Oak Harbor business baking with nursing moms in mind

Owner of The Breast Baker Ever

Jenna King has always loved baking, but it wasn’t until she had her second child that King saw her passion as a vehicle to help breastfeeding moms.

The Breast Baker Ever, as King and her business are known, fills her baked goods with more than fresh fruit, spices and chocolate.

She also packs her creations with a trifecta of brewer’s yeast, flaxseed and oatmeal — all items great for increasing a nursing mother’s milk supply.

“A lot of people don’t realize that nursing is a big job and a lot of moms can go through a low milk supply,” said King, who lives in Oak Harbor while her husband is stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

“When that happens, there are some foods that can naturally help.”

Most manufactured products featuring these ingredients, however, are notorious for tasting bitter and medicinal, according to King. Her claim to fame is her ability to mask these flavors.

“Baking is a lot of chemistry, so it’s all about balancing the amount of each ingredient with other flavors,” she said.

King first developed her recipes for lactation cookies and muffins in late 2014 while living on the Travis Air Force base in Northern California.

Only a day after her son was born, King said she concocted her first batch of lactation cookies and delivered them to members of her breastfeeding support group. The response was immediate, according to King.

“I had one friend that day who had been in the ER all night because she was severely dehydrated and almost completely lost her supply,” King said. “So I dropped them off, and she said she woke up fuller than normal the next day.

“That was what made me think I really had something that could help other moms.”

Friend Shara Hamatake pushed King to start her business later the next year and was one of King’s first customers.

“I didn’t believe they were lactation cookies because they tasted amazing,” Hamatake said. “And I immediately noticed a difference in my milk supply the next morning.”

For Hamatake, King filled the need many moms have for the kind of lactation product that both works and tastes good. More importantly, she believes King’s business helped create a more open and supportive space for nursing moms.

“She always made each mom feel like what they were doing was important,” Hamatake said.

Before moving to Washington last fall, King’s business was serving roughly 150 regular customers every week. With previous success helping nursing moms in California, King is planning to bring her unique goodies to Whidbey Island soon.

She only needs the county and state to grant the many licenses it takes to run a bakery out of her home, a process she hopes is complete by the fall.

King said she’ll offer her regular repertoire of flavors, including her lemon poppy seed, orange cranberry and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and her popular oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookie.

And while all her products help nursing moms, King notes that anyone can enjoy them without fear of spontaneously producing milk.

“A lot of people think ‘lactation goods’ means they’re made with breast milk or will make you produce milk, but that’s not the case,” she said with a chuckle.

“Though I’ve had some moms tell their family that so they didn’t eat all her cookies or muffins.”

King also plans to open a franchise in Florida with her own mother.

For King, it’s all about continuing to support nursing moms.

“I do miss being a part of ‘mother’s journey’ and that network of women supporting each other,” King said.

“The moms at Travis were amazing and I want to spread that support.”

Big Latch On

Nursing mothers in Island County are invited to The Big Latch On this Saturday, Aug. 6, at Hummingbird Farm Nursery & Gardens from 10 a.m. to noon to breastfeed together and offer support among friends, family and the community.

The event takes place globally each year in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1 to 7.