Is the pretty strawberry beverage a miracle cure for lackluster lactation, as some breastfeeding mothers claim? We consulted the experts.
Remember all the buzz this past spring surrounding Starbucks' Pink Drink? Well the love for this sweet and light beverage just keeps coming. Now, several nursing moms are raving about it, saying that sipping the drink increases their breast milk supply.
The lactation-boost claim first appeared in posts by a nursing-mother Facebook support group called Milky Mamas. “So this happened and it NEVER happens,” wrote group member Laura Galvin, referring to noticing breast milk leaking through her shirt, according to Lifehacker. Galvin added in her post that she produced 48 four-ounce bags of milk in one week, and she attributes her abundance to the Pink Drink.
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Other Milky Mamas were quick to agree that the drink, a blend of Starbucks' "Strawberry Açai Refresher" beverage and coconut milk, was able to increase their milk supply tenfold.
That's a lot of milk, considering that per feeding, the typical nursing mom produces between 2 to 10 ounces, depending on the baby's age and other factors, Leena Nathan, MD, an assistant clinical professor at UCLA's department of obstetrics and gynecology, told Health via email.
So does the Pink Drink have magical milk-producing powers? "There is no evidence to suggest that any of the ingredients in the Starbucks pink drink would help with breast milk production," says Dr. Nathan.
Still, because the drink is hydrating, it could increase a woman's electrolyte and hydration levels, two factors that effect how much breast milk is produced. Dr. Nathan says women who don't make enough can often attribute it to dehydration, going on hormonal birth control, or formula supplementation—which decreases the amount of natural milk a woman produces. (The more you nurse, the more milk you have, in general.)
Another thing that can trigger a surge in milk output is having low stress levels. And unless you hit up Starbucks in the morning, when long lines of cranky commuters queue up for their lattes, "there is a relaxation factor involved in making a trip to Starbucks and drinking a sweet, delicious beverage," says Dr. Nathan.
Of course, this isn't an excuse to sip Pink Drinks all day. One 16-ounce serving has an eyepopping 24 grams of sugar. For healthier ways to try to crank up your milk supply, Dr. Nathan recommends staying hydrated, relaxing as much as possible (not easy with a baby, we know!), and feeding and/or pumping every two hours ideally. Medications such as Reglan might also help, but Reglan has significant side effects, she says.