Oatmeal, fenugreek, and now Starbucks? Moms who experience low milk supply will try just about anything to increase their stash. Word on the street is that the Pink Drink From Starbucks is helping.
It started with Laura Galvin, a breastfeeding mom from Lillington, North Carolina. Galvin posted a photo of herself on the Milky Mamas Facebook page in which she was apparently leaking breast milk through her t-shirt.
She wrote, “So this happened and it NEVER happens.”
Galvin attributes her sudden increase in supply to Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refresher, referred to as the “Pink Drink.” This iced beverage, previously part of the company’s so-called “secret menu,” now has a permanent home in the drink repertoire. Although the online menu does not list the ingredients, Starbucks reports that it is made with its Strawberry Acai base, hints of passion fruit, and coconut milk.
While there is certainly something to be said about hydration for breastfeeding moms, there is no scientific evidence that proves that any ingredients present in the “Pink Drink” increase milk production. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that the high-fat content of coconut milk could be good for breastfeeding moms.
Since Galvin’s post, other moms have rushed to the Internet to tell tales of similar experiences. One mom reported, “My milk was literally spraying for almost a minute and that has never happened before.
So what could be causing the increase in milk in some moms? Experts speculate a variety of possible reasons, including increased hydration from the drink, improved relaxation by sipping on something enjoyable, and the placebo effect.
“Confidence is a really important part of breastfeeding, and when moms are stressed or anxious, it’s harder for their babies to get milk,” Dr. Alison Stuebe told TODAY. “If it tastes good and makes people happy and relaxed, it could very well help with milk flow.”
Related: Is My Baby getting enough milk?
Before you run to your nearest Starbucks, you may want to take a moment to consider if it’s worth the nutritional price. While the ingredients for the “Pink Drink” are not available online, the ingredients for the Strawberry Acai Refresher, which is used as a base for the drink, are available to consumers.
With sugar listed as the second ingredient, the “Pink Drink” packs a whopping 24 grams of sugar in one Grande drink. To put this into perspective, an average serving of vanilla ice cream only contains 14 grams of sugar.
As if the beverage was not sweet enough, the drink contains a new FDA-approved sweetener called Rebaudioside-a, also known as Reb-A. Reb-A is derived from the Stevia plant, and nutritional experts are not convinced of its safety.
The fourth listed ingredient in the Strawberry Acai Refresher is natural flavors. One of the best-kept secrets of the food industry is the term “natural flavors,” which can encompass a wide variety of factory-produced ingredients that the FDA deems “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS. Ironically, there is nothing natural about natural flavors.
Finally, most breastfeeding moms might want to know that the drink does contain a small amount of caffeine, 50 mg, from the green coffee extract.
Breastfeeding moms have many options to enhance breast milk supply. According to KellyMom, nursing frequently, ensuring that you are nursing efficiently, and avoiding supplementation are the best methods to increase supply. A licensed lactation consultant can also help. KellyMom does suggest that galactagogues, when used correctly, may help increase supply.
However, “Pink Drink” is not on that list.