Charlotte brand Milkful builds popular snack brand for nursing moms

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Charlotte mom and entrepreneur Dina Carey has a hit product on her hands after starting Milkful, a line of lactation snack bars, last fall.

Since October, she’s sold $500,000 worth of the healthy bars, which come in three flavors and are packed with ingredients meant to stimulate breast milk production such as oats and chia seeds.

courtesy of Milkful

The majority of sales come from her online shop, though the bars can also be found in Charlotte shop The Milky Way in Dilworth. They cost about $3.25 a bar and are sold in multi-packs online.

Milkful was born from Carey’s first attempt at breastfeeding in 2014 after her daughter, Lawson Rose, was born.

Lawson was underweight, and by four months Carey had to give up breastfeeding. “It was more emotional than I thought it would be,” she said.

She researched ways to boost milk supply, but most of the options she came across were items such as lactation cookies that were high in added sugars.

“I just felt like there was really an opportunity for a wholesome food product for mom,” Carey said. “Your body takes a big hit for a while. Why isn’t there something that is not as sugar laden?”

Carey has perhaps the perfect background to launch a successful product in the space. She has a business degree from the University of Georgia and worked in administrative capacities at Carolinas Healthcare System for eight years. She also went to culinary school.

courtesy of Milkful

Carey worked with dieticians and lactation consultants to develop the bars, and began testing them on mom friends and was “blown away” with the feedback.

At first she baked after hours at Sunflour Bakery but has since moved to a co-packer, Golden Grains Baking, and sends the products through a fulfillment center in Fort Mill.

Milkful’s website offers a simple and useful interface, with customer testimonials running across the bottom and a subscription option so busy moms can make sure the bars are delivered automatically.

The product itself is quite good — blueberry almond coconut and chocolate banana nut are the most popular bars.

As a breastfeeding mom myself for the past six months, I can vouch they’re certainly a step up from grabbing a muffin or traditional lactation cookie. The packaging is very cute as well.

Carey herself is proof that the product can work. She’s been breastfeeding her second daughter, Iyla, for more than six months now.

She hopes to continue to grow sales and eventually add more products into the mix.

“Right now we’re just trying to continue growing,” she said. “We’re barely scraping the surface of moms who can benefit from our bars.”

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Erin Dunn
Charlotte Agenda Writer