Last Updated on August 8, 2023 by Jada Glover
New moms often struggle with low milk supply (or they think it’s low). If that’s you, and you are looking for natural ways to boost breast milk production, you’ve probably heard all about lactation cookies.
Snacking on lactation cookies is actually a great way to enhance your breast milk supply, but how fast do lactation cookies really work?
We’ll be answering that for you, and more, in this post!
To keep your energy levels up, you may be snacking a lot more now that you’re breastfeeding, but you should be swapping your regular cookies for lactation cookies instead.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about the best lactation cookies including how they work towards boosting your milk production and how fast they can work.
Do Lactation Cookies Help Boost Milk Supply?
Yes, they totally do! And not just that, in addition to boosting breastmilk production, these nutrient-dense cookies are also great to enjoy as a healthy snack whenever you’re hit by a hunger pang, which is going to be a LOT during your breastfeeding journey.
These cookies are super helpful for breastfeeding mothers in my opinion. They support healthy lactation and give your body all those extra calories that it needs.
If you’re a breastfeeding mom looking for a quick snack to treat yourself to while you’re doing all the hard work, these cookies are great! They pack in some lactation-critical nutrients and ingredients, also known as galactagogues, which boost milk production.
How Do Lactation Cookies Really Work?
The effectiveness of lactation cookies depends on the main ingredients that go into making them. Most commercially available cookies pack in galactagogues or lactogenic foods that promote a healthy milk supply.
While there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, breastfeeding women from all around the world swear by the use of these ingredients as an easy way to enhance the production of breast milk.
As a Certified Lactation Counselor and breastfeeding mama myself, I totally recommend lactation cookies and lactation bites to all mothers struggling to keep their breast milk supply up.
Because what’s not to love about a sweet treat that’s healthy too (in moderation of course)?!
Let’s dig deeper into the key ingredients that go into making these cookies to understand how exactly they really work.
Flax seeds are one of the most powerful ingredients in most lactation cookie recipes. Not only are they an excellent source of fiber, but they are also known for their estrogenic properties.
They contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the function of estrogen in the body, in turn, boosting breast milk production.
In addition, they give your body a good dose of healthy fats, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, both of which can help add more nutrition to your breast milk.
Studies also show that eating sufficient Omega 3s postpartum also helps reduce your chances of experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.
When buying lactation cookies, look for ones that have flaxseed or flaxseed meal on their ingredient list.
Brewer’s yeast is another ingredient you’ll find in possibly every lactation cookie recipe out there- that’s just how effective it is. Apart from being a good source of B vitamins, wheat germ is also rich in chromium, selenium, and protein.
In addition, it is another iron-rich food, that can help boost a new mama’s iron levels, thereby tackling any decrease in milk production linked to low iron levels.
Oats are again, an excellent galactagogue that you’ll find as a key ingredient in most lactation cookies and bites. They are also a wonderful source of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that has been linked to improving the levels of the prolactin hormone, which in turn, improves breast milk supply.
But that’s not all, oats are also a great source of iron, and adding more of them to your diet in any form can help you tackle low iron levels, which are strongly linked to low breast milk supply.
In fact, I also recommend adding some oat milk to your diet if you’re a nursing mother. I’ve explained everything in a detailed post about how oat milk can be beneficial for nursing moms.
You’ll find fenugreek dominating the list of ingredients in most commercially available lactation cookies, and that’s for a good reason. A study published in 2020, reported elevated levels of prolactin and oxytocin- two hormones that deal with the production of breast milk.
In fact, you’ll also find a concentrated form of fenugreek as the star ingredient in a lot of herbal supplements meant to aid new moms who are struggling to produce enough breast milk.
You can sip on some fenugreek tea to bump up your milk production or add fenugreek seeds or extracts to your cookies.
A word of caution- some moms have found that continued use of fenugreek extracts actually had a drying effect, resulting in a reduction of milk supply, so keep an eye on your supply.
Wheat germ is another important ingredient that you’ll find in a lot of lactation cookies out there. It is chock full of zinc, which is an important mineral linked to better milk production and improved health of the immune system.
Some anecdotal evidence also suggests that wheat germ could be extremely beneficial for breastfeeding moms. This is especially true in the early days of motherhood when they’re more likely to experience baby blues and postpartum depression.
In addition to these ingredients, there are certain other foods that, when consumed, are believed to lead to a significant increase in breast milk production.
Black sesame seeds, coconut, chia seeds, fennel, and turmeric are believed to aid milk production.
If you’re making a batch of homemade lactation cookies, you might also want to read through my detailed post on the most powerful lactogenic foods and find your way to include some of these special ingredients too.
How Fast Do Lactation Cookies Work?
Well, there’s no one size fits all answer to this one. Some women have experienced better milk production within just a few hours of consuming the cookies, while for others, it has taken up to 2 days.
When Should I Eat Lactation Cookies?
As long as you’re sticking to a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and keeping yourself hydrated, you don’t actually need to buy or make lactation cookies.
Breastfeeding, in its essence, is basically demand and supply.
If you’re still struggling with a good milk supply, you may want to start drinking more water and keeping your liquid intake up. I would also recommend sipping on coconut water– it really helps give you the electrolytes and minerals that your body needs from a natural source.
And when it comes to lactation cookies specifically, there’s no set time that you need to stick to if you’re planning to have those delicious cookies. Just grab one when you’re hungry or enjoy it as a mid-day or evening snack.
You can also carry it as an on-the-go snack to enjoy when you’re on a grocery run or just stepping out for a bit.
How Many Lactation Cookies Should I Eat Everyday?
While these cookies are made up of good, healthy ingredients, anything in excess can be bad, same applies to these cookies.
When eaten in excess, these cookies can cause an upset stomach, bloating, gas, etc. As a Lactation Consultant, I would recommend sticking to 1-2 large lactation cookies a day, or 1-2 cookie packs a day.
In fact, you can also make your own lactation cookies with just a few simple ingredients and a few minutes of kitchen time. I recently tried a new no-bake apple cinnamon lactation cookie bites recipe and I was amazed at how easy they were to put together, and yet, so so effective! Team it up with my lactation smoothie or lactation overnight oats for that extra milk boost!
You can easily whip up a nice batch of homemade lactation cookies over the weekend, making sure you include some common galactagogues and other healthy ingredients, and then store those yummy cookies in an airtight container to have a quick snack handy.
Remember to use healthy fats and natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, or even just some mashed bananas while making your batch of lactation cookies.
More Tips & Tricks to Boost Lactation
In addition to enjoying an occasional lactation cookie, there are a few other steps you could take to improve milk production on your breastfeeding journey.
- Keep your fluid intake up. Stick to water or natural fruit juices- coconut water is a good place to start.
- Have a well-balanced diet rich in protein. Make sure you’re meeting your daily recommended calorie intake.
- Pumping between feedings can also help boost your body’s milk production. Plus, you can always benefit from having a little stash of breast milk handy. You might also want to read through my detailed post about cluster pumping and how it can help increase your milk supply.
- Remember to breastfeed from both sides. Massaging your breasts between feeding sessions can also help get more milk out!
- Make sure you get enough sleep, are well-rested, and are taking measures to tackle stress.
Lactation cookies do work and they can work fast to boost milk supply when they include key galactagogues and you are breastfeeding frequently to support milk production.
Keep in mind that nothing can take the place of frequent nursing or pumping. So it’s important that you’re feeding on demand and following your baby’s cues. Enjoy that lactation cookie at your next nursing session and don’t feel guilty about it!