Lactation Cookies: Myth or Magic?
Today we be busting some myths around lactation cookies. What are they, and do they really contain all of the milk boosting health benefits they claim to?
What are lactation cookies?
Lactation cookies are a recipe of mainly oats, fenugreek, flaxseed meal and brewers yeast. Each of these ingredients have been touted for ‘milk boosting properties’ and claims are that the combination together can help moms improve milk flow. Let’s have a closer look at each ingredient.
Oats: these contain a lot of saponins, which is an immune-stimulating compound linked to increased levels of prolactin, a milk production hormone.
Fenugreek: a plant whose seeds are rich in phytoestrogen, which helps to balance the bodies estrogen levels, in turn regulating that prolactin for milk production.
Flaxseed meal: rich in omega-3 & 6 fatty acids which are great for developing babies immune systems.
Brewers yeast: which is a claimed galactagogue - a food or medicine substance that increases milk supply in nursing mothers. These can come in any form, being synthetic, plant-derived, or endogenous. Other foods that are claimed to be galactaogues are whole grains, dark leafy greens, fennel, garlic, chickpeas, almonds, ginger and papaya.
So far so good right? But do these magical cookies actually work and what are the scientists saying?
There is currently no scientific evidence that has been validated that supports any of the ingredients in lactation cookies, or “lactation recipes” to improve milk supply while breastfeeding.
Food and nutrition has been linked to milk supply, however medical professionals seem to suggest that this only plays a small part and other factors such as stress, sleep, or latching problems may play a bigger role.
The generally accepted hypothesis for milk production in the medical community is that supply meets demand - if your baby is feeding more, you will produce more milk, and visa vie. Feeding more often is the most promoted way to producing more milk, and lactation cookies are not supported by most medical professionals.
Despite this advice many mamas still buy lactation treats, and they have taken social media by storm. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat cookies that are supposed to be good for you?
Many moms report that lactation cookies did indeed boost their milk supply, however apart from the reviews from moms there isn’t much other evidence that these products work, despite what their advertising claims may be.
Lots of moms have also reported to use them as an on-the-go snack that is quick and a bit more nutritious than a regular biscuit or treat.
So what’s the verdict?
The jury is still out on lactation cookies for us mamas. According to experts there doesn’t seem to be much scientific proof out there that any of the ingredients in lactation cookies have any of the so called milk boosting benefits they claim to.
However the proof quite literally is in the pudding with the amount of reports from mothers that have claimed they have seen massive improvements in their flow after eating cookies.
Placebo effect or not - if it’s tasty and works for you then why not. But be mindful that at the end of the day it’s still a cookie and mostly contain the regular cookie ingredients such as butter, sugar and oil.
If lactation cookies seem to work for you and you aren’t concerned over any of the ingredients then great - just don’t believe everything the glossy ads say and do your own research, and always seek help from your medical professional if you are worried about your milk supply or flow.