How to boost your milk supply with delicious lactation cookies!

Mckenzie Ellis from Low Salt Kitchen tackles some concerns about breastfeeding and how to combat your milk supply issues with the help of a low salt cookie!

When my husband and I moved to New Orleans from Denver a little over five years ago, I was six months pregnant with my first child. It was a whirlwind of simultaneous events once my son was born, recently moving to a new city, having a baby and putting work on hold for the time being. Three major life events at once…yikes!

Being a new mom is difficult and let’s be honest it’s all about just surviving. You’ve just made it home from the hospital, you are totally exhausted, and then you start to get a little overwhelmed by all this new mom stuff. Those first few months with baby can be pretty intense. With so much to remember and so many “firsts” to cover, it’s easy to be left feeling a bit unprepared, I was.

When my son was born, I made a commitment to myself to try my best to breastfeed him for six months. In fact, according to Parenting Magazine only 36% of babies are breastfed through six months. In the beginning it was rough for both of us, but eventually we got it down and settled into a comfortable routine. Fast-forward five months. I was still exclusively breastfeeding my son but continued to alternatively pump to ensure I kept up my milk supply and ate a healthy balanced diet. Baby was happy. Life was good. My supply was ample.

All of a sudden, my supply plummeted, and I wondered if it was the end of our nursing relationship. I frantically asked every mom I knew for ways to increase breastmilk production and ran across the all-so-mighty lactation cookie with key lactation supplements: oats, brewer’s yeast, flaxseed and wheat germ.

I have to admit; at first glance it looked a little daunting. Brewer’s yeast? Flaxseed meal? I was desperate though and willing to give it a try.

I made my own low salt revisions, additions and edits and the recipe was surprisingly easy.  I was doubtful, but as I watched the cookies rise from the heat in the oven, so did my expectations of what they could do. They did not disappoint! 

But, let me be clear, I am not a lactation expert, if any mama is struggling with low breastmilk supply, the first thing she needs to do is consult with a Certified Lactation Consultant. The Lactation Center at Touro Infirmary was my lifeline.

My recipe became a regular part of my kitchen routine every few weeks. I would make a batch of 3-4 dozen cookies at a time and freeze them. I would take them out and warm them up as I needed, and it didn’t feel like such a big commitment.

How many lactation cookies should you eat? The real answer, everyone is different. My advice is to start with two or three cookies each day to start noticing the benefits. Follow the Low Salt Movement by visiting my blog Low Salt Kitchen and Transform Your Relationship with Salt One Recipe at a Time.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

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Yield: 3 dozen Prep Time: 15minutes Bake Temp: 350° Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
• ¼ cup water
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup white sugar
• ½ cup light brown sugar
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup brewer’s yeast
• 1 tablespoon wheat germ
• 1 teaspoon no-salt baking soda*
• ½ teaspoon no-salt substitute*
• ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flaxseed with water in a small bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Beat butter, white sugar and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat together mixing well. Stir in the flax seed mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, baking soda, no-salt substitute and cream of tarter. Add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips into the dough.

Roll rough into 2” sized balls and placed onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

*Regular salt and baking soda also work perfectly fine. If you are watching your salt intake opt to use the no-salt versions instead.

*Flax seed is prepped many ways. The version most useful for baking is the milled flax seed that you will find in your local store. It typically comes in a bag or a box (depending on the brand you select). You may have to go to a health food, whole foods store, or large supermarket to find the brewer's yeast which typically comes in a can.

*Whole oats should always be used - not 'quick' oats (the type that cook in a few minutes in the microwave). Be sure when you buy your oats ('oatmeal') that you are purchasing whole, natural oats.

More about the key ingredients:

Oats (or oatmeal) are key in boosting milk supply because of the iron they contain that nursing moms are frequently in need of. Oats are also a great source of fiber which increases milk supply,

Brewer's yeast is one of the best natural sources of B vitamins, which are essential to overall health of a nursing mom (and any woman).  

Flax Seed: The oil from flax seed is considered by many to be a galactagogue (substance that improves lactation). It is also a great form of fiber. Flax is power packed with omega-3 (essential fatty acids) that are absolutely crucial to a nursing mom's diet (as well as baby's diet).

Wheat germ is beneficial because it contains zinc, which is a must for breastfeeding. Zinc aids the immune system and even helps to protect cracked nipples, a common occurrence when breastfeeding. Like brewer's yeast, it is also believed to help with postpartum depression.

 
 
Mckenzie Ellis (lowsaltkitchen.com) is a  New Orleans based food blogger and sodium expert

Mckenzie Ellis (lowsaltkitchen.com) is a
New Orleans based food blogger and
sodium expert

 
 

Mckenzie is the founder and owner of Low Salt Kitchen a food blog specializing in low sodium recipes. She uses real food, bursting with real flavors, just without all the salt. She is an accomplished Marketing and Sales professional turned chef and food blogger who is based in New Orleans, LA and Denver, CO. Mckenzie is a self-taught cook who took on the challenge of creating recipes that were extremely low in sodium after her husband was diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease, a rare inner-ear disorder.

Mckenzie started her Low Salt Kitchen blog because she wanted to share the knowledge she has gained over the past ten years in the kitchen. She wanted to provide support to all having to go on a low sodium diet and know they can still eat the food they love. She loves nothing better than creating recipes and inspiring others to follow the low salt movement. She is currently writing a cookbook Breaking Up with Salt Over 150 Recipes to Transform Your Relationship with Salt. She is a member of the IACP with two toddlers at home and considers her children the toughest critics in the kitchen.


Amy Landry