Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Jada Glover
A nursing mom will do everything to ensure her breast milk supply is healthy and plentiful. Sometimes, new moms need a little help to boost milk production. One delicious option to make milk more plentiful is to always have a pro-lactogenic snack, like this recipe for the best lactation bars, ready to grab nearby.
Lactation bars are a fast and easy way to provide wholesome milk-boosting ingredients you need while nursing.
Keeping a ready-made, easy-to-grab snack close by gives you the feeling of fullness and energy while also helping provide comfort. Stock your fridge with these lactation bars to also help boost your milk supply.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you buy something (at no additional cost to you). Read my full disclosure here. I only recommend products I use and love and recommend to my clients.
How Lactogenic Foods Can Help Support Milk Supply
Breastfeeding a baby burns about 500 calories a day. All of this calorie-burning activity leaves nursing moms feeling hungry and exhausted.
The need to produce plenty of milk is where galactagogues or pro-lactogenic foods prove helpful. Even though you are exhausted and recovering from childbirth, you are motivated to provide your newborn with the best nutrients.
As a Lactation Consultant, I highly recommend consuming foods rich in galactagogues while nursing. Galactagogues are lactation or milk-boosting components found in some well-known foods. The word stems from the Greek “galact” meaning milk. Breastfeeding mothers have known about them and included them in their postpartum diets for centuries.
Keep your body fueled with nutrition that will boost your milk supply. Foods that offer lactogenic properties are nutrient-dense and rich in protein, calcium, and iron, all beneficial in maintaining a healthy milk supply.
Lactogenic foods, or galactagogues, contain phytoestrogens and additional properties that stimulate lactation.
In addition to having a healthy snack on hand to increase key lactation nutrients, drink plenty of water and nurse often to help boost your milk supply.
Some common galactagogues in lactation bar recipes include:
- brewer’s yeast
- chia seeds
Oats are a lactogenic superfood because of the compound called saponins, which helps the body create more prolactin. Oats also provide a great source of iron which helps to boost the milk supply. Oats offer a whole grain rich in minerals, fiber, and healthy carbs.
Many consider oats a comfort food, so they provide a bonus relaxation property that releases oxytocin, a hormone involved in milk production. They are rich in iron to prevent anemia and fiber to make you feel full.
Substitute quick-cooking oats with steel-cut oats if you prefer but know that the steel-cut oats will give the lactation bars a different texture and change the nutritional profile.
Brewer’s yeast is different than typical baker’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of the fermentation process for beer and bread and is packed with nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium and a great source of protein with 8 grams of protein in one-fourth cup. B vitamins in Brewer’s yeast also help your brain create neurotransmitters and help to stabilize your mood and sleep. It also contains chromium, selenium, and protein.
If you find the flavor too potent, try deodorizing brewer’s yeast or use slightly less than the recipe calls for by replacing it with more ground flax.
Flax Seed is rich in omega-3 fatty and omega-6 acids that help lower triglyceride levels, help with depression and hormonal health. These fatty acids are also necessary for a baby’s neurological growth. Be sure to grind the flax seed for better digestion and proper absorption.
Almonds provide healthy fats and protein needed to stay healthy and produce milk. These nuts come packed with vitamins and nutrients that a breastfeeding mom needs to help fight exhaustion and increase energy levels.
Coconut is full of lauric acid. Lauric acid is an ingredient in breast milk as well. Lauric acid is antimicrobial to help protect your baby from illness. Eating healthy fat from coconuts encourages your body to produce milk.
Chia Seeds provide an iron-rich food that helps to promote breast milk production. They are also rich in calcium, protein, and healthy fats.
What About Pre-Packaged Bars?
While it may seem easier to pick up a pre-packaged granola bar, many come packed with excess sugars or the wrong type of oil and unnecessary added ingredients. The only way to absolutely know for sure that the lactation bar contains only the healthy, lactation-producing ingredients you want is to make them yourself.
Make Your Own Lactation Bars
Try a healthy lactation bar recipe that includes these nutritious ingredients. Avoid refined sugar. Use coconut sugar or maple syrup instead. Some prefer to swap out even honey for maple syrup to create a vegan option in lactation granola bars.
Here are a couple of great recipes, one baked and one non-baked option:
Baked Lactation Bar Recipe
Plan on spending about ten minutes prep time and about 25 minutes cooking time.
- 2 cups oats
- ¼ cup brewer’s yeast
- 1 cup flaxseed meal or ground flaxseed
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ tsp finely ground sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2/3 cup honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 egg
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips, or substitute for dried cranberries, blueberries, or raisins
- crushed almonds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper or a sheet of wax paper.
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be a bit crumbly but should feel wet to the touch.
- Add chocolate chips or substitute with dried fruit or crushed almonds.
- Pour into prepared pan and press down until smooth.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden but still soft enough to bite.
No-Bake Lactation Bar Recipe Option
- 1 ½ cups oats
- ¾ cup almond butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- Melt maple syrup and almond butter together in a saucepan.
- Combine all the remaining ingredients except the chocolate in a separate large bowl.
- Pour the maple syrup mixture over top of the other ingredients and stir.
- Add the dark chocolate chips.
- Pour mixture into a lined 8×8 dish.
- Press down to form an even layer.
- Refrigerate for a few hours until the bars are solid.
- Use a knife to cut the bars.
- Store at room temperature for up to 4 days in an air-tight container, in the fridge, or freeze.
Note: To prevent melting, freeze the chocolate chips for about 10 to 15 minutes first. While dark chocolate provides health benefits, I have included them in the lactation bar ingredients to add flavor.
Peanut butter offers an alternative to almond butter but forfeits the pro-lactogenic properties of almonds. Peanuts are also a potential allergen, so if you choose peanut butter, keep in mind you are exposing your baby to a potential allergen so keep an eye out for any allergic reactions.
Pro-Lactogenic Bar Storage
Make these best lactation bars ahead of time. Stock the healthy snack nearby before you sit to nurse your baby making it easy to grab.
Safely store the nutritious bars in the fridge for about two weeks. Or, freeze them for up to three months in preparation for your new little one’s birth and early days together.
Other breastfeeding nutrition recipes you may enjoy: