As if Starbucks wasn't already a magical land for moms (oh hi, caffeine), its most recently launched drink proved that they believe in the power of a fairy tale. The Unicorn Frappuccino pretty much took over the internet, but how magical is that drink? It doesn't have caffeine, so it won't really help the sleep-deprived moms, but what about breastfeeding? Will the Unicorn Frappuccino increase your milk supply, or does the magic end with the swirly colors?
Unfortunately, there's no way to know if the official Starbucks concoction can help your milk production — the Unicorn Frappuccino had an incredibly limited release time. It ended its star-crazed run on April 23, but that doesn't mean anybody's willing to give up the fun drink. DIY recipes are popping up all over the place, but according to Food & Wine, it's not a drink you can make with pantry ingredients. But if it could increase your milk supply, anything's worth it, right? Even an extra trip to the grocery store.
So what's in the Unicorn Frappuccino? Honestly, a lot of stuff. The Starbucks ingredients list includes ice, milk, Frappuccino syrup, whipped cream, mango syrup, white chocolate mocha sauce, sour blue powder, and pink powder (colored with apple, cherry, radish, and sweet potato). Basically, it's an overwhelming amount of ingredients, and these are just the ones I can actually pronounce and would recognize in a store.
But here's the kicker — none of those ingredients will magically increase your milk supply. Sorry to disappoint. Galctagogues, which are foods and herbs that increase milk supply, are not as prevalent as you may think. According to Kelly Mom, there's not a lot of research to back the claim that foods like oatmeal or fenugreek can actually increase your milk supply. Although some moms may suggest that their production increased after eating them, the truth is, you have to nurse and/or pump more frequently in order to increase your milk supply. Simply eating something that has the reputation of increasing your milk supply isn't enough, and nothing in the Unicorn Frappuccino is considered a galactagogue.
That doesn't mean you can't enjoy one and still see your milk supply go up though. If a Unicorn Frappuccino makes you feel happy and less stressed, it might be what you need to help your production. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Nadine Fournier tells Romper that there's often a placebo effect on breastfeeding moms regarding galactagogues. Moms might assume that foods will work to increase their milk supply, so they become more relaxed when they are breastfeeding and they see an increase in their supply due to a decrease in stress.
IBCLC Kristin Gourley of Lactation Link agrees. "Being relaxed can help with milk let-down because oxytocin doesn't release as easy if mom has high stress and thus cortisol levels," she says. And what could be more relaxing than a Unicorn Frappuccino?
So even though the white chocolate mocha sauce and the mango syrup won't make your cups runneth over, they can make for a tasty drink you'll enjoy. If you're truly concerned about your milk supply, try pumping or nursing more often to increase production. Feel free to slurp down a Unicorn Frapp at the same time and be sure to reach out to an IBCLC if you're still not producing as much as you should.