These healthy Lactation Cookies are a life-saver for new moms. They’re made with milk-boosting ingredients, like flax seed, oats, and brewer’s yeast, and feature healthier ingredients to avoid a sugar crash later. Because moms need all the energy they can get!
How Do Lactation Cookies Work?
Lactation cookies are strategically developed with ingredients that are thought to boost milk supply. These ingredients include:
- Flax Seeds. Flax seeds are a rich source of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen which is similar to the female hormone estrogen. It may help to influence the production of breast milk, and the essential fatty acids in flax may help to make the milk more nutritious.
- Brewer’s Yeast. Brewer’s Yeast is believed to be a galactogogue, which is thought to increase milk production. It’s also loaded with B vitamins, iron, and chromium, which may help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Rolled Oats. Oats are a good source of iron, and since low-iron levels have been associated with a decrease in breast milk production, it makes sense that eating something high in iron might help!
Anything that makes you relax is also thought to help encourage your breast milk to let-down, so sitting down and eating a cookie might help in that regard, too!
What’s the Best Way to Increase Your Milk Supply Naturally?
It’s important to note that the most important factor when it comes to making breast milk is how often you allow your baby to nurse. Your body produces breast milk using the “supply and demand” system, so the more you let the baby nurse, the more milk you will make.
Unlimited access to the breast is essential for establishing an adequate milk supply, and no number of lactation cookies or herbs can replace that. (Though they do help boost your caloric intake, and that’s necessary for breast milk, too– don’t be tempted to diet or reduce your calories when you’re trying to establish your milk supply.)
The nurses at my hospital even recommended that I completely avoid using pacifiers or bottles for the first four weeks of our son’s life to ensure that I nursed him every single time he needed comfort. (Which felt like 20+ hours out of the day.) You can’t nurse a baby too often, but you can nurse them too little.
With that being said, eating a few of these cookies couldn’t hurt, either.
How to Make Healthy Lactation Cookies
Most recipes for lactation cookies that I’ve seen floating around the internet are loaded with white flour and sugar, and very little of these special milk-boosting ingredients, so I have to wonder if they are really doing new moms any favors. You need all the energy you can get during those first few months, and the last thing you need is a sugar crash!
The following recipe is my solution to that problem. These cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free to accommodate those with allergies, and they are naturally sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar.
Best of all, the batter can be whipped together in minutes, so you won’t have to wait long before you’re swimming in cookies (and hopefully more breast milk)!
Can You Use Nutritional Yeast in Lactation Cookies?
Brewer’s yeast is always found in classic lactation cookie recipes, but if you’re gluten-free and can’t find one that is certified gluten-free, or if you can’t find a de-bittered version (it tastes terrible otherwise), try using nutritional yeast instead. It’s thought to have similar properties to brewer’s yeast with its nutrition profile, and it tastes much better!
These healthy Lactation Cookies are loaded with milk-boosting ingredients, like flax seeds, oats, and brewer's yeast. I love that they're made with low-glycemic coconut sugar, to help avoid a sugar crash later!
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup debittered brewer's yeast*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups oat flour (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl combine the ground flax seeds with the water, and stir well to mix. Add in the coconut oil, coconut sugar, debittered brewer's yeast, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and stir again until well combined. Gradually stir in the oat flour until a dough is formed, then fold in the 1/2 cup of oats and dark chocolate chips.
- Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the lined baking sheet, then use your fingers to flatten the cookies.
- Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. I prefer mine baked for 10 minutes, so that they are crisp around the edges, but still nice and soft in the center, but they will firm up more the longer you bake them. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
These cookies will soften if stored in an airtight container at room temperature, so I recommend storing them in the fridge or freezer for best texture and shelf life. Or, you can store them on a plate (uncovered) at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*If you are gluten-intolerant be sure buy certified gluten-free oats. If you cannot find a brewer's yeast that is certified gluten-free, try using nutritional yeast instead, which is thought to have similar properties for milk production.
Lactation Cookie Nutrition (per cookie): Calories: 145, Fat: 7g, Carbohydrates: 18, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 4g
- I came up with this recipe for my mom friends who can’t have nuts, but if you’d prefer a “Paleo” lactation cookie, try adding brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast to my Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe instead! (You could even add a flax egg to them, if you like.)
- I also found these Date Energy Balls and Lactation Energy Bites helpful for my first several weeks of nursing– they provided me with easy, nutrient-dense calories when I was up all hours of the night! They would also make a wonderful gift for a new mom.
- If you’re not a nursing mom, but just want a vegan oatmeal cookie to enjoy, omit the yeast– these cookies will taste even better without it!
- It’s crucial that you use debittered brewer’s yeast in this recipe, as the regular version tastes terrible!! I couldn’t even stand one tablespoon of the regular stuff in an entire batch of cookies, so please don’t waste your ingredients and ruin a batch of cookies like I did. If you would prefer to use nutritional yeast, it is suspected to have similar milk-boosting properties, too. (Experts aren’t sure why yeast boosts milk supply, but they suspect it has something to do with the B vitamins it contains.)
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think! If you make a substitution, let me know how that works for you, too. We can all benefit from your experience!
Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried a lactation cookie before? My husband loves them, too!