I am enjoying interviewing professionals and mom bosses about their line of work or their side hustles. Today I am sharing an interview with Milksta, who makes amazing Breastfeeding Support Lattes.
Tell us about yourself and Milksta.
I’m a certified breastfeeding specialist, a wife, and a mom of two boys. I would like to think that I have a third child: Milksta, which is the brand I started.
I was born and raised in the Philippines but I’ve lived in a few different countries, including Singapore, Canada, and Australia. My two boys are 11 and 4, with the older showing a lot of interest in technology and the younger loving books, animals, and music. My husband travels for work. But whenever he’s home, we take the time to go out on picnics, to the zoo, and for long drives with the kids.
Milksta is a company that started with the goal of helping moms breastfeed and boost their milk supply. But, our mission has now evolved from just that to supporting mothers’ overall wellness—from pregnancy to breastfeeding and beyond.
Milksta drinks contain galactagogues that help moms create more breast milk, plus superfoods that help with their energy and health. So Milksta drinks are actually healthy for anyone.
What inspired you to start a business to sell breastfeeding support lattes?
When I had my first child, I had no problem with my breast milk supply. I was living in Asia at that time and had a ready supply of moringa, which is a vegetable tree that has galactagogue properties. I had so much milk for my firstborn that I had to pump a few times at work to avoid engorgement.
Fast forward to my second child, and the opposite happened. Aside from my baby having lip and tongue ties that made it difficult for him to latch on properly, I also had milk supply problems. This was exacerbated by the fact that I didn’t have access to my go-to galactagogue (moringa), leaving me with no choice but to feed my baby with formula.
This got me thinking… If I was having such a tough time producing milk for my baby because one of the most reliable galactagogues wasn’t available to me, other moms may be experiencing it too. I went home to the Philippines for a vacation when my second son was almost 2-months-old, and my mom made me a feast of moringa! My milk production improved so much, and I realized that moringa does help a lot. My mom suggested that I come up with a drink that uses the ingredients for lactation that I was used to. This was when the idea for Milksta took root.
Now, you may ask, why latte? Why not a hot chocolate drink or a milkshake? Well, the idea of using a latte is due to the fact that I love coffee! I used to drink up to 8 cups a day! My OB-GYN and my pediatrician frowned upon this practice and they told me to reduce my coffee intake and I was like, heck no!
This made me think that if I don’t want to give up my coffee because I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, other women like me must feel the same way. So, I thought, why not combine coffee and breastfeeding support so we coffee-loving women can still enjoy? And thus, Milksta (Milk + Barista) was born.
Why are you so passionate about helping new moms? Share your mission with us.
My passion for helping moms stems from the depressing issues I had during my own breastfeeding and postpartum journey. I don’t want other moms to ever feel that they cannot provide for their babies because they cannot produce enough milk. Also, the difference between my first and second breastfeeding journeys showed me that not all situations are the same and moms can do with a little help now and then.
Give us some examples of your products.
Currently, Milksta has three products. We have the Boobie Latte (which is our bestseller), Mooringa Tea Latte, and Pink-A-Boob Berry Latte.
This one is great for coffee lovers. It gives you that satisfying coffee flavor without the caffeine that may affect your breastfeeding baby. And because it’s rich in galactagogues and superfoods, it could increase your milk supply while making you feel more rejuvenated.
Mooringa Tea Latte is a take on the popular boba milk tea that a lot of people love, but without the boba. Plus, as the name suggests, this latte bursts with the power of moringa.
Not a fan of coffee? The Pink-A-Boob Berry Latte is the yummy, fruity alternative. Like the first two options, this one is also energizing and lactation-boosting.
We also have a few other products in R&D right now. A little clue: chocolate lovers and wine lovers will love ‘em. So watch out and be excited, Milksta mommas!
What is the Milksta standard?
The Milksta standard strives to uphold the “food is medicine” mantra. This is why our formulations are plant-based. Milksta products are also allergen-free, additive-free, and sugar-free.
I am currently studying to become an herbalist, which came about after I put up the company. I want to be able to stand behind my products when I tell people that these contain herbs and ingredients that are safe to ingest and can help give them the milk boost they need. All products are also third-party tested to ensure they are safe to drink, manufactured in the USA following strict USFDA safety standards, and made with the welfare of moms and their little ones firmly in mind.
