Whether you’re struggling to produce enough milk or simply want to give your system a boost, nutrition can help. Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CND, shares her favorite lactation cookie recipes that are delicious and full of ingredients to help boost your milk supply.
Many breastfeeding mothers have the thought, “Am I producing enough milk for my baby?” A quick Google search will show dozens of tips, techniques, products, and practices to help you boost your breast milk supply. Possibly the best tip out there, however, is to ensure you’re eating and drinking enough to support an adequate supply.
One way you can snack smarter and healthfully boost your caloric intake throughout the day is by preparing lactation cookies. These little treats contain ingredients that help boost your milk supply and support your new post-partum nutritional needs. Read on to see the best lactation cookie recipes for nursing mothers, according to a registered dietitian.
What are Lactation Cookies?
Lactation cookies are cookies made with ingredients that help stimulate breast milk production. They also boost the nutrient intake of lactating mothers, which is crucial for milk supply. Lactation cookies contain galactagogues, which is the formal term for ingredients, including herbs and food, that are thought to help boost your milk supply.
But do lactation cookies actually work? For many ingredients, however, research is inconclusive on whether or not they actually increase breast milk supply. It’s important to keep in mind that galactagogues do not work on their own to increase milk supply, as breast milk production is a matter of demand and supply, proper technique, and frequency of nursing sessions. Still, they may be helpful for mothers who have concerns about increasing their breastmilk supply and getting enough nutrients in their diet. (You can also incorporate some of the best foods for breastfeeding into your diet.)
One of the most basic nutrition principles to help increase your breast milk supply is to eat enough calories. Milk production requires an additional 300-400 calories per day, according to the CDC. Although it can be difficult with a baby, focus on regularly-scheduled balanced meals and snacks, according to your hunger cues. A balanced meal includes:
- Protein, like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu and/or beans
- Colorful produce, including vegetables and fruit
- Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds
- Fiber-filled carbohydrates, like whole grains, sweet potatoes, corn, and peas
What Foods Increase Milk Supply?
In addition to eating enough calories, the following five foods can help with lactation:
Although you may have heard that a dark stout can help boost your milk supply, it’s actually the barley that has the desired effect, not the alcohol. Barely is rich in beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can stimulate prolactin production. Prolactin is often called the breastfeeding hormone because it is required to produce milk.
According to experts, oats contain the most beta-glucan after barley, which is why they’re touted as a well-known galactagogue. They’re easily accessible, affordable, and versatile. Plus, they make a great base for many lactation cookie recipes.
Like many seeds, flaxseeds contain healthy fats that boost the nutrition of breastfeeding women. Additionally, flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens that may support a woman’s milk supply, according to research.
This white vegetable and its seeds have long been thought to encourage milk production thanks to its phytoestrogen properties. Fenugreek is a common ingredient in milk-boosting teas on the market, but always be sure to check with your doctor when using herbs for medicinal properties. Instead, shave raw fennel into a salad.
Nuts in general are a great snack when breastfeeding because they’re packed with healthy fats, some protein, and antioxidants. Nuts are calorically dense, so they’re also a great snack to calm your breastfeeding hunger.