One of the most stressful situations for a mother, who’s just given birth to her precious newborn, is not knowing whether she is producing enough breastmilk.
Those who have gone through this period of doubt, know all too well how daunting it can be. There are many factors which contribute towards high and low milk supply.
When mothers notice one of the following: that their baby is not full after feeds, not putting on weight as expected on their growth chart, or not producing enough wet nappies or passing stool as expected, they are advised to find ways to increase their milk supply by eating natural galactogogues.
This article will explore the ingredients used to make lactation cookies, how often mothers should be eating them and whether or not they work in increasing milk supply.
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What Are Lactation Cookies?
Lactation cookies act as supplements for increasing milk supply because of the specific ingredients used when baking them.
There are certain herbs and foods which have over time gained a reputation for increasing breastmilk supply and are commonly used across several different cultures and countries.
Below are some foods and herbal galactogogues that are used to increase milk production:
- Milk Thistle
- Goat’s Rue
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole Grains
Most lactation cookies contain: flaxseed, fenugreek, brewer’s yeast and oats. These ingredients contain high levels of saponins which help increase prolactin – the hormone needed for milk production.
To make the snacks delicious, some recipes also encourage use of cocoa powder, chocolate chip cookies and cane sugar. These cookies are so healthy, anyone can eat them. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Do Lactation Cookies Work?
All mothers are different, and therefore it is difficult to give a definite answer on whether lactation cookies work. Whilst lactation cookies make for ideal supplements, they cannot be relied upon solely to increase your production.
Some mothers reported feeling full and engorged after eating two cookies a day regularly where as some mothers didn’t notice any difference in their milk supply even after eating several a day for many weeks.
It is however, safe to say, that if your latch is correct, and you have maintained and sustained a good milk feeding routine for your baby, you have a healthy diet and stay hydrated, are emptying your breasts regularly then there is no reason why these cookies will not work to boost your production.
If however, on the other hand, you have struggled to establish an adequate milk supply for your baby due to poor latching, or a traumatic delivery experience then it is likely that you will need more than just the help of lactation cookies to get your milk supply to optimal levels.
It is also important to note, that as with everything else, consistency is key. So if you follow the instructions, start by two cookies a day and eat them regularly whilst not forgetting or skipping days, then this will yield position results.
Some mothers have reported seeing an increase in their milk supply within two days of eating lactation cookies regularly.
Should Lactating Mothers Give Them A Go?
Even if you aren’t looking to increase your milk supply, mothers caring for newborns need energy and extra calories to get through those difficult first few weeks. These cookies are packed with healthy calories.
Oats, one of the key ingredients in the cookies, is a key source of fiber needed for bowel movement in those early postpartum days. It is also packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins that a lactating mother requires to replenish her losing nutrients.
Brewer’s Yeast is used to treat diabetes, therefore, it is excellent in regulating blood sugar levels. It is also a good source of vitamin B which increases energy and mood levels – so vital during those first few months postpartum.
Don’t forget – having a healthy diet is important when breastfeeding and these cookies are packed with healthy ingredients. Ingredients can pass through the milk to the baby and aid your baby’s growth and developmemt.
Breastfeeding mothers need approximately 1800 calories a day. These cookies, provide those extra calories, are healthy and have also proven to boost milk supply for a lot of mums out there. You simply can’t go wrong by giving them a go!
Instructions On How Often To Eat Lactation Cookies
Commonly, lactation cookies can be eaten as soon as a mother’s milk comes in at day 2/3. As a starting point, it is advised to consume two cookies a day.
After a couple of days you may find that one cookie a day is enough to increase your milk supply and maintain it. Increase this number if you feel you need to boost your milk supply further.
It is advisable to eat the cookies straight after you’ve finished a feed, or a couple of hours before your next feed. This will give the cookies some time to work and promote lactation.
Some mothers specifically purchase and consume lactation cookies for occasions when they are looking to increase their milk supply due to a growth spurt, because they wish to stock up a frozen breastmilk supply and because they want extra milk for cluster feeding.
Here is a recipe you can try at home taken from howsweeteats.com
- 3 cups: rolled oats
- 1.5 cups: organic all purpose flour (unbleached)
- 5 tablespoons: brewer’s yeast
- 3 tablespoons: ground flaxseed
- 0.5 teaspoon: baking powder
- 0.5 teaspoon: baking soda
- 0.5 teaspoon: ground cinnamon
- 0.25 teaspoon: salt
- 12 tablespoons: butter unsalted
- 4 tablespoons unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
- 1.5 cups: organic cane sugar
- 1 large egg & 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons: vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups: dark chocolate chips
- You can also add fenugreek powder
- Pre heat your oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl mix together all your dry ingredients.
- With an electric mixer, whisk together your coconut oil and butter until the consistency is creamy.
- Add in the sugar to your creamy mixture, then add in the egg and egg yolk. Then eventually the vanilla extract.
- Add in your dry ingredients gradually, beating on low speed.
- Lastly, add in your chocolate chips with a spatula.
When ready make little balls, and flatten them out on to a baking tray. Bake for about 14 minutes or until you can see them getting golden. You could also try this easy and tasty lactation overnight oats.
Possible Side Effects
Whilst it is uncommon, and under reported, some women might be sensitive to brewer’s yeast found in lactation cookies. Possible side effects may include:
- weight gain
- constipation / gas
- oversupply of milk production
Brewer’s yeast can cause gas, diarrhea, constipation and bloating in some women, therefore it is good to be mindful of this. It is has an effect on the digestive system since it is made from a form of fungus.
So whilst one or two cookies will not have much of an impact, five or six might! These side effects would only really be experienced if brewer’s yeast is taken in large quantities.
The sugar and butter found in the cookies can also contribute towards weight gain. Therefore, whilst the calories are important when breastfeeding be mindful if you have high blood sugar levels or have been diagnosed with diabetes during your pregnancy.
Once you start eating lactation cookies, it is also advisable to keep at eye out to see whether your baby is more irritable, struggling with gas and wind after a feed. It could be that some ingredients in the lactation cookies have not suited them well and they are reacting to it.
Feeding regularly and emptying your breasts properly is crucial for milk production. Whilst, lactation cookies contain milk boosting ingredients, they cannot be relied upon solely to increase milk supply.
You may need to contact a lactation consultant who will be able to advise on bespoke breastfeeding practicing to increase your milk production.
You may need to learn the techniques to correct your baby’s latch. You may also need to pump regularly to promote milk production.
Either way, there’s no harm in having some lactation cookies on your bedside table during those long exhausting night feeds to give you a boost of energy and promote milk production. It is a constructive way to keep your body nourished whilst encouraging milk production.
But remember they are a supplement and not a replacement for a healthy diet. Lactation cookies should be eaten in moderation so you have an appetite for your normal meals.