Friday, April 17, 2015

A Nursing Mom Walks Into A Bar


"One a day helps the boobie milk stay!" They trademarked that specific phrase. They actually did.
Anyway, brought to my attention today: The (yes, really) Boobie Bar, merely the latest in processed, packaged lactation cookies, though it claims to be "the original lactation bar", which I guess refers to the fact that it's the first to be cut into a rectangle rather than a circle, since it's obviously far from the first. Look, I know nothing is new about manufacturing and marketing lactation cookies at this point, there are a couple of them out there now, but as far as I'm aware, this is the only one trumpeting the fact that it was co-created by an IBCLC.

A few starter questions:
  1. The aforementioned IBCLC is identified only as "Nurse Wendy" anywhere on the site that I can find. Why no last name so we can verify her credential?
  2. This "independent study" they refer to on the Our Story page, highlighted in pink but not actually linked to anything - where is it? What does it say? What was the control? How large was the group? Are there any details you can tell us beyond the claim that they "can increase milk supply up 4.6oz per day! [sic]"?
  3. The "proprietary herb blend" that each bar contains: How much of each? All the information about each herb they list on your Ingredients page is great. I'm actually a big fan of lactogenic foods. I also know that much depends on the use of an actual therapeutic dose, which is why many of the tea blends that throw a little of every popular galactagogue into the mix are a serious gamble. Those blends might happen to have one or two of the right ingredients for a particular mom (galactagogues are NOT one size fits all, either, but that's another post), but in such a minuscule amount that they have minimal, if any, effect on mom's production. The Boobie Bar promotional materials make a big show out of the claim that you only need to take one per day to increase your supply (okay, to "make the boobie milk stay"). That's pretty impressive, so how much of each herb, exactly, goes into that one bar?
  4. Each bar has more sugar and carbs than a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Okay, that's not a question, I just thought it was worth pointing out.
It's genuinely nice that they refer to the importance of seeking an IBCLC in multiple places on their site. I will say that one positive thing for them. I just wish it didn't come as part of the promotion of a product that does nothing to actually target any individual woman's underlying cause for low supply. I wish even more that it, and others like it, didn't contribute to the undermining of mothers' confidence in their own bodies, and to the overall perception that perfectly normal women need to purchase and consume products in order to have a healthy milk supply.

I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again: physiological low supply doesn't just randomly happen to unlucky moms for no reason. There is always an underlying cause.

Galactagogues CAN often be part of that solution - but only if they're A) tailored to that specific mom's underlying cause, and B) used in therapeutic doses. Boobie Bars and Milkmakers and the like? Hey, you might get lucky if you just so happen to need one of the herbs included in the melange, and need so little of it that it happens to work. And placebos can also be very effective. Is either possibility worth $16 per box (6 bars each)?

*As opposed to perceived low supply, a critical distinction and one that is imperative to rule out first (and which is coincidentally very likely to respond well to the placebo effect).

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