There are some topics on pregnancy and birth that, no matter how many years pass, parents continue to question. We want to help clear up questions and misinformation with a series called "So You Want to Know About..." We'll be covering some of the most commonly talked about (and debated about) topics -- things that can make your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum safer, healthier, easier, and more enjoyable... or not. Today we're talking about lactation cookies.
Lactation Cookies for Breastfeeding
What are they?
Lactation cookies cookies made from ingredients known as galactagogues. Galactagogues are substances known to help increase milk production in mammals, including brewers yeast, flaxseed, oats, and fennel. Lactation cookies usually contain several galactagogue ingredients.
What are they used for?
Lactation cookies are used by people who are breastfeeding / chest feeding and who want to increase their milk supply. There are a number of reasons why a person would want to increase milk supply, including having a true low milk supply, to pump more, to help induce milk supply when it would not naturally occur.
Why are they a hot topic?
Don't we all wish that a cookie would solve our problems?! Eating specially-crafted cookies for a period of time to boost milk supply is a potentially easy, if not fun, solution. Lactation cookies have even become a fairly big business with online retailers.
Lactation cookies, while not necessarily controversial, have prompted some professionals to issue a word of caution. First and foremost, professionals caution parents about jumping to conclusions about their milk supply. Many people do not actually have a low milk supply. If you believe you may have a low milk supply, connect with a professional, like a Lactation Consultant, to confirm. Sometimes what is thought to be low milk supply is actually just a baby who likes to nurse frequently or who is fussy. Look at some other behaviors/signs that are often confused for low supply at Kellymom.
Second, professionals want parents to know that lactation cookies are not a proven or guaranteed method for increasing supply, despite the anecdotal evidence we have.
What does the research say?
To date, science doesn't understand why or how galactagogues work to increase milk supply. Additionally, very few scientific studies have been completed on the efficacy of galactagogues, including ingredients found in lactation cookies. Of the small number of studies, the findings are inconclusive. Only two studies found that galactagogue ingredients were successful at boosting milk supply, compared to placebo. That said, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from parents who have experienced a boost in milk supply from taking a galactagogue. And there are no harmful side effects. Experts have found that using galactagogues, like lactation cookies, along with more frequent breastfeeding or pumping is most effective at boosting supply.
What's the bottom line?
Lactation cookies fall under the "can't hurt, might help" category of resources for boosting milk supply. As long as you first investigate the reasons why you wish to boost your supply, since most people do not truly have a low milk supply that needs boosted. Talk to a professional, like a Lactation Consultant, for help.
For more information, learn about galactagogues on Kellymom and take a look at this low-sugar lactation cookie recipe on Eat This, Not That.
TagsBreastfeeding So You Want to Know About Galactagogue Milk supply Breastfeeding Issues