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My Armpits Smell Like Maple Syrup. Just An FYI.

My Armpits Smell Like Maple Syrup. Just An FYI.

Howdy Bleeps, I’ve got just a short post today since we’re hosting the in-laws, who have traveled from Alaska to meet their new grandson.

Today, I’d like to give you a little heads up.

Well, a two-fold heads up.  To those women who are struggling with a low breastmilk supply (PCOS I hate your ass-face), there are many supplements you can take to help.  There will be another post that outlines all the germane to elaborate things I’ve done to increase my breastmilk (but if you have suggestions in addition to herbal supplements, beer, drink water, pump, and take medication I’m all ears!).

But for now, I’ll give you a friendly warning on the herbal supplements… so you’re not surprised like I was. 

The first supplement you’re likely to hear about if you’re working on a breastmilk supply is something called Fenugreek.  Certainly not something I’ve heard about before, kind of a weird sounding name.  A friend of mine mentioned it in the breastfeeding support group I’ve been attending, and many other women concurred it was good for developing your supply. 

However, my friend mentioned something interesting… that it made her smell like maple syrup, and that had triggered her pregnancy cravings for pancakes. 

I wondered if it was like the love potion from Harry Potter, that it would customize itself to each person differently–in this case transforming into whatever your pregnancy craving was. 

So, in my case, I’d smell like… Costco hot dogs. 

Delicious, but not necessarily something I’d like to smell like.

Nevertheless, in addition to all my other supply-building freak-out tactics, I take fenugreek.  Days go by, and I really didn’t notice anything.  Certainly not the divine smell of Hebrew National franks.

Then, about two days ago, I spent the whole day wondering what stunk.  All day long I accused Adam of things stinking… this sofa stinks, that chair stinks, this room stinks, the whole frickin’ house stinks!  All day long, I was going nuts. 

Later, I take a shower and change my clothes.  All of a sudden… the house doesn’t stink.

Yeah… turns out it was me.  I stunk.

Not this lovely maple syrup smell, though there was certainly this undertone of that sweet smell.  But it wasn’t pleasant.  I smelled like five day old waffles that have been sitting at the bottom of your sink that you forgot to clean out before you left for a short trip.  Sweet and homeless-man’s-asshole, that’s how I smelled.  In my opinion.

At least I no longer had to run around the house trying to find the source for this mysterious smell.  And the kid didn’t try to flee… but maybe he would have if he had the requisite strength/coordination/driver’s license.  I’m pretty sure he gave me the stink eye a couple times that day, no pun intended.

Now I commit to a daily shower.  And deodorant.  And clean clothes.  Now my armpits smell like two-day old waffles.  An improvement, by comparison.  But I stick with the fenugreek, because I’m a rock star mom. 


Anyways, stay tuned for birth story…

Because I Care What You Think... No, Really...
JLC says:

Dear lord… “Sweet and homeless-man's-asshole, that's how I smelled.” I'm sitting at work, reading this, my eyes welling up with tears of laughter.

What are you laughing at, Jen? Oh just that my friend smells like sweet asshole.

Lesson: Read Kate's blog at home.

Amber says:

Homeless man's asshole… I LOL'd! Oh, that is just awesome. :)

This is why my doctor told me to take More Milk Plus! And it helped my supply without the syrup smell! I would weigh 400 pounds fo sho because there is nothing better than pancakes and waffles with syrup. I would eat it at every meal.

Mommy Boots says:

Ah yes, I remember the days of smelling like an IHOP. The smell wasn't unpleasant to me, it just smelled like maple syrup all the time. Fun stuff!

Jessica says:

Damn pros! I am having the same problem and same smell! I am ready to try the domperidone. I found an international pharmacy you can order it from cheaply without a prescription. :) Good luck! It's so hard!

I had to share this…whenever my son is off from school and goes to the gym with me for my workout, he often tells me afterward and when I am all sweaty, “Mama, you smell like a hot dog.” ;)

Anonymous says:

Many thanks.

Jenny says:

When Lily was with us and my milk supply would get low…. oatmeal helped a ton!

Amy says:

whoo hooo! Alaska :D well I am partial since I live there too.

Anyway, fenugreek did not really help me, but motilium and mother milk tincture did since I too have Pcos and am nursing my son who was adopted :D

love and hugs for the new baby!

Kakunaa says:

I used to eat cloves of garlic for my immune system…talk about stench. Sweat, pee, breath – it oozed out of me. It STUNK, LOL. Good luck, sweetie…and I bet you don't eat pancakes for a while.

Tiffany says:

I'm taking Fenugreek and couldn't put my finger on what it smelled like, but thanks to you I've smelled syrup all day long ;) My midwife just prescriped Reglan for me to add as well so we'll see how that goes. Keep it up girl, you are doing great!

