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Breastfeeding Holidaze: Managing Your Milk Production the Natural Way

December 21 2023 – Henrieta Haniskova

Breastfeeding and Holidaze: managing your milk production the natural way

Breastfeeding and Holidaze: managing your milk production the natural way

The excitement and buzz around the holidays is here and everything pumpkin spice made room for more winter-y flavors. I'm talking about the mint and candy cane lattes, minty hot chocolate, yumm!

Breastfeeding mama needs to pay close attention here. Because some of these common flavorings can reduce your milk supply.

If you are in the process of weaning your baby off of your breast, then enjoy! However, if you are wondering why your baby seems more hungry or fussy than usual, the reason may be hidden in plain sight.

Here are a few common culprits that we use in our daily lives and extra over the holidays that can cause reduced milk production:


Did you know that peppermint essential oil is the flavoring in your minty toothpaste, your extra strong breath mints and chewing gums? And in minty candy canes, chocolates and cookies? It's also in all the minty latte's available today, coffee or matcha, even your cup of mint tea can affect your milk supply. Some of your essential oil remedy blends that you purchased may contain it too. Tiger balm as well as Vicks VapoRub both have loads of menthol, this is most likely coming from Peppermint essential oil.

Mint causes reduction of milk production for breastfeeding mothers


Closely related to peppermint, spearmint is another festive favorite. It's a bit milder but can have similar effects on your milk supply. So, those spearmint flavored treats and teas might also be playing a role if you notice a dip in your milk production.

Sadly this is also the cold and flu season and many remedies use Peppermint and even more often Eucalyptus. This may not affect your milk production, however using Eucalyptus around babies and even small children is not a good idea. It should not be used near children under the age of 10 or animals, during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, because it has been known to cause seizures. Also if the product you are using containing Eucalyptus is past it's expiry date, it can sensitize the skin and cause asthma attacks. Vicks VapoRub containing menthol, camphor and Eucaluptus is NOT your best friend. Besides the danger to your baby, if you are pregnant, this can cause complications, because camphor crosses and damages the placenta and can cause damage to your fetus.

And while we are on the topic of aromatherapy, holidays and breastfeeding, it's good to know that cinnamon is fine, but the essential oil from cinnamon bark, which is often used in holiday scent blends and candles is also not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to it's potential toxicity.

Sage is traditionally used when weaning.


Sage (not to be confused with Clary Sage), with its earthy and aromatic flavor, is a staple in many holiday dishes. But did you know that sage is traditionally used to help reduce milk supply? It's often recommended for mothers who are weaning. If you're not ready to wean yet, you might want to go easy on dishes heavily seasoned with Sage this holiday.


Navigating the Holidays

Now, don't let this information dampen your holiday spirit! The key is moderation. You can still enjoy your favorite holiday flavors; just be mindful of how much and how often. And remember, every mother's body reacts differently, so what affects one may not affect another.

Boosting milk production naturally

How can you boost your milk production naturally?

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recognized the power of natural remedies in supporting breastfeeding mothers. He famously said, “If the milk should dry up … give her to drink the fruit and roots of fennel.” This ancient wisdom still holds true today, as we explore the natural ways to enhance milk production.

Fennel: A Time-Honored Galactagogue

Fennel, with its licorice-like flavor, is more than just a culinary delight. It's a known galactagogue, which means it helps increase breast milk supply. Fennel seeds contain phytoestrogens, which are believed to promote milk production. It's a gentle, natural way to support lactation, especially when you feel your milk supply might be waning.

Fenugreek:Fast and Effective

This herb is widely used for increasing milk supply. It contains phytoestrogens and is thought to stimulate the sweat glands, which are structurally similar to mammary glands. You may feel it's smell coming out of your pores, but your baby will be well fed.

Other Natural Boosters

Apart from fennel, there are several other natural remedies known to support milk production:

  1. Oats: Rich in iron and fiber, oats are not only nutritious but also believed to stimulate milk production. They're a comforting and healthy choice for breakfast or snacks.
  2. Barley: Like oats, barley is a whole grain that's believed to positively impact lactation, possibly due to its beta-glucan content
  3. Garlic: Known for its flavor and health benefits, garlic is also considered a galactagogue. It may even change the flavor of your milk slightly, which some babies seem to enjoy!
  4. Turmeric: Used as a traditional remedy by many cultures, this spice works wonders on your milk production and can be made into a lovely Golden Latte as well to replace the tempting peppermint flavored ones.                    

    A Special Treat: Lactation-Boosting Holiday Cake

    To bring some cheer and nourishment, here's a simple recipe for a lactation-boosting holiday cake. It's packed with ingredients known to support milk production, and it's delicious!


