So just to make this completely clear: Lactation cookies ARE NOT MADE FROM BREASTMILK.
I hadn’t worked out why my family were getting squeemish whenever I referred to lactation cookies (especially as I’ve never seen any of them turn down the offer of a baked good EVER) until I twigged they thought I’d been using a clients breastmilk to make them.
What a lactation cookie should be full of, is in fact galactogogs, basically a substance that promotes lactation. Now one very important point: If you have any concerns about your milk supply or are struggling to breastfeed, please, please seek help, there are tons of great resources out there from The National Breastfeeding Helpline , La Leche, your local breastfeeding support group or a lactation consultant. This is a useful ‘who does what’ blog post from a lady who really knows her boobs. Because at best you may be masking a problem, at worse you may be creating more.
Lecture over, onto the nice bit. These are some tasty recipes which contain substances high in galactagogs, but regardless, taste delicious and will help fill the hunger black-hole that breastfeeding creates without having to resort to slabs of chocolate.
This traditional lactation cookie recipe is from a useful Ozzy website called Belly Belly
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup butter/ghee/coconut oil, whichever you prefer (if you’re interested here’s a blog post on cooking with fats)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2-3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp Brewers yeast (this is a thing and there aren’t any substitutes, but all good healthfood shops, and even some rubbish ones, should stock it)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
You can pimp this recipe with a 1/2 cup of other stuff, my favs include plain choc chips (high in antioxidants and other good stuff) and dried unsulphured apricots (added iron), but any dried fruit, nuts and coconut all work really well.
1. Combine flaxseed and water in a bowl and leave to stand while you cream butter and sugar.
2. To your butter mix add egg and vanilla and after approx 5 min (take the opportunity to go make a cuppa) add in the flax.
3. Beat in flour, cinnamon and brewers yeast thoroughly, then finally stir in oats and bonus ingredients.
4. Place spoonfuls of mixture evenly on a greased/parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for approx 10-15 min at 180′C, you’re aiming to have them looking golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes before putting them onto a wire rack.
Tip: Send the recipe to your mother, mother-in-law, aunty, etc who really, really wants to help out but who drives you nuts when they hover around ‘being useful’.
Ginger and Sesame bites
These are adapted from a recipe by Joyous Health and are really moreish.
6 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sesame seeds (or if you find that too much chopped almond/macadamia/cashew are all good galactagogy alternatives)
1 1/2 tsp dried ginger
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1. Mix everything together (easiest to do in the order listed in the recipe)
2. Place spoonfuls on a greased/parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 180′C until golden (approx 10 min), leave to stand for a few min before placing on cooling rack.
Tip: Baking can be a great project in the early stages of labour, keeping you moving and occupied.
Other ideas as an alternative to lactation cookie recipes which have high levels of galactogogs include
Fennel and sweetcorn salad – Tastes so much better than it sounds, trust me – Finely shredded fennel, sweetcorn, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper to taste.
This dressing in Fast Flavour which is full of garlic, tahini and ginger, galactogogs all, plus green papaya (which is becoming more difficult although not impossible, to find as the supermarkets do ‘ripe and ready’) which is great in stirfrys or salads.