When my sister was about to deliver her first baby, I made a big batch of lactation cookies to take to her. They were yummy and my boys ate them up before I could get them to my sister. (I made another batch and kept the boys well away!) Lactation cookies are a great way to nurture your friends and family, but do they really help increase milk production?
Elizabeth’s take on lactation cookies, shared previously on another blog.
The best way to maximize milk production is early, frequent, and effective emptying of the breasts. All the cookies in the world won’t change getting a good start or make up for underlying physical or hormonal challenges. Seeing an IBCLC early in the breastfeeding journey can help determine what might be causing problems, so don’t delay getting professional help!
Cookies can be a part of supporting milk production by boosting calories, adding beneficial and nutritious ingredients, and supporting happy hormones- feeling loved and supported allows the oxytocin to flow and thus the milk can flow as well. Calories, nutrition, and love can all be provided in other ways, but sometimes there is nothing like a cookie for a post lunch treat or afternoon boost!
Besides adding some needed calories (500 kcal more than pre-pregnancy), the ingredients in lactation cookies can support overall nutritional status and thus milk production. A few of the ingredients common in lactation cookies are considered lactogenic and may help increase supply:
• Coconut oil: healthy fats can increase the fat in milk
• Seeds: contain tryptophan that helps produce serotonin that can help produce prolactin• Nuts: contain minerals, good oils, and tryptophan.
• Flaxseed: relieves constipation, is lactogenic
• Oats: contain tryptophan, saponins (hormone precursors), phytoestrogens, beta-glucan (increases prolactin)
• Nutritional yeast: contains b vitamins , protein, and phytoestrogen.
(reference: Motherfood by Hilary Jacobson)
Snuggle up skin to skin with your baby and eat some cookies! As part of a balanced (or as balanced as you can as a new parent) diet and good hydration, lactation cookies can help support milk production, make up for some calorie deficits, and make you happy!