post, but i just read this post and found it extremely helpful! I am pregnant, due in february, and i have been doing some research on building milk supply and overall care for the postnatal period. I want to have some supplies ready for when I deliver! I wanted to mention that my herbalist has told me to avoid parsley and sage as these two herbs decrease your milk supply. Just an FYI!

  16. Bethany September 18, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    This is an older post, but just in case someone finds this helpful…

    I found brewing three cups a day to be nearly impossible. Some days I’d only manage to make one cup, or none at all, and my milk supply suffered. Here’s my solution:

    Every morning, I put three Tablespoons of Lindsay’s MM Tea in a large glass jar (I use an old applesauce jar with a metal lid), along with one cinnamon stick. Then I fill the jar with boiling water, seal the lid, and leave it on the counter all day like sun tea. As soon as it cools a bit, I pour a bit through a strainer into my cup, leaving the rest of the tea in the jar. It’s so easy to do it this way throughout the day! Every evening I rinse out the jar and save my cinnamon stick somewhere dry for the next day’s tea. I go through about one cinnamon stick a week.

  17. Jeannie August 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    Sushi-grade seaweed was a blessing to me from my birth doula. It was used similarly to the witch hazel solution on the perineum after my episiotomy – when dampened it was soothing and I think helped me heal quickly. Just thought I’d offer that tid bit.

  18. Jessica August 16, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    I don’t know if anyone else had tried clicking on the homemade baby formula link, but it looks like the link was moved on the other site….

    Here is the updated link! :D

    http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/319-recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula.html

    • Kristen February 3, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      Please, please, please do not feed raw milk to your babies (or drink while pregnant). This website suggests you get milk from ‘cows certified free of disease’ – there is no such thing, and it’s not the cow’s diseases you should worry about – it’s the bacteria in the environment in which they live. They can KILL infants without sturdy immune systems, as well as pregnant mothers. So unless you think you would be okay with letting your baby suckle from a cow’s teat that’s just been dragged in manure that came out of her hind end, I would not recommend letting them drink raw milk! (PS – I have a doctorate in veterinary medicine, a PhD in bovine mastitis, a two year-old who is still nursing (even though I had limited supply) and one on the way, and I have been studying this topic for more than 10 years, so I know of what I speak!)

  19. SFMomma August 15, 2010 at 2:10 am #

    Im off to the store to buy the herbs, but I was wondering if you have a copy of the formula recipe you mentioned above- the link is no longer valid & I’d love to have it.
    Thanks for the info.

  20. Bethany August 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Finding this recipe is truly a blessing! A couple weeks ago we visited my parents in a particularly high and dry part of the Colorado mountains, and my milk supply plummeted. Since then we’ve used up all my backup frozen pumped milk trying to keep our five-month-old fed, and it’s been an all-around disaster. I bought Mother’s Milk Tea, but it’s incredibly expensive when I’m using three tea-bags every day! Our local health food store has all these dried herbs in bulk, and I already have red raspberry leaf from pregnancy, so I’m going to try this out! So thankful I stumbled across your site.

  21. Jennifer July 28, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Hello wonderful Mommas,
    Have any of you hear of hypoplasia or IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue). I have a 3 month old and have struggled with milk supply since he was 1 week old. What have you tried to increase your milk supply. This has been so incredibly difficult for me as Breastfeeding exclusively has always been my hearts desire and what I thought was Gods best. But I know the Lord loves me and will take care of my baby. As of now…he nurses…..has a bottle of formula…and then I pump. I can usually pump 4-5oz per day and give him that as his last bottle of the day.

    Thank you for any encouragement you can provide!

    Jen

  22. April Watson June 14, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Hi, Lindsay. I’m making my own supply-boosting tea, and I got all my herbs in the mail today. I got both fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds, but I’m not sure if I should grind them before I put them in the tea or leave them whole. How do you do it?

    • Lindsay June 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

      You combine all the herbs and seeds in their whole form, no grinding necessary.

  23. Jenni May 3, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    I too have struggled to produce enough milk for my baby. I have grieved much yet praise God that in his good, kind and perfect wisdom he has chosen this for us as a part of his good purposes.

    Fenugreek helped to build my supply a bit and I added more feeds to my 6 month old’s day yet still my milk would be gone before my daughter was satisfied. In my desperation and research I came across a book review on the La Leche League website. Then I saw on Amazon that many recommended this book because the information in it helped them to increase their milk supply. There were no negative reviews. After reading it I too would like to recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with milk production:

    “Mother Food” by Hilary Jacobson.
    It is a wonderful resource that looks at traditional herbs and foods and galactogogues and lactogenic foods from all over the world. Personally, I have tried a combination of 3 things that have helped me so far (I’m not sure if just one of these things is the culprit or all 3 because I tried them all at the same time): Perhaps I was drinking too much water (about a gallon/4 litres a day). I’ve limited myself to about 2.5-3 litres a day. I enjoyed an almost daily habit of one coffee and a piece of dark chocolate a day as a catch up time with my husband. I’ve stopped having chocolate and am having at least one caffeine free day a week. I’ve also stopped my daily habit of chewing gum. Praise the Lord because these 3 actions have abundantly increased my milk – and I haven’t even tried all of the other more important ideas and suggestions in the book! (If you try these things, expect a headache for a day or two).

    I hope this information helps those who would like to learn about ways they could increase their milk supply. The book is about $17 plus postage from Amazon and it’s is one of the best discoveries I’ve made. Thank you, Lord:)

    • Hilary Jacobson February 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Jenni,

      I just came across your post and wanted to congratulate you on understanding so well the concept of “anti-lactogenic” foods and behavior, how some moms might be caffeine-sensitive, or have to avoid aspartame (in gum and elsewhere) because of the way it may affect the chemistry of milk production in those mothers. I’m thrilled that you found simple suggestions that made such a big difference for your breastfeeding experience.

      I have a facebook page where I “plan” to become more active in updating information about Mother Food.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Sierra January 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      How is drinking too much water a day a bad thing for milk production?

  24. sharon January 14, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I have tried fenugreek to build my milk supply but it did not work, I later found out from another mother that RASBERRIES help out to build milk supply. And it worked. I pump and give my twins breast milk in bottles and my let down comes way faster than usual from just eating like 5 rasberries a day. rasberries really work.