Breastfeeding Challenges and Solutions


Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with and nourish your child, but it’s not without its difficulties—many mothers face milk production issues, cracked nipples, and more. Below are some of our favorite vegan solutions to make life a little easier for the breastfeeding family.

Improving Lactation

If you (or your partner) find yourself producing lower quantities of milk, you’re not alone! Many new mothers struggle with milk production, and there are several home remedies and store products that can help stimulate milk flow.

Oatmeal has been used for generations to increase milk production. It works by helping to regulate blood pressure, which can, in turn, stimulate bodily functions like lactation. If you’re nursing, find some time to eat a peaceful, relaxing bowl of oatmeal. It will help calm you down and hopefully make breastfeeding easier!

Brown rice is another grain we love for improving lactation. Brown rice is thought to increase serotonin levels, which, in turn, stimulates the production of hormones necessary for lactation. White rice does not offer the same lactation benefits. Nursing moms should consider incorporating some brown rice into their daily meals!

Many mothers also recommend a little beer for lactation. That’s because certain properties found in the barley in beer can help stimulate milk production. But breastfeeding mothers should be cautious about drinking any alcohol, as the alcohol will make its way into her milk and be transferred to her child. Luckily, the lactation-increasing properties of barley are found in non-alcoholic beer as well! So the next time you struggle with milk production, relax with a nice bottle of O’Douls.

Another option is lactation cookies. Lactation cookies are a delicious way to increase your milk supply while having a tasty treat!

Fenugreek is an herb popular with breastfeeding families, as it has long been thought to increase milk production. Fenugreek comes in capsule form and is usually taken several times a day. However, please note that fenugreek should not be taken while still pregnant, it could stimulate uterine muscles, nor should it be taken by diabetics as it can lower blood sugar. Fenugreek capsules can be found at most pharmacies, online, and at health food stores.

Perhaps the most popular lactation-improving product is herbal tea. There are many teas on the market specifically designed to increase milk production. Note that certain teas, like peppermint, should be avoided by nursing mothers as they can actually decrease milk production. We particularly like Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Mother’s Milk. Its bitter, licorice flavor might not be the most appealing taste, but its combination of lactation-promoting herbs like fenugreek and fennel have helped many mothers increase milk production. Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Mother’s Milk can be found online and at Rite Aid, Target, Safeway, and many other retailers.

Another great tea option is Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic Milkmaid Tea. Many find this tea more palatable than the Traditional Medicinals’ option, and it contains some of the same ingredients great for promoting lactation. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic Milkmaid Tea should be consumed several times a day for at least a week for full results. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic Milkmaid Tea can be found online and at Walgreens, Whole Foods, Target, and other retailers.

Nipple Relief

Sore nipples are the worst! Luckily, we have some great recommendations for soothing your tender breasts.

Try a nipple cream to calm chapped skin. Many creams contain lanolin and/or beeswax, which are not vegan, but there are some wonderful vegan options out there. We like Urban Oreganics’ Mama Butter, made from healing oils and shea butter. The food-grade ingredients are safe for your little one, but as Mama Butter contains Vitamin E, you may want to wipe off your nipples before nursing. Urban Oreganic’s Mama Butter is found online only.

We also like Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter, which really works to soothe cracked nipples. It smells of cocoa butter and comes in a paste that is easy to apply. It does not contain added Vitamin E, so all ingredients are safe to be ingested. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter can be found online and at Walgreens, Whole Foods, Target, and other retailers.

There’s also no need to break the bank to find relief! Plenty of moms have eased sore nipples by just rubbing on a little olive oil or cocoa butter. Even though these are safe ingredients, though, you may want to wipe off your nipples before breastfeeding so your baby doesn’t ingest too much.

Warm compresses can also be great at easing breast and nipple tenderness as well as helping to prevent mastitis. Heat also helps promote milk production. If you’re having trouble lactating, stay away from cold compress as they may restrict milk production. You can use a washcloth soaked in hot water for a compress. We also like Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Booby Tubes. These flax-filled containers can be heated up in the microwave or oven, and they provide long-lasting heat to your tender breasts. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Booby Tubes can be found online and at Walgreens, Whole Foods, Target, and other retailers.

Decreasing Lactation

Your baby has been weaned and your nipples are healing—but you’re still producing milk! To help slow lactation, try placing cold packs on your breasts. The cold will help with inflammation and will work to deter additional milk production. Make sure the cold packs are wrapped in a towel, and never leave them on for longer than 20 minutes at a time. You can also use Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Booby Tubes for this purpose.

If cold packs don’t work, try placing cold cabbage leaves over your breasts. It may sound silly, but cabbage has actually been shown to help fight breast engorgement. Plus, the cool leaves will feel good on your sensitive skin. Make sure any sharp or rough veins are removed from the cabbage before you try this method, however!

There are also several teas you can try to slow lactation. Sage has been shown to contain phytoestrogen, which can help your body to stop produce milk. Sage teas can be very bitter, however. For a more palatable option, consider Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic No More Milk Tea. It contains sage but also peppermint, which—in addition to a pleasing taste—has lactation-slowing properties of its own. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic No More Milk Tea can be found online and at Walgreens, Whole Foods, Target, and other retailers.

Posted in Infants & Toddlers (0-3), Products We Love

Jennifer is a writer based in Norfolk, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys eating vegan junk food, wasting precious hours on Facebook, and hitting up wine country. She also runs a travel blog at