Magic Milk Maker Cookies (and other lactation boosting tips)
One of the questions I have been getting a lot lately is how I keep up a good milk supply for Ellis (now 9 weeks old). I'm not shy about the fact that I produce a lot of milk because I work hard to make sure I'm properly nourished so I can maintain a healthy supply. Nursing and/or pumping milk for babies is hard work and time consuming. The way I look at it is if I'm going to be spending the time to pump milk, I might as well get a LOT of it! Make it worth my while right? So while I don't necessarily "need" lactation cookies to boost my supply, it doesn't hurt to make a batch every now and then to ensure I'm maintaining the supply I've got ;) Plus, who doesn't want an excuse to eat some yummy cookies!?
This recipe is super easy to make and it tastes SO good! Justin & Ezra eat them as well and neither can even tell there are special ingredients in them. The 3 ingredients that make these cookies "milk boosters" are oats, brewers yeast, and flax meal. What I love most is that they taste like monster cookies, and it's a pretty low sugar recipe which isn't always the case with lactation cookies. Y'all know my stance on sugar - the less the better!
Before I get to the recipe here are a couple other tips that help me maintain and boost my supply. Following these basic principles helped me exclusively pump for my first son Ezra, for one year and following them again this time around I now have enough milk that Ezra is able to have breast milk again along with Ellis being exclusively breastfed AND I have a massive freezer supply #woohoo
1. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Your body makes milk out of water. If you're dehydrated there will be nothing to make milk out of, it's as simple as that! If you only drink 50 oz of fluids a day, your body will use what it needs to and the rest will go to making milk which leaves little to nothing. Or vice versa, you're dehydrating yourself to make milk for your baby. Dehydration causes headaches, achiness, dizziness, dry skin, brittle hair, and makes you feel more tired...all things that we do NOT need to piling on our plate as an already exhausted mama. I drink 100-125 oz of water a day and that's a great range to be in when nursing.
2. Unsweetened dried papaya. I know this one sounds odd but hear me out. I've always loved unsweetened unsulphured papaya and I snack on it occasionally. After Ellis was born I got into a kick with it because it was helping me cure my sweet tooth (breastfeeding cravings are intense!) and I noticed that every time I ate it I got a boost in supply! So I did a little research and sure enough, papaya -specifically green papaya- is a known lactation booster. While I was not eating fresh green papaya, it seems that dried works just as well :)
3. Steel Cut Oats. It's no big secret that oats are great to help your milk supply but there is a slight difference in quality. Aim for a whole grain oat, like steel cut oats instead of an instant oatmeal or quick cooking oats. I eat gluten free steel cut oats every single morning. My favorite way to eat them is with a drizzle of raw honey, splash of unsweetened almond milk, and 1/4 scoop of Daily Sunshine which makes them taste like chocolate and is giving me an extra dose of organic fruits, veggies, probiotics, and healthy fats --win win!
4. Healthy Fats. Last Spring I published a blog post about the positive effects of healthy fats and breast milk (you can read it here). I get my healthy fats in the form of avocado, nuts, and coconut oil mostly. You can add coconut oil to anything. I cook with it, put it in my shakeology, add it to my oatmeal, blend it in my coffee as a "creamer", or make fat bombs with it. Bonus- healthy fats also help you feel full longer!
5. Get on a schedule. My last tip is to get on a pumping schedule. Your body creates milk on a supply and demand basis. The more often you're emptying your breasts completely the more milk you will produce. If you aren't emptying completely (and often) that tells your body you don't need any more milk. Even if you pump for 10 minutes and nothing comes out, that will trigger your body to make more milk.
And if all else fails...Make some cookies! :)
I'll share my recipe the way I make it which means it's gluten free. You can use ingredients you have on hand, if that means plain white sugar and regular flour - go for it. I prefer to use the "cleanest" ingredients possible but I know that sometimes you just have to use what you've got. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does!
Magic Milk Maker Lactation Cookies
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
1/2 C. kerrygold butter, softened
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. pure cane sugar
1/2 C. organic peanut butter - no sugar added
1 large egg
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 C. gluten free flour blend (cup 4 cup)
1 1/2 C. gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
4 Tbsp brewers yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C. dark chocolate chips (60% cacao)
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a cup, stir the flax and water - set aside.
In your KitchenAid, cream the butter, sugar, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla on high.
Stir in the flour, yeast, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, and flax mixture on low just until incorporated.
Gently fold in the oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts just until incorporated.
Scoop rounded spoonfuls on to a baking sheet. Use your palm to flatten each cookie dough mound slightly. The cookies will not spread much during baking so use your own preference to flatten to your liking before baking.
Bake for 9-12 minutes at 350 until the edges are lightly brown - remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.
Store in a covered container.