Becoming a new mom is a wonderful, yet sometimes challenging transition in a woman’s life; one that transforms you as a person. And if that new or seasoned mom is adding breastfeeding to that transition, then it can be a downright difficult time for some. Support is the key to successful breastfeeding and a great way that you can help support a breastfeeding friend or loved one can be as easy as baking them some cookies. Seriously.
Enter The Lactation Cookie
So you may be wondering, “What in the world is a lactation cookie? Is it made of breast milk? Will it make anyone lactate?”
Lactation cookies contain ingredients that help promote milk production, counter balance mood swings associated with changing hormone levels, and provide a good source of nutrition (in addition to a healthy diet) specific to the needs of a postpartum mother.
Aside from the above benefits, receiving a gift that is just for you when the attention has recently shifted to your new baby is aways a special treat.
Anatomy of The Ultimate Lactation Cookie
Here is my recipe for THE ULTIMATE LACTATION COOKIE (Yes, the caps were necessary. They are THE ULTIMATE.)
I need to give a disclaimer up front – the ingredients are not likely to be found in everyone’s pantry as is the case with most cookie recipes. So for those of you with budget and/or time constraints, I have listed substitutions. Just remember though, if you substitute they will be less than ULTIMATE. I am sure the recipient will still gobble them up however :)
- 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour* (or whole wheat flour)
- 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats (or certified Gluten Free oats*)
- 1 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 cup Sunbutter* (or almond or peanut butter)
- 1/2 cup organic butter (or clarified organic butter or Soy Free Earth Balance*)
- 1 cup milled flax-seed
- 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast (or brewer’s yeast)
- 1/4 cup sugar (or honey)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or honey)
- 1/3/ cup water
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 large free range, organic eggs (or regular eggs or egg substitute*)
- 1 cup of chocolate chunks crushed up from an organic dark chocolate bar or organic semi sweet chocolate chips (Chocolate Dream* is a great option for those needing to avoid dairy and wheat)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut of recipient’s choosing or *omit if there is a tree nut allergy)
* indicates ingredients which will make the recipe free of gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs and tree nuts.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
2. In a smaller bowl, mix dry ingredients thoroughly with a whisk.
3. In a larger bowl or stand mixer, mix all wet ingredients, except for eggs. Mix in eggs last.
4. Gradually add dry mixture to wet.
5. Finally, add nuts and chocolate chunks.
6. Scoop out balls of dough and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, Silpat or baking stone. (It is best to form teaspoon sized balls of dough since these cookies are more dense.)
7. Place on sheet or stone in a staggered pattern about one half-inch apart and press dough down lightly with a fork. (The cookies do not spread very much while baking.)
8. Place sheet or stone on a rack positioned in the center of the oven and bake for 11-12 minutes or until bottoms turn golden brown.
9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
While the cookies are cooling off let’s chat about what makes these cookies so great. After all, I need to substantiate my claims that these cookies are THE ULTIMATE. The nutritional value of this recipe is pretty good- for a cookie. In this recipe, we have some galactagogues, iron, mood boosters and fiber. There’s a bunch of other great things too but we’ll just focus on those for now.
Support Your Local Milk Maid
According to Wikipedia, galactagogues are substances that promote lactation in humans or animals. After a little research I learned that different cultures use different foods and herbs as galactagogues. In our recipe the following ingredients are considered to be galactagogues by westerners: oats and flax.
Make Sure The New Mom Is Iron Clad
These cookies are also full of iron thanks to the whole grain buckwheat (a relative of rhubarb, not wheat, which is actually gluten free). Why would iron be important to a postpartum woman? After delivery the new mom’s body is still working hard. Her body is clearing out excess mucus, placental tissue, and blood. So the risk of postpartum anemia is higher for women who developed anemia in the third trimester, lost a large amount of blood during childbirth, or had twins or other multiple births. The nutrtitonal yeast (which is inactive and will not reproduce inside the intestines) also provides a good source of iron and essential vitamins.
“Happy” In A Cookie
The next best feature of these cookies are their mood boosting properties. Early studies are showing that free range organic eggs are higher in omegas than their chicken factory counterparts. And then there’s also the flax and walnuts which are a great source of omegas. Finally, dark chocolate rich in flavanoids have been shown to enhance mood amongst a whole bunch of other great things they can do for your health. And with all the shifting hormone levels, sleepless nights and new responsibilities a new mom has to deal with, mood boosting ingredients are a must!
And no birth discussion would complete without more intimate and awkward details about the effects of a baby miraculously squeezing out of a woman. Fiber is very important for the initiation of regular bowel movements, which are…. um… “suspended” for a few days after giving birth. Enter flax and whole grain buckwheat (hulls and all). Of course lots of water is a great counterpart to the fiber and so important for breastfeeding moms who need lots of liquids to stay hydrated.
What Other Things Can You Do To Support The New Mom?
1. Freeze the leftover dough and put it in her freezer for later.
2. Print out this article and package it with the cookies.
3. If she doesn’t have this book already, buy it for her.
4. Make your visit short and end it by doing something helpful before you leave. Folding laundry, emptying the trash, playing with an older sibling, walking the dog, or doing the dishes are some ways you can show some love to the new mom (and dad too!).
5. Tell her she is already a great mom! Confirm her commitment to offer the most nutritionally complete nourishment to her little one.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t cite this post. Their recipe served as the inspiration for mine and provided me with a lot of great ideas to research. This post contains affiliate links. Please see our FAQ’s page for full disclosure.