      1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
      2. 1/2 cup rolled oats
      3. 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
      4. 1 tsp baking powder
      5. 2 tsp fenugreek powder
      6. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
      7. 1 tsp turmeric
      8. 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
      9. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
      10. 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
      11. 2 eggs
      12. 1 tsp vanilla extract
      13. 1/2 cup grated apple or carrot
      14. 1/4 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit
      15. 1/4 tsp cardamom powder and/or Allspice (if you enjoy it's flavor)
      16. pinch of Black Pepper


        1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a loaf pan.
        2. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
        3. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
        4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then fold in the grated apple or carrot, and nuts or dried fruit.
        5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
        6. Let the cake cool before slicing. Enjoy a slice as a nutritious snack!

        You can make this cake into a simple coffee cake and even fill it with butter cream (if you add a little of the spices to the butter cream, you will get this gorgeous golden color), decorate with nuts for a more nutrient dense cake and serve it to your family and guests. It is tasty and nobody will have any idea of how it's serving you and your baby.

        Lactation cake ideas

        Too tired to bake? Make a nice hot cup of Golden milk to help you out!

        Golden Milk with Turmeric, Ginger, and Fenugreek


        • 2 cups of milk (choose any variety you prefer – cow's milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk)
        • 1 tsp turmeric powder
        • 1/2 tsp ground ginger or a small piece of fresh ginger, grated
        • 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
        • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional for added flavor)
        • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (adjust to taste)
        • A pinch of black pepper (to enhance turmeric absorption)
        • Optional: 1 tsp virgin coconut oil or ghee (for richness)


          1. Combine Ingredients: In a small saucepan, combine the milk of your choice with turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and cinnamon. If you're using fresh ginger, ensure it's finely grated.
          2. Enjoy: Sip this warm, golden milk slowly, letting its comforting flavors soothe you. It's perfect for winding down in the evening or as a gentle start to your day.
          3. Simmer Gently: Heat the mixture over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure the spices are well dispersed. Avoid boiling; a gentle simmer is sufficient to infuse the flavors.
          4. Add Sweetener and Fat: Once the milk is warm, add honey or maple syrup for sweetness. If you're including coconut oil or ghee, add it now. These fats not only add richness but also aid in the absorption of turmeric.
          5. Strain and Serve: If you used fresh ginger, strain the mixture to remove the ginger pieces. Pour the golden milk into your favorite mug.
          6. Finish with Black Pepper: Sprinkle a pinch of black pepper on top. This might sound unusual, but black pepper significantly increases the bioavailability of curcumin, the active compound in turmeri

        Milk Options and Benefits:

        • Cow's Milk: Rich in protein and calcium, it makes the golden milk creamy and filling.
        • Almond Milk: A lighter option, almond milk adds a nutty flavor and is great for those avoiding dairy.
        • Coconut Milk: Adds tropical richness and is ideal for a creamier, more indulgent golden milk.
        • Oat Milk: Naturally sweet and hearty, oat milk is an excellent dairy-free option.
        • Soy Milk: A protein-rich, dairy-free alternative that complements the earthy flavors of the spices.

        This Golden Milk recipe is a delightful blend of traditional ingredients known for their health benefits. Whether you're looking to support lactation, soothe your body, or simply enjoy a warm, spiced beverage, this recipe is versatile and comforting.

        Or change your beverage first and opt for Rooibos tea instead. Even better Chamomile tea to calm you and your baby or a cup of Fennel tea, they boost your milk production, help your digestion and soothe your colicky baby, the constituents in the tea pass into your milk and do support your baby's digestion.

        Just crush a teaspoon full of Fennel seeds and pour hot water over them!

         Golden Latte for breastfeeding mama

        Hey! I have been there and understand the physical, mental and emotional load of early motherhood. Don't beat yourself up if you are not ready to run out and find all the ingredients! I want you to know that there are people who have thought of all this before and created products just for this purpose.

        Here are some resources for you to buy ready made or quick mixes for you to make some of these:

        Canadian Moms:

        Lactation cookie Co. ready to eat delicious cookies made by my lovely friend Lisa right here in Toronto

        Mother's Milk Tea by traditional Medicinals with a wonderful ingredient list

        Blume Turmeric latte creamy and delicious, this latte is ready to go, just mix with hot water or milk of your choice.

        American Moms:

        Lactation Cookies by Juli's Lactation Cookies Co.

        Mother's Milk tea same as above, but for American moms

        Teaveli Turmeric Latte  on Amazon in the USA


        Remember, dear mamas, you're doing an amazing job. Navigating breastfeeding during the holidays can be a bit of a juggle, but it's all about finding that sweet balance. Enjoy the festive flavors, indulge in some self-care with a slice of this yummy cake, and most importantly, cherish these precious moments with your little one.

        Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog post, including recommendations and insights related to foods, herbs, and natural remedies, is for informational and educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

        Every individual's health and breastfeeding journey are unique, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another. Therefore, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, lactation consultant, or registered dietitian, before making any significant changes to your diet or wellness routine, especially during breastfeeding.

        The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk. We do not claim to provide medical advice or treatment recommendations. Always seek the guidance of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or the health and welfare of yourself and your baby.



        Tagged: aromatherapy, aromatherapy safety, breastfeeding, matrescence, Mom, natural, new baby, nourishing


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