Lactation Cookies: Trendy or Tried and True?

Do "lactation" cookies really do the job?Many nursing mothers swear by eating cookies with ingredients believed to boost breast milk supply (lactation cookies). While there is insufficient scientific evidence that they’re effective, there are some benefits worth mentioning!

One of my favorite memories from my breastfeeding days is enjoying lactation cookies.

As someone who typically follows an “in moderation” approach to sweet treats, I was free!

Sort of.

I felt I had a valid excuse to eat a few, delicious cookies per day AND my husband actually kept his hand out of the cookie jar and saved them for me! Unheard of!

To be honest, I never investigated the science behind the cookies (my first batch was a gift) and I am not sure if they truly increased my milk supply.  Scientifically proven or not (and I could not find any evidence-based material, most is anecdotal), I do believe there may be some benefits for nursing mothers who indulge in a few lactation cookies here and there.

Nursing mothers need more calories: On average, breastfeeding women need 500 extra calories per day. This is no easy feat when a nursing babe is latched to you and fancy meal prep is out of the question. A few lactation cookies may easily boost caloric intake. Please note: Lactation cookies are unfortunately not a substitute for all of the other amazing nutrients nursing mamas are in need of! Also, don’t forget extra fluids, hydrate with those cookies too!

Related: Mama Fuel-Get Key Nutrients from These Delicious Snack Ideas

Nursing mothers should be happy, relaxed mothers: I don’t know about you, but cookies make me happy! Oats are a comfort food for many of us, and when added to lactation cookies, may provide us with positive memories and relaxation. Plus, if you receive lactation cookies as a gift, every bite will be a sweet reminder that someone cared about you……….and baked you cookies! 

Milk supply may be boosted with lactation cookie ingredients: What makes a lactation cookie anyway? Apparently, not just any cookie will do! Lactation cookies contain key ingredients that many believe help boost milk supply (a.k.a galactogogues).

They are: 

  • Brewer’s Yeast: Brewer’s yeast is often grown as a nutritional supplement from a one-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. You can read more about brewer’s yeast and potential contraindications (and there are somehere.
  • Flaxseeds (Linseeds): Teeny, tiny seeds that have lots of nutritional benefit in their ground form. They are packed full of fiber and omega 3-fatty acids.
  • Oats: You can read some possible explanations for the role of oats in increasing milk supply here.

Final Note: Lactation cookies are by no means a miracle for boosting breast milk supply. If you are having issues with low milk supply, they are never a substitute for visiting and troubleshooting with your local lactation consultant.

Related: Many Moms may Have been Taught to Breastfeed Incorrectly 

And perhaps the moment you have all been waiting for, a new twist on an old classic………..a lactation doughnut recipe! I had fun whipping these scrumptious treats up and my family enjoyed them. While I cannot guarantee they will boost your milk supply, the recipe does contain brewer’s yeast, flaxseed meal, and oats. Either way, they are delicious.

 I would also love to hear your thoughts about lactation cookies (trendy or tried and true) in the comments below!

Lactation Doughnuts

Lactation Doughnut Recipe

Makes Six

Ingredients: 

For the doughnuts:

  • 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsweetened almond or coconut milk (lightly warmed)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic, unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup oat flour (I made my own in a food processor)
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 or 2 tbsp. brewer’s yeast (*see the link to contraindications listed above and determine if appropriate for you!)  

For the Chocolate Glaze: 

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp. maple syrup
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Instructions: 

For the Chocolate Glaze:

Melt in the microwave for approximately 15 seconds. Stir until blended and thickened.

For the doughnuts:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease your doughnut pan lightly with coconut oil.

2. Make your “egg” with flaxseed meal. Combine 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal and 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl. Set aside and let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir well.

4. Mix in applesauce and almond milk.

5. Add the dry ingredients (oat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon) and stir well to combine.

6. Add the thickened flax meal and stir to combine.

7. Fill your doughnut tin with the batter (it will be super sticky!). I find it easier (and less messy) to pour my batter into a plastic baggie, snip the end, and then fill the doughnut tin.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the doughnuts have risen and are lightly browned. Make the chocolate glaze (see above) while your yummy doughnuts are cooking!

9. Once your doughnuts have cooled for several minutes, dip them in the chocolate glaze.

Optional: add crushed walnuts or unsweetened coconut flakes on top for a little pizzazz!

Enjoy!


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