Lifestyle

September 29, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Lactation Cookies: FAQs

How fast do lactation cookies work? When should I start eating lactation cookies? Get the all the answers to all your questions about lactation cookies, as well as my favorite lactation cookie recipe and 5 BONUS tips to improve your milk supply!

New moms, listen up!

If you are struggling with a low milk supply or just want to maintain a healthy breast milk supply, this blog post is for you!

Even if you don't know much about the "most common galactagogues" or "prolactin levels" or the biology behind your body's production of breast milk, I'm sure you've at least heard of lactation cookies.

After all, you did find my blog post about them!

They're a quick snack to help a nursing mother stay fueled to breastfeed her baby.

But, how do they work? Do you really need them? Is there scientific evidence behind them or do breastfeeding moms experience a placebo effect?

In this blog post, I will talk about:

  • What lactation cookies are and their common ingredients
  • Why lactation cookies actually work
  • When you should eat them
  • Who can eat lactation cookies and who they affect
  • Where you can find healthy lactation cookie recipes
  • How you can tell if lactation cookies are working for you
  • 5 BONUS secrets to increasing your milk supply

A woman breastfeeding her child


The what

What are lactation cookies?

Lactation cookies, also known as breastfeeding cookies, are nutrient-dense cookies made specifically for women that produce breastmilk that contain lactogenic (milk-producing) ingredients like brewer's yeast, flaxseed meal, and oats.

These added nutritional benefits make them a much better option for nursing moms than regular cookies.

What are the main ingredients in lactation cookies?

Most breastfeeding cookies contain a combination of natural ingredients like:

  • Brewer's yeast (or sometimes nutritional yeast)
  • Flax seed (as either ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil)
  • Fennel seed
  • Whole oats or oatmeal
  • Coconut oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Almonds or almond butter

Can I make lactation cookies without brewers yeast?

YES. I cannot say this loud enough! Contrary to popular belief, it is 100% possible to make lactation cookies (and boost milk supply) without brewer's yeast.

In fact, I actually prefer it that way!

Brewer's yeast is not available in most, if not all, grocery stores, and it doesn't taste that great either.

If you don't want the hassle of finding affordable brewer's yeast but you still want the best lactation cookie recipe, CLICK HERE!

My recipe for homemade lactation cookies is amazing and I bet you'll eat a whole batch in less than two days. They're so addictingly delicious!

What is the best way to store lactation cookies?

Let your cookies cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. You can also keep them in the fridge for up to one week or the freezer for up to three months.

A pile of lactation cookies with a bite out of one


The why

How do lactation cookies work?

These delicious cookies are made with healthy ingredients that have been shown to boost milk supply. Some ingredients are packed with vitamins and minerals, while others contain natural phytoestrogens (estrogenic properties) that increase milk supply.

In addition, many of the key ingredients in lactation cookies have healthy amounts of fatty acids and provide a great source of soluble fiber.

While there is limited scientific evidence to prove that lactation cookies can help with milk supply issues, there is enough anecdotal evidence to conclude that these yummy cookies do have a positive effect on lactating women.

Even if new mums only experience a little boost in milk supply due to the placebo effect, it's hard to deny the benefits of wholesome ingredients and the convenience of having a healthy snack on hand.

The most important thing to remember is that each woman is different and you should always discuss your concerns with your doctor or certified lactation counselor.

How fast do lactation cookies work?

Because it takes six to eight hours for your body to pass food from your stomach to your small intestine, there is a possibility lactation cookies can increase milk supply as early as six hours after consumption.

However, it is important to remember that one cookie one time will not show as much of a significant increase in your breast milk production as a consistent, wholesome diet will.

Lactation cookies, in combination with a healthy diet, are a great way to help a nursing mom produce enough milk for her baby.

A woman holding her baby


The when

When should I start eating lactation cookies?

Since baby only needs colostrum for the first few days of life, pregnant women don't need to eat lactation cookies. Lactation cookies are most effective for new mamas who have had their milk come in.

However, a woman's body will experience uterine contractions and low iron levels immediately after birth for those first few days, so eating foods rich in iron, magnesium, and B vitamins (like the flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, oats, and dark chocolate often found in lactation cookies) can be a natural way to alleviate those early postpartum symptoms.

As always, new mothers should consult with their doctor or lactation consultant before implementing any dietary changes.

How often should I eat lactation cookies?

Spoiler alert: you don't have to eat lactation cookies every day to have a good milk supply!

That being said, you can totally eat them everyday if you love them.

(For the first few months postpartum, I was making a new batch every couple of days!)

Is there a "best time" to eat them?

In my professional opinion, no.

Your milk supply is an ongoing process that involves your body's metabolism, digestive system, immune system, and a whole bunch of hormones, so there's a lot more impacting your milk than just cookies.

In addition, there are so many other foods that can improve your breastmilk production, so I wouldn't worry about setting a schedule around how often you eat lactation cookies.

What happens if you eat too many lactation cookies?

