5 Best Lactation Cookie Recipes for Boosting Milk Production

Milk and cookies have always been a magical combination. But for nursing parents, these easy homemade lactation cookies and their effect on milk production are even more magical.

Chocolate chip cookie with one bite bitten into it with crumbs
Photo: Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Getty Images (1)

For breastfeeding and chestfeeding parents hoping to boost their milk supply, the answer may be as simple as grabbing a cookie. Lactation cookies are packed with ingredients that are believed to increase breast milk production—not to mention the fact that munching on a cookie may help reduce stress, a potential killer of breast milk supply. Considering that, it's no surprise that so many breastfeeding and chestfeeding parents find themselves on the hunt for the best lactation cookie recipes.

So, what makes lactation cookies special? They look and taste a lot like normal cookies. But there is a significant difference between lactation cookies and regular ol' cookies—and that difference is galactagogues. Read on to discover our favorite lactation cookie recipes and to learn more about lactation cookies, including the ingredients that make them special.

The Galactagogues in Lactation Cookies

According to lactation consultant Andrea Tran of Breastfeeding Confidential, galactagogues are substances that are believed to increase milk production. They may come in the form of prescription medications or herbs, such as alfalfa, ginger, fennel, and blessed thistle.

And then there are some galactagogues that conveniently lend themselves to delicious cookie recipes: namely oats, flaxseed, and brewer's yeast. Most lactation cookie recipes are built around these ingredients, while some also include other galactagogues like fenugreek and barley.

Top Lactation Cookie Ingredients

Here's what these galactagogue cookie ingredients may bring to the breastfeeding table:

  • Oats, specifically old-fashioned rolled oats, are an excellent source of iron. And low iron may be bad news for breast milk supply.
  • Brewer's yeast, not to be confused with baker's yeast, is packed with iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B—all of which can help increase milk supply.
  • Flaxseed contains phytoestrogens as well as omega-3 fatty acids that are great for babies and nursing parents.
  • Barley is a good source of beta-glucan, which can increase prolactin, the main hormone your body needs to produce breast milk.

While there is inconclusive and limited research showing the efficacy of galactagogues, there is significant a history stretching back centuries of lactating parents using these ingredients to boost their breast milk supply.

The Best Lactation Cookie Recipes

With those pointers in mind, here are five of our favorite lactation cookie recipes to try.

Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookie Recipe by How Sweet Eats

Lactation cookies from How Sweet Eats

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Food blogger Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats shared this chocolatey lactation cookie recipe after giving birth to her son Max in 2015. Since then, it's become one of the most popular lactation cookie recipes on the internet. The freezer-friendly dough is packed with chocolate chips, old-fashioned rolled oats, flaxseed, and coconut oil.

Gluten-Free Lactation Cookie Recipe by Eating Bird Food

Eating Bird Food lactation cookies

Courtesy of Eating Bird Food

After trying and failing to find a healthy lactation cookie recipe, Eating Bird Food blogger Brittany Mullins decided to develop one of her own. Her lactation cookie recipe is not only gluten-free but also vegan, perfect for nursing parents and breastfed babies who have gluten or dairy intolerances. Her recipe contains less sugar than most, but the enthusiastic commenters don't seem to mind.

No-Bake Lactation Cookie Recipe by Lexi's Clean Living

Lexi's Clean Living lactation cookies

Courtesy of Lexi's Clean Living

For new parents who need an extra boost of energy—and don't want to wait on the oven to heat up—these no-bake lactation cookies from Lexi's Clean Living are the perfect solution. Nut butter and honey give these a rich flavor, while cocoa powder and chocolate chips tick the box for chocolate lovers.

Lower-Calorie Lactation Cookie Recipe by Detoxinista

Detoxinista lactation cookies

Courtesy of Detoxinista

Breastfeeding parents burn plenty of calories, but some may still prefer a less calorie-dense take on the lactation cookie. Detoxinista blogger Megan Gilmore, a certified nutritionist consultant, swaps out refined sugar for coconut sugar in this vegan, gluten-free recipe. This substitution results in a healthier, lower-calorie lactation cookie that may help parents avoid a sugar crash.

Oatmeal Lactation Cookie Recipe by Serious Eats

Serious Eats lactation cookies

Courtesy of Serious Eats

Pretty much all lactation cookie recipes include oats because they're known galactagogues. This recipe from Serious Eats is no different, but it ups the oat factor by using oat flour. The recipe also includes a galactagogue found in a few other lactation cookie recipes: barley malt syrup. It all adds up to a crunchy confection that earns rave reviews.

Do Lactation Cookies Really Work?

Although official evidence is still lacking on whether or not lactation cookies actually increase breast milk supply, most experts agree that there's no harm in trying. "I certainly don't think they are going to hurt," says Tran. However, what's definitely helpful is breastfeeding more often and adjusting your breastfeeding technique, as needed. "I would encourage a mother who is worried about her supply to work with a lactation consultant so she can also try some other more evidence-based methods," says Tran.

Jessica Madden, M.D., a pediatrician, neonatalogist, and lactation consultant in Cleveland agrees: Don't stop at lactation cookies. "Mothers with low milk supplies who eat these cookies will have the highest chance of success in increasing their supplies if they also take other actions to increase their milk production," she says. "These include frequent breastfeeding and/or pumping (breast emptying), staying hydrated, and not skipping middle of the night feeds."

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