Lactation Cookies – Benefits and Recipes

Lactation Cookies - Benefits and Recipes

Breastfeeding is strongly recommended for the first six months. Breastfeeding ensures that a newborn gets all the necessary nutrients and antibodies in the first few months of his birth. The more you nurse your baby, the more the milk is produced. However, the quantity of milk produced varies and often it may not be enough for a full feeding. Hence, one of the most popular methods used by new mothers to increase their milk supply is the consumption of lactation cookies.

What Are Lactation Cookies?

Lactation cookies are snacks which are made using galactagogues or foods that are believed to improve breast milk production. They have been used for a while, but have gained popularity over the past few years. Many mothers have seen an increase in their milk supply after eating these cookies, but this is mostly anecdotal evidence. There is little scientific research backing lactation cookies increase breast milk supply. In fact, doctors are concerned that women who feel they are not making enough milk might just eat lactation cookies instead of seeking medical help. Placebo effect aside, these cookies are quite healthy and do provide a vast variety of nutritional benefits required by nursing mothers.

What Are the Galactagogues (Milk Boosting ingredients) Found in Lactation Cookies?

As already mentioned, galactagogues are milk boosting ingredients, but there is no clear proof that they work as advertised. However, the galactagogues in lactation cookies are generally quite beneficial to health.

1. Oats

Oats are nutritious foods that offer high amounts of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, vitamins and so on. Compounds like saponins, which stimulate the immune system and raise prolactin levels in the body, are said to boost milk synthesis. Their carb and fibre content regulates sugar absorption in the body, preventing blood sugar spikes.

2. Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds, also known as ‘methi dana‘, are a common part of Indian cuisine. They are packed with healthy phytoestrogens, which buffer the oestrogen in your body. This, in turn, controls prolactin, and thereby milk production. It is also thought to increase perspiration, which activates the letdown reflex leading to release of milk.

3. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are rich in healthy fats, such as the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These nutrients improve cardiovascular health and the immune system. They are also known to boost the synthesis of breast milk. Flaxseeds also contain fibre, vitamin B, vitamin E, potassium, and calcium, which makes them an important part of a balanced diet.

4. Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is used in various foods like bread, dosa, cakes, and so on. It is rich in vitamin B-complex, which helps increase the milk production as they are crucial in cellular metabolism. Yeast is also packed with protein and micronutrients like selenium and chromium. However, consumption of yeast may result in digestive problems like diarrhoea or gas. If you or your baby are sensitive or allergic to yeast, please avoid this ingredient.

Benefits of Lactation Cookies

Aside from boosting breast milk production, here are a few important benefits of lactation cookies for nursing mothers:

1. Improves Health

The ingredients in lactation cookies are rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, phytohormones, antioxidants and a host of other powerful nutrients required by the body for the efficient functioning of metabolic processes. For instance, the iron content in flaxseed and oats is essential in preventing anaemia, a common condition in new mothers, by maintaining blood production rates.

2. Controls Constipation

Oats are filled with large amounts of dietary fibre or roughage (especially in the form of beta-glucans). This eases the postpartum difficulty of bowel movements and constipation. This can also help in reducing some of your pregnancy weight.

3. Helps with Postpartum Depression

As per some research, the combination of nutrients found in flaxseed and brewer’s yeast can help combat postpartum depression, better known as the baby blues. In any case, the small amounts of sugar in lactation cookies can certainly improve your mood.

Postpartum depression

4. Completely Harmless

Lactation cookies are not harmful in any way, because their ingredients are totally natural. A few minor complications might be a gas problem from the oatmeal or an increase in weight if you eat too many cookies. Furthermore, fenugreek is sometimes not recommended for nursing women with health conditions, but the amount present in lactation cookies is too small to cause any serious problems.

5. Nutritious Snacks

Lactation cookies are tasty as well as healthy. As you can make them at home by yourself, you can control the tastes, textures, and flavours to suit your preference. They serve as excellent snacks you can munch on if you’re feeling hungry. Avoiding processed foods in favour of homemade cookies is actually quite beneficial.

Healthy Homemade Lactation Cookies Recipes

Below is a list of healthy and delicious lactation cookie recipes you can make at home.

1. Biscuit Bites

These delicious chocolate chip lactation cookies require simple ingredients and take less than ten minutes of preparation time.

Biscuit bites

What You Will Need

  • Two tbsp peanut butter
  • Two tbsp honey
  • Two tbsp powdered flaxseed
  • Half cup grated coconut
  • One cup rolled oats
  • One tsp Brewer’s Yeast
  • One tbsp fenugreek powder
  • Few drops Vanilla essence
  • Two tbsp chocolate chips

How To Prepare

  • Mix yeast, chocolate chips, flaxseed, coconut, fenugreek and oatmeal together in a blender.
  • Then add honey, vanilla essence, and peanut butter and continue blending until smooth.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for around an hour.
  • Take it out and roll it into small discs.
  • The cookies are ready to eat.
  • As these cookies include honey, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking these, as honey is not recommended for babies under 1 years of age. Although you are not directly giving it to the baby, it still finds its way, so be careful.

