For new moms looking to breastfeed, the responsibility of producing your child’s meals can be a bit overwhelming. It’s no wonder more and more mothers are turning to things like lactation cookies to help boost nutrients and milk production naturally.
But how exactly do lactation cookies work? Simply put, it all comes down to a few key ingredients. Read on to learn how lactation cookies work, why they may be beneficial for breastfeeding, and what ingredients specifically could increase milk supply.
What are Lactation Cookies?
Lactation cookies are cookies made with specific ingredients rich in key nutrients that help keep breastfeeding moms nourished so that they can produce milk. The most popular lactation cookie ingredients are oats and flaxseed, but some lactation cookies also include special compounds known as galactagogues which can help further support milk production.
The Science Behind Lactation Cookies
Keep in mind that not just any cookie is a lactation cookie. There are a few specific galactagogues and ingredients that have actual evidence backing up their use for lactation support.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common lactation cookie ingredients and galactagogues, as well as the science behind them:
Flaxseed - Flaxseed is one of the few plant-based foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA. These healthy fats are passed through breastmilk to your baby and help support growth and development. Flaxseed is also a rich source of key micronutrients like selenium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and more.
Oats - Oatmeal is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also been shown in studies to increase prolactin, a hormone that plays an integral role in supporting lactation. Plus, oats are a wholesome, nourishing food that most people digest very well.
Fenugreek - Fenugreek’s taste is sometimes compared to maple syrup. This aromatic herb has been used in culinary dishes since ancient times, and remains extremely popular today, particularly in the Indian subcontinent. It is also a mild galactagogue, having been shown to increase milk supply in some lactating parents (but not all).
Brewer’s Yeast - Brewer’s yeast is not technically a galactagogue. However, it is an extremely rich source of B vitamins, which play a key role in energy production and are important for nursing. B12 in particular helps support brain development and the production of healthy red blood cells.
Other Benefits of Lactation Cookies
When it comes to lactation, there are important considerations to keep in mind beyond just milk supply. It’s also important to consider milk quality. Even if lactation cookies don’t improve your milk supply, the vitamins and nutrients contained in the ingredients above can help ensure nutritious milk quality.
Also, lactation cookies can be a tasty source of nutrient-dense calories. This is important for breastfeeding moms, because it’s estimated you’ll need an extra 300 to 500 calories per day to produce milk.
The Best Lactation Cookies
So, what are the best lactation cookies to buy?
There are several brands that make cookies specifically designed to boost milk supply. Here are a few of our favorite options you can choose from, depending on your own dietary goals and preferences:
Best Ayurvedic Lactation Cookies: Mrs Patel’s Lactation Cookies are gluten-free, soy-free, fenugreek-free, and dairy-free. They’re also made with ingredients traditionally used by nursing mothers for hundreds of years.
Best Organic Lactation Cookies (with a Nutrient Boost Blend): Happy Mama Organics Lactation Cookies include the classic lactation ingredients like brewer’s yeast, flax, and oats, but also feature a unique Nutrient Boost Blend of DHA and other vitamins and minerals to help support breastfeeding.
Best Fenugreek-Free Lactation Cookies: Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites are another great option for moms who want a lactation cookie made without fenugreek. These are made with oats, brewer's yeast, and flaxseed.
Best Vegan Lactation Cookies: Maxine’s Heavenly Cookies aren’t considered lactation cookies or advertised as such, but we’ve heard from several people that our cookies help increase their milk supply. Our cookies are vegan, dairy-free and rich in wholesome galactagogue ingredients like oats and flaxseed. Plus - they come in a wide variety of delicious flavors!
If you are breastfeeding (or know a new mom who is) consider gifting them cookies that are rich in wholesome ingredients like flaxseed and oatmeal. At Maxine’s Heavenly we’re devoted to making delicious homemade-style cookies that are also packed full of wholesome healthy ingredients that can help with milk supply.
You can browse our full selection of flavors here.
A note from Dr. Carlin Reaume, OTD, OTR/L, PMH-C, PCES, Owner of Supported Mama:
Given the many societal pressures associated with breastfeeding, it is not uncommon for new mothers to be bombarded with unsolicited advice from well-meaning family and friends about all things lactation. If you are having difficulty with your feeding journey and are looking for immediate help, consider exploring valuable online resources such as La Leche League or KellyMom as a starting point.
If you are having milk supply concerns or discomfort associated with breastfeeding, schedule a consultation with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for personalized support.