Can you share some of the science behind your lactation latte?
Milksta products are formulated with natural, plant-based ingredients. Approximately 90 percent of the components in our lattes are what you call traditional galactagogues. These are ingredients that have lactogenic properties or, to put it simply, milk-boosting properties.
One example is moringa, which has components that help stimulate prolactin production. Prolactin is a hormone that is responsible for a mom’s breastmilk supply. Meanwhile, all the other ingredients in our formulation can provide moms with not only the milk supply boost they need but also the other nutrients required to thrive in motherhood.
This means that Milksta products not only help with lactation but with other things that a new mom needs, such as postpartum healing, good health, and energy.
How does your biz help working moms and new moms?
I decided to create Milksta to help other moms who are having problems with breast milk production. Whether you’re a first-time mom or already have a few kids, the products that we created are designed to help you with milk supply and with overall health. Aside from helping via the nutrients and galactagogues in our drinks, we also help moms through other ways.
We have an online support group called the Milksta Mommy Crew – Breastfeeding and Beyond. In this group, moms provide each other with the kind of support that only fellow mommas can give. And while we advocate for breastfeeding, we don’t necessarily frown upon moms who don’t breastfeed, and we offer support for all moms as well as expecting moms who join us.
Aside from the support group on Facebook, we also have the Milksta Blog where moms can find the answers to some of their mommahood questions. These include topics on pregnancy, breastfeeding, infant care, postpartum, and a whole lot more.
What are some of your favorite things about running your business?
You may have heard of the saying “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is a quote by Confucius, and this is what I’m experiencing with Milksta right now. I call it my “work of heart” since it’s so close to my heart and it’s something that makes me happy.
I enjoy offering breastfeeding support through the Milksta products as well as through my knowledge and skills as a breastfeeding specialist. This part of what I do is more satisfying than earning from my business. I even keep screenshots of testimonials and thank-you messages and comments that moms post about Milksta. Reading them time and again gives me a feeling of satisfaction that money cannot buy.
What were some challenges you ran into when starting your business?
Getting the business off the ground is probably one of the biggest challenges I ever encountered. I started this business as a side-hustle, so I had to get it up and running while taking care of a baby, a young child, and a full-time job all at the same time! You also have to take into account that my husband was rarely home because of his work, and the situation sometimes felt too much.
Add to these the fact that I did not have much capital to begin with, and I did not have any experience running my own business. Google, YouTube, and Facebook groups became my source of information. I had to learn everything on my own and run everything by myself at the start. You can say I was a one-woman team—finding sources for ingredients, contacting manufacturers who can produce my product for me, and even marketing my product online.
Another big challenge I encountered was when people ignored me and my idea. In their eyes, I was just a mom with a random idea. Out of the 20 manufacturers I contacted, only a couple took me seriously!
What kept me going was my “10-mother goal.” This was a goal that I set for myself—that if I were able to help ten mothers with their breastfeeding woes, I would consider this venture worth pursuing. And when I hit that goal, I was ecstatic! Now, the goal is to help 1 million mothers worldwide with their breastfeeding and lactation issues.
Any advice you want to give fellow moms?
For breastfeeding moms, I want you to know that it’s not wrong to ask for help. Breastfeeding is a very difficult thing to do, and not that many people acknowledge how tough it can be.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help since there are people who are willing to support you. Try to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding early on, while you’re still pregnant, so you know what to do and what to expect when you begin your breastfeeding journey.
For moms in general, don’t be afraid to ask for help too. Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs around and it doesn’t even come with pay! You’re on-call 24/7, you have to be accountable for how your kids turn out, and you’re prone to self-doubt. Cut yourself some slack, mommas!
I suffered from PPD (postpartum depression) after my second child. If I didn’t ask for help, I don’t know what would have happened. So, if you need help, please do ask for it.
For moms who are looking to start a business or a side-hustle, go for it! Don’t be afraid to take that risk. You can learn everything on the fly. I know I did. Don’t spend the rest of your life asking yourself “what if” but rather see where your idea will lead you. Who knows, you might have the next big thing lurking in your brain and all you need to do is to unleash it.
If you would like to be interviewed for my side hustle series, please fill out this form.