Monday, January 10, 2011

Lactation Cookies

Since we started the baking blog almost two years ago, I've made very few things more than once. I've wanted to experiment, to share new recipes, and there is no shortage of new recipes to try. There are a few staples, sure, like Oatmeal Carmelitas and Cake Mix Coolers and Blueberry Banana Bread, that I've made repeatedly, as well as special occasion foods like the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake that I make for my husband's birthday, but for the most part, most of it has been new.

But I've made this cookie recipe pretty much every two weeks for the last two months. I love it because you can mix it up a bit - I've added cranberries, substituted white chocolate chips, etc. - and it yields about six dozen, so I freeze most of them and have a ready stash.

The other reason I love it? A bit more complicated, and perhaps, at first, a bit more challenging to follow. But here I go:

Breastfeeding is hard work, yo. (Cue your "I thought this was a baking blog?!" statements here.) I gave birth to my daughter more than five (!) months ago, and she's been exclusively breastfed. We plan to introduce solids after her six-month pediatrician's appointment, but for now, her nutrition is all on me. No pressure, right? :) We've actually had a fairly easy time of it - no issues latching, no supply problems, no real pain - and I am extremely grateful for that. But it hasn't been a stress-free journey.

Initially, it is very exhausting and overwhelming to be "on-call" 24/7. After the first few weeks, things calmed down a bit, but the whole process of breastfeeding works on the premise of supply and demand. And when I returned to work, I worried it would  be harder to keep up the supply, because a breast pump just doesn't replicate the demand as well. Combine that with added stress and sometimes having to miss a pumping session because of work-place demands, and supply can easily plummet for some women.

But to keep my supply up, I sacrificed: I make and eat these cookies regularly. I know, I know - I lead a tough life, but someone has to eat the cookies!

I was introduced to the lactation cookies in one of my mommy/baby groups - it is actually a "breastfeeding support" group, but we cover a variety of topics, from eating to sleeping to acid reflux. The facilitator of the group brought these cookies in to one of our meetings, and although it *could* be psychological, they really do seem to help. I was without cookies for a few days at one point, and it didn't seem like I was pumping as much as I usually do.

Oatmeal is a food commonly mentioned in conversations about naturally increasing breastmilk supply, and these cookies contain two other key ingredients: Brewer's Yeast and flax seed. I found the yeast at a natural food store, and while it wasn't cheap, I am set for life and even shared some with another mom.

 The breastfed wonder. She knows she's cute :)

But aside from those ingredients? These are your run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies. My husband and one of his friends have eaten them (without lactating) and were surprised at how "normal" they taste. They're not the healthiest cookies I've ever made, considering they have a cup of butter in them (and my attempt to substitute "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" produced flat, not-quite-right cookies), but when you're breastfeeding, you need to consume *some* extra calories to make up for the fact that you're contributing so many to the baby. It isn't advised to eat a diet of Twinkies, onion rings and Skittles to get those extra calories, but if I'm going to eat a dessert, I now choose these cookies.

Mommy note: I often make the batter for these at night, when my daughter is in bed, and then I bake them during her nap or playtime the next day, when I can put her in her jumperoo for a few minutes and dart in and out of the kitchen to change cookie sheets. Life with an infant can be a little unpredictable, so at least if the batter is made, I can sneak in a few baking sessions here and there during the course of the day.

Mommy note II: These wouldn't be a bad gift for a new mom, especially if you know she's breastfeeding. Or you could buy some of the pre-made mix from a seller like Hardier Lime. 


1 C butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
4 T water
2 T flaxseed meal (no substitutions)
2 Lg eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 C Thick cut oats
1 C Chocolate chips
2 T Brewers Yeast (no substitutions)


Preheat oven at 375.

Mix 2 T of flaxseed meal and water, set aside 3-5 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs.

Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix and add vanilla. Beat until well blended.

Sift dry ingredients (except oats and chocolate chips).

Add butter mix to dry ingredients.

Stir in the oats and then the choc chips.

Drop on parchment paper on baking sheet. Bake 8-12 minutes.

Source: Epicurious



thanks so much for the recipe! i just made these and they are delicious! i'll eat them even if they don't increase my supply ;)

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