2. No Sugar Cookies

These nutritious cookies are sugar-free and contain a variety of healthy ingredients.

No sugar cookies

What You Will Need

  • Two tbsp Brewer’s Yeast
  • One banana
  • One whisked egg
  • Two tbsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • Two cups rolled oats
  • Three tbsp crushed nuts of your choice
  • Two tbsp fenugreek powder
  • One tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

How To Prepare

  • Mix oats, baking soda, fenugreek, cinnamon, baking powder, yeast, salt, and nuts together in a bowl.
  • Blend together banana, eggs, and coconut oil until you get a smooth texture.
  • Mix the dry and wet ingredients with your hands.
  • Pour around two tbsp worth of the mixture onto a wax paper or cookie sheet and press to form a small disc.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for around fifteen minutes, and let them cool before eating.

3. Raisin Berry Cookies

These yummy no-bake lactation cookies are packed with berries and raisins, giving them a tropical flavour.

Raising berry cookies

What You Will Need

  • Few drops of vanilla essence
  • Two tbsp cocoa powder
  • Four tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Half cup milk
  • Three cups oatmeal
  • Four tbsp peanut butter
  • One tsp flaxseed
  • Half cup assorted raisins and berries
  • Half tsp fenugreek powder
  • One cup sweetener, preferably cane sugar
  • Half tsp salt

How To Prepare

  • Mix milk, coconut oil, sugar, and cocoa together and allow the mixture to cook in a saucepan for a minute.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until you get a thick paste.
  • Pour small blobs of the mixture onto cookie paper, press into a disc and allow them to set.

4. Pumpkin Cookies

These spicy pumpkin lactation cookies are a delicious treat.

Pumpkin cookies

What You Will Need

  • Two cups cane sugar
  • One cup oatmeal
  • Two cups flour
  • One tsp baking soda
  • Four tbsp Brewer’s Yeast
  • One tbsp pumpkin spice
  • Half cup butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • One tsp vanilla essence
  • One cup pureed pumpkin
  • One egg
  • Two tbsp powdered flaxseed

How To Prepare

  • Blend the cane sugar, oatmeal, flour, baking soda, yeast, pumpkin spice, salt, fenugreek powder and flaxseed together.
  • In a separate vessel, mix together vanilla essence, pureed pumpkin, egg, and butter.
  • Mix the wet ingredients slowly with the dry ingredients and mix until you get a consistent dough.
  • Spoon out small parts of the dough onto a wax paper and press into a disc.
  • Bake them in a preheated oven for around fifteen minutes.

5. Eggless Cookies

These eggless lactation cookies are ideal for vegans and vegetarians who want to avoid animal products.

Eggless cookies

What You Will Need

  • Half cup organic coconut oil
  • Two tbsp chia seeds
  • Two tbsp Brewer’s Yeast
  • Half cup almond butter
  • Half cup cane sugar
  • Two tbsp honey
  • One tsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Two tbsp chocolate chips
  • Four tbsp flour
  • One tsp powdered fenugreek

How To Prepare

  • Take flour, sugar, salt, flaxseed, fenugreek, salt, and chocolate chips in a bowl and blend.
  • Mix the coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla extract, and honey in a different bowl.
  • Combine the two bowls together until you are left with a smooth clay-like batter.
  • Make small discs with this batter on a wax paper.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for around ten minutes.
  • This recipe also includes honey. Talk to your healthcare provider before eating these cookies. However, the best option would be to replace honey with some other sweetening agent.

FAQs

Here are some important questions that are frequently asked about lactation cookies.

1. How Long Does it Take for Lactation Cookies to Work?

Most nursing mothers can tell if there is a difference in milk production within the first two or three days. Ideally, you should give it up to a week to be totally sure.

2. Where to Store Baked Lactation Biscuits?

Simply place all your lactation biscuits in a sealed container or a ziplock bag. Then you can store them for around a week or so before they become inedible. If you baked too many, you can freeze the remaining, where they will stay fresh for at least a few months.

3. How Many Lactation Cookies Should I Eat?

This depends on you. Most women eat one or two cookies a day.

4. Are Breastfeeding Biscuits Safe for My Child to Eat?

Yes, breastfeeding cookies are entirely safe for older children. However, please make sure that your older child brushes and flosses his teeth twice a day to flush any food particles out.

5. Is There Actual Breastmilk in These Cookies?

No. They are called so because they contain foods which improve breast milk production.

6. Is it Possible to Make Dairy-Free Lactation Cookies?

It is certainly possible. Replace any dairy products with an effective substitute, for instance, milk can be replaced by coconut milk, butter with almond butter and so on.

If you are facing problems in breast milk production, there could be several reasons, ranging from inadequate latching to lack of proper feeding schedule. If you are facing any problem in breastfeeding your baby, ask your doctor for advice. If your doctor suspects you might be facing any complications, he will refer you to lactation consultants who are trained to handle this problem with ease and empathy.

Also Read: Reasons for a Low Breast Milk Supply and How to Fix It?