Lactation cookies are made with specific ingredients that many women believe help increase milk production. These cookies also contain lots of nourishing vitamins and minerals for both mom and baby.
You may be wondering what “magical” ingredients are in these cookies that so many breastfeeding mommas swear by. The answer lies in the word “galactagogue.”
What is a Galactagogue?
A galactagogue, stemming from the Greek words “galact-,“ meaning “milk,” and “-ogogue,” meaning “promoting,” is precisely what the Greek definition is: a substance used for promoting milk.
So, what are these galactagogues, and how can you find them?
Many everyday herbs and foods, a lot of them probably stored in your pantry, contain galactagogues that are baked in cookies, coining them “lactation cookies.”
Some of these herbs and foods include almonds, Brewer’s yeast, brown rice, coconut/coconut oil, flaxseed/flaxseed meal, fennel, oats, and turmeric.
What are the Nutritious Benefits of Galactagogues?
Apart from potentially boosting your milk supply, these herbs and foods have many other health benefits for both mom and baby.
Almonds contain good fats, fiber, and protein, making them a nutritious ingredient in lactation cookies.
Brewer’s yeast contains B vitamins, iron, protein, and other nutrients and minerals. It may improve mood and energy, which can help combat the “baby blues.”
Brown rice is very nutritious and an excellent source of fiber to help keep the gut healthy.
Coconut or Coconut Oil
Coconut contains healthy fats and also has antimicrobial properties. This may be passed to your baby through breastmilk, protecting them from bacteria and viruses.
Flaxseed or Flaxseed Meal
Flaxseed/flaxseed meal contain essential fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
You can find flaxseed oil as an over-the-counter supplement.
Native to the Mediterranean, fennel is a vegetable that you can cook or eat raw. You can use the fennel bulb, stalk, and leaves in your recipes for some extra flavor. Fennel is easy to find as an over-the-counter supplement.
Oats are rich in fiber, iron, protein, and complex carbohydrates that improve your digestive system and energy levels.
They also help regulate your blood glucose levels by delaying the absorption of carbohydrates.
A dash of turmeric helps improve the immune system, digestion, and mood and reduce inflammation. Turmeric can also be found as an over-the-counter supplement.
What are the Benefits of Lactation Cookies?
Lactation cookies are not only known for their “magical” effect on increasing milk supply. These bite-sized snacks have several other health benefits as well.
1. A Nutritional Bite-Sized Snack
Lactation cookies contain many vitamins and minerals that can help replenish your energy. Taking care of a newborn can leave you feeling worn down.
Between frequent feedings, changing diapers, and rocking your baby to sleep, grabbing a lactation cookie is a convenient way to give your body the calories needed for breastfeeding.
2. Helps Improve the Digestive System
Lactation cookies typically include fiber-rich ingredients such as oats and other whole grains.
Fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy by relieving constipation and regulating bowel movements.
3. May Help with Those Baby Blues
After giving birth, some women experience postpartum depression, or commonly known as the “baby blues.” Some of the ingredients in lactation cookies, such as Brewer’s yeast, may help improve mood and energy.
4. They are Nutritious for Anyone!
Lactation cookies are highly nutritious for dad and the kids as well. Don’t worry! They will not start producing milk. These cookies only support lactation in breastfeeding women.
How Do I Make Lactation Cookies?
A simple google search for lactation cookies will deliver you so many delicious recipes to try out. Check out this one by the Ambitious Kitchen!
You can still add your favorite ingredients like chocolate chips to these cookies, and many of these recipes call for three key ingredients: Brewer’s Yeast, flaxseed, and oats.
These three key ingredients contain many important nutrients for breastfeeding moms.
One tablespoon of flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber, protein, and essential fatty acids. Brewer’s yeast provides B-vitamins, iron, and protein. Last but not least, oats offer a good amount of fiber, iron, and protein.
When you mix these three key ingredients with your cookie recipe of choice, you have a tasty, nutritious lactation cookie!
Do Lactation Cookies Work?
Lactation cookies sound like a more desirable approach to boost your milk supply, don’t they? But do they work?
Some women remain skeptical, while many others swear by these bite-sized snacks. At this time, there have not been any conclusive studies on whether or not lactation cookies work to increase milk supply, nor on the ingredients and their effects on milk production.
However, there are many reports from women who believe that their increase in milk supply was due to eating lactation cookies.
Taking care of a newborn can definitely make a momma feel worn down. It can be challenging to find the time to down a quick snack, much less a full-course meal.
But when a mother does find the time to eat something healthy, the intake of nutrients can help improve energy and boost the healthy fatty acids in breast milk.
Please take time for yourself to eat. You need a certain number of calories from whole, healthy foods to maintain your energy levels because it takes a lot of energy to breastfeed.
Do Lactation Cookies Cause Any Side Effects?
Despite being a nutritious snack, women have reported some undesirable side effects of lactation cookies, such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, and occasionally weight gain.
The culprits are usually Brewer’s yeast and fiber, so it may be helpful to start with a smaller serving size or include a smaller amount of these ingredients in your cookie recipe.
If you can tolerate the smaller amount, slowly increase the amount in the next batch of cookies.
When In Doubt, Start With A Small Portion
If you decide to consume any of the above foods and herbs to increase your milk production, it’s best to lean on the side of caution.
These ingredients are safe and healthy, but some may find that they are sensitive to them, especially with the extra fiber.
You can always speak to your doctor or your lactation consultant about any supplements, foods, and herbs that you should avoid while breastfeeding.