Moms Turn Breastfeeding Struggles Into A Thriving Business

By Johanna Willett | This Is Tucson
The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the Tucson moms who have created “Oat Mama” a business that produces special lactation bars packed with foods that have a reputation for helping breastfeeding moms produce milk.

The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

Eliza Larson and Kristy Kohler started their lactation granola bar company Oat Mama by meeting moms in Whole Foods Market parking lots and designating pick-up times at local Starbucks to get their bars to customers.

The Tucson moms met three years ago watching their 2-year-old sons play at Himmel Park. Both were eight months pregnant with boys.

Out of that friendship, they birthed Oat Mama, drawing on shared struggles with breastfeeding — Larson after her first pregnancy and Kohler after her second.

“Kristy was having a hard time with her son and producing enough milk, and we noticed lactation cookies trending,” Larson, 35, says. “We would both rather have a granola bar in the diaper bag than cookies, and we’re bakers at heart. We thought, ‘Let’s just test some recipes around here.’ ”

They decided to pack the bars with foods that have a reputation for helping breastfeeding moms produce milk: oats, ground flaxseed and brewer’s yeast. One of the bars contains fenugreek, an herb known to increase milk supply.

“Cookies have a lot of filler ingredients,” Kohler, 36, says. “The granola bar is all nuts and seeds and coconut oils — things that are beneficial to a new mom.”

Although they knew the main ingredients they wanted to include, finding recipes good enough to sell took some work — 60 to 70 test recipes, Larson says.

“We were breastfeeding at the time, so we were our own guinea pigs and could say, ‘This helped my supply,’ ” she adds.

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