I also was having trouble with my milk production due to PCOS, plus my baby was born 3 months early so my body wasn't ready to start producing milk. Luckily for me I don't have a huge demand for milk, since my baby is only 2 months old and only needs about an ounce of milk every feeding. But I would still like to breastfeed her once we wean her off her feeding tube, so I'm trying to keep my production up, which is hard when all you have to work with is a breastpump. Anyway, enough about me. I, like you, live in Tucson and at St. Joseph's hospital they have a Breastfeeding Center. The lady there told me to eat lots of oatmeal, barley, fennel and garlic. And if that doesn't work then Trader Joes has this stuff called More Milk Plus that can help, but it also makes you smell like maple syrup. So far with the oatmeal and the barley(which can be found in Malt-o-Meal's hot cereal) I haven't needed to try the More Milk Plus. Good luck with everything. I can really sympathize with you about not wanting to go back to work. I had to go back on Monday, and it's been miserable. My baby's still in the hospital, so it's not even like I can just come home from work and she's there. Instead I have to drive 20 minutes to see her. (Sorry for such a long comment) Hang in there, Kate, you'll get throught it!

I'm taking domperidone to increase my milk supply. Now that you've told me all about fenugreek I think I'll stick with the prescription. Even though I'm a canuck, I don't think I would like smelling like maple syrup!

Sarah Watson says:

I had the same problem with nursing due to @#$*&% PCOS. I took an herbal supplement from a company called Motherlove and didn't smell so much like waffles. It was more like spit up, most of the time. Keep up the good work and thank you for making me laugh about a time a year ago that what was, for me, way more stressful than it should have been. I should have been laughing about smelling waffley.

I had trouble producing enough milk too. I started eating oatmeal for breakfast every single morning and making sure I pumped/breastfed at least 15 minutes at least 7 times a day. It worked and I'm glad because I really wanted my daughter to have the boob juice. Within about 10 days I had even started my freezer stash. I don't know why but oatmeal is amazing for the boobies.

Nicole says:

Oatmeal and gatorade – two very easy things in my opinion to add to your diet. Both have done wonders for my supply. Also, there is a recipe out there for lactation cookies. I, having twins, did not have time to make them, but I did order some from a web site called milkmakers. Expensive, but delicious, and seemed to help when I was trying to establish my supply. Good luck!!

T Lee says:

On the (somewhat) up side, I'd imagine 5 day old waffles to still smell wayyyyyyyy better than 5 day old Costco Hotdog. Just sayin'.

And if we're talking Costco food, I'm going Chicken Twister and a CHurro, thanks, lol.

claire says:

Hi there!
I struggled with my supply also and took supplements and pumped till I was blue in the face. I talked to numerous lc's, nurses, doctors, got accupuncture, talked to a homeopath. Some things that could help…
Mothers milk tea,
Warm compresses before nursing,
Dark beer,
Leafy greens,
No sugar/ bad fats
I found things that increase my estrogen levels decrease my milk supply. (Low prolactin) I convinced my sons pediatrician to prescribe domperidone. Many months later I am still able to nurse him.
I wouldn't reccomend supplementing as it tells your body you don't need to make more milk. Itty bitty babies don't require a ton of milk anyways as their tummys are the size or marbles at birth. But if you choose to don't feel guilty about it.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Katie says:

Trying to produce enough milk is beyond stressful!!! I gave birth at 24 weeks and lost more than 1/2 my blood volume. Between the blood loss, stress and short gestation, I was basically screwed. I was lucky to pump an ounce a day. The LC suggested fenugreek and then added milk thistle and alfalfa. Since I already felt like a cow numerous times a day, the alfalfa just added to that! It was not pleasant smelling like day old waffles and having to swallow horse pills that smelled like a pasture.

Good luck!

DaisyGal says:

Oh dear god, you make me laugh..and since I didn't BF and didnt intend to, I just stunk because I just had twins and even daily showers, meant I still smelled like “old period”, “hormones” , “baby pee and poo” and of course FORMULA…

good for you for sticking with it for the Babe. you didn't tell us, is it working??? is your supply better as you smell like waffles????

Brandy says:

I've read that oatmeal is good to build supply.

A friend of mine cuts my hair and she took fenugreek for her supply. She said customers would comment that they smelled pancakes.


I took Fenugreek too and in addition to maple syrup smell coming out of my pores, my pee smelled like it too. Every time my husband walked into the bathroom he'd come out and say it smelled like pancakes. I said, “It's smelled worse in there!” So, the good news is that it worked- I saw my supply go up at least several ounces when I pumped. I stopped taking it, but still maintained the increased supply.

Lisa Miller says:

Hang in there and do the best you can. I had trouble, too…

I breastfed my twins for three months, supplementing with formula when I needed to. I cried every time I had to increase their food, because I could barely produce enough to begin with. I really beat myself up about it, but my pediatrician gave me awesome advice: Do what you can. Any breast milk is better than none. Take good care of yourself, because happy mommy = happy baby.

Once I let go and let things take their course, I wish I could say the breastfeeding magically worked… but it didn't. I made it to three months and we switched to formula. But I carved out a tiny bit of time for myself, which was a relief. AND, one of the twins still wanted to breast feed in the morning, at bed time and when she was cranky. Once the pressure was off, it was actually very enjoyable :)

Good luck and take good care of yourself!!

Ed says:

You had me at Homeless man's asshole.

Cole says:

Mommy failed at breastfeeding despite trying all of the above and then some – her favorite remedy attempt was lactation cookies, although nothing did any good. Turns out she doesn't have proper breast tissue, so no milk. The cookies were pretty good, though…

Kara says:

I hope your milk supply improves so you can stop taking icky stuff and smelling like old eggos.

I never had a problem producing milk, only trying to STOP producing milk. Oy.

Good luck with your in-laws :)

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