While lactation cookies are a tasty way to build your supply, there can actually be negative side affects from eating too many. This is due to eating too much brewer's yeast.

The most common side affects from an excess amount of brewer's yeast include:

  1. Gas
  2. Constipation
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Bloating
  5. Headaches

The best way to avoid these unwanted side effects is to choose lactation cookies that don't have brewer's yeast in the ingredient list.

That's why I love this lactation cookie recipe so much! It's made with so many lactogenic foods that it doesn't need brewer's yeast, which means you don't have to worry about any negative effects of brewer's yeast.

Can lactation cookies cause weight gain?

Weight gain is a result of a surplus of daily calories, which can happen from eating too much of anything.

Therefore, if eating multiple lactation cookies causes your body to go into a consistent calorie surplus, you might experience weight gain.

A tray of lactation cookies


The who

Can lactation cookies give baby gas?

If your baby has a dairy intolerance or dairy allergy, lactation cookies made with dairy products can cause gas or an upset stomach in baby. Otherwise, lactation cookies are safe for baby.

What happens if a man eats lactation cookies?

Nothing special! A man's body will treat a lactation cookie like any other cookie. These cookies are safe for the whole family to eat, but the milk-boosting ingredients will only affect a breastfeeding mom.

If I eat a lactation cookie will I produce milk?

If you are not a new mama with a breastfeeding child, you cannot eat a lactation cookie and spontaneously produce milk, even if you've produced milk previously. Your body requires the hormones associated with pregnancy and childbirth to produce milk naturally. While lactation cookies can improve this process, they cannot start the process.

A woman breastfeeding her child


The where

Where do I buy lactation cookies?

The most popular lactation cookie is Boobie Super Foods' Boobie Milk Bar, which you can purchase here online or at select Walmart or Target stores.

Another popular brand is Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites. You can find them here on Amazon or at select Walmart stores.

Can I make my own lactation cookies?

Absolutely! This recipe makes the best lactation cookies because it doesn't require brewers yeast, it's made in one bowl, and it's gluten free, refined sugar free, and vegan!

They're basically oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that give you a milk supply boost at the same time. Win win!

A tray of lactation cookies


The how

How do I know lactation cookies are working for me?

Results will vary from woman to woman, and it depends on whether you're exclusively breastfeeding or pumping.

For example, when I shared my lactation cookies with three of my friends who were nursing, two of them noticed an increase in milk within 24 hours, and the other noticed an increase in her supply over the next few days as she continued to eat her cookies.

However, despite these differences, there are a few ways to know if your breastmilk supply is increasing after eating lactation snacks:

  1. If you're exclusively breastfeeding, your letdown might be stronger, baby might nurse longer, or baby might appear more satisfied. If they're younger than 6 months, they might appear more tired as well.
  2. If you're exclusively pumping, you might notice more milk in your bottle after each session. If you are power pumping, you might see results a bit faster, but be sure to fuel your body properly!
  3. If you're breastfeeding and supplementing with pumped milk, you might experience both results from the above examples.


Bottles of breastmilk on a table

Bonus secrets

  1. Make them a no bake treat: use this recipe to turn your lactation cookies into lactation bites or edible cookie dough!
  2. Add a protein shake: the next time you reach for a lactation cookie, try making a protein shake to go with it! Not only will it help balance your blood sugar levels, but it will keep you fuller longer, curb your sugar cravings, boost your energy levels, and provide extra calories so your cookies last longer. Check out this blog post for my review of the top 15 protein powders for breastfeeding moms and my best recommendation!
  3. Prioritize water: your milk is just fatty water, so staying hydrated is crucial to having a good milk supply. If you have a hard time getting enough water, try adding a sugar free drink mix to your water or eating a variety of foods that have high water content like watermelon, cucumbers, or strawberries.
  4. Don't skip breakfast: your supply is highest in the morning, so after that first feeding, you're going to need to replenish your calories and fuel your body to continue making milk for the rest of the day. Be intentional about what you eat for breakfast because it will set the tone for the rest of your day.
  5. Make it a lifestyle: while the cookies are amazing, there are so many other creative and delicious ingredients to boost your milk supply. Grab a copy of "The Milk Mama Cookbook" for 50+ healthy lactation recipes to use during your breastfeeding journey!


Conclusion

It is hard work to produce milk for a new baby.

Whether you are a first time mom or just had your fifth baby, lactation cookies are a convenient way to fix a low supply of breastmilk or maintain the supply you already have.

They're also made with super food ingredients packed with whole grains, healthy fats, and vitamin B.

If you love lactation cookies, you'll love all my other lactation treats in my lactation cookbook "The Milk Mama!" Grab you copy here.

Everything You Need to Know About Lactation Cookies: FAQs

How fast do lactation cookies work? When should I start eating lactation cookies? Get the all the answers to all your questions about lactation cookies, as well as my favorite lactation cookie recipe and 5 BONUS tips to improve your milk supply!

Author:

Brooke Harmer

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