Do Lactation Cookies ACTUALLY increase breastmilk supply?
I remember the first time I made lactation cookies and gave one to my husband to try. He loved them and asked if it was a new recipe. When I told them they were lactation cookies he screamed, “What?? Am I going to start lactating now???”
Haha poor guy! Scared him half to death. But after a quick explanation of what a “lactation cookie” actually was, I’m pretty sure he snuck a few more throughout the day 🙂
What is a “lactation cookie”?
There’s no one way to make a “lactation cookie”, and for the most part, it’s just a cookie! Eating a lactation cookie won’t make you start lactating, and here’s why.
To make a lactation cookie, brownie, energy bite, smoothie, or lactation “anything” really, all you’re really doing is starting with the base of those things and adding ingredients called “galactagogues”. A galactagogue is a substance that can increase milk supply. These can be herbs, foods, or medications.
There are many recipes out there and I’ll be posting some on the blog soon! If you don’t have the common ingredients on hand, try a mix like this which you can order from Amazon.
I actually did a video review of this lactation mix and a little chat about galactagogues. You can watch it here if you want!
Do lactation cookies really increase milk supply?
The best answer is, maybe! Just eating galactagogues isn’t going to make you start lactating or increase your supply so much that you’re bursting at the seams…
However, there have been many studies that prove (and in all honesty, a few that disprove) the effectiveness of galactagogues on breastmilk supply. Some mothers report being able to express a few extra ounces or feeling a bit more full after eating certain things. Maybe it’s the placebo effect? But either way, if the effect you’re going for is more milk and you achieve it in a safe and productive way, go for it!
Sometimes, the opposite effect happens for some mothers so be cautious when adding anything new to your diet. Not all galactagogues are risk-free, so know what you’re trying before you start and check with your local lactation consultant if you’re not quite sure.
The average mother does NOT need galactagogues to maintain milk supply! (This is in BOLD for a reason)
So don’t feel like this is something you have to do as part of your breastfeeding experience in order to be successful. Often, it’s just a little extra something to try when you’re looking for a pick-me-up.
When is the best time to eat lactation cookies?
Will eating lactation cookies during pregnancy help with your breastfeeding experience later on? I can confidently say, NOPE! Again, these don’t make you lactate, they are just regular sugar-filled cookies with galactagogues in them.
During my baby’s growth spurt? Go for it! This is actually a great time to consume a few more milk boosting foods because you don’t actually have a low milk supply, your baby is just extra hungry! So a few extra calories for you along with some galactagogues may be just the ticket to even things out.
During my period? You bet! It sounds like the perfect period food to me! In all seriousness though, it can be normal for your supply to dip a little bit while you’re on your cycle due to the extra hormones in your body. A few galactagogues can help bring it back up a bit, just be careful not to go too crazy on those cookies!
Just for fun? Why not. There’s really very little harm in trying lactation cookies, especially in moderation. Would I recommend making these a regular part of your daily diet? No. But definitely a fun little way to maybe boost supply a bit AND they also make a great gift to take to a breastfeeding friend!
A few things to remember:
- Foods like this are most effective when used in conjunction with frequent feeding or milk expression. Just eating lactation cookies or other supplements will NOT make you lactate or increase your milk supply alone.
- There are side effects to foods like lactation cookies too. Eating 12 cookies a day is ALOT of sugar, fat, and carbs. You may also experience some gas and bloating if starting new supplements or adding so many new foods into your diet in large quantities.
- Some galactagogues work better than others for each individual. Just because your friend swears that a Body Amour drink in a specific flavor is a must-have to make enough milk for you baby, doesn’t necessarily mean it works for everyone.
- Some supplements are safer than others. Eating oatmeal every morning for breakfast is likely a very safe way to introduce more galactagogues into your natural diet. Starting a supplement like Fenugreek may be a bit riskier. This supplement in particular has very mixed research and has had the opposite effect on milk supply in many mothers, causing them to lose their milk supply a bit. Do some research and be careful when adding anything to your diet.
So… Lactation Cookies or No Lactation Cookies?
If you’re truly having trouble with low milk supply or your baby isn’t gaining weight appropriately, this is not your solution. You need to see a lactation consultant and get to the root of your unique issues and go from there.
But in general, I’d say go for it! It won’t solve all your problems and don’t go crazy on them, but it’s important to stay well-nourished and happy during breastfeeding so make up a batch every now and then!
~ All things for you and your new little life ~