Recipes for these cookies float around the internet using a lot of names-- lactation cookies, breast milk cookies, milk makers cookies-- and all of the will get you the side eye if you mention the publicly and it's almost inevitable someone will say "So, you make these cookies with your breastmilk?" There's a little terror in their eyes when they ask, particularly if they've taken any baked goods from you recently.
No, there's no breastmilk in this recipe, just a bunch of ingredients that act as galactagogues (awesome Scrabble word simply meaning something that increases milk supply.) Peaceful Parenting has a great explanation of why each ingredient works (and a few different recipes for these cookies.) I think there are two other reasons these cookies work well. First, they are calorie bombs. A nursing mom often needs more calories than a pregnant mom and those calories can be hard to come by in a healthy way when busy with baby, work, and so on. Second, they are comfort food, which can help moms relax, and the more relaxed mom is, the more milk she makes.
I almost always have these cookies on hand and have one or two with a glass of milk or a piece of fruit for a snack. When I don't have them around, the amount of milk I pump in the morning is affected by an ounce or two. You can retain their galactagogue (can you tell I love this word?) qualities while reducing the calorie load by eliminating or alternating your mix-ins. My favorite variation adds lemon zest, white chocolate and dried cranberries. Cori prefers chocolate and peanut butter chips.
This recipe is a variation on Housepoet's Famous Lactation Boosting Cookies. It's great to bring a batch of these to a new mom and hit the spot more than flowers if you visit at the hospital.
basic recipe ingredients
- 4 Tablespoons water
- 2 rounded tablespoons flaxseed meal*
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups whole wheat or white flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 rounded tablespoons Brewers Yeast*
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats*
optional mix ins
- 1-2 cups chips (chocolate**, white chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch)
- 1 cup cocoa nibs**
- 1 cup dried fruit
- 1 cup nuts
- 1 cup broken pretzel pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger
- lemon or orange zest
*This is where the galactagogue magic happens, so don't skip these ingredients!
** Some say chocolate is a no-go while nursing. That suggestion makes me make this face.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the water and flaxseed meal and set aside for a few minutes. It will turn to a thick, firm gel. Cream the butter and sugars, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well eat time. Stir the flaxseed mixture well and add to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla, salt and baking soda and beat until blended. Add the flour. Stir in oats and then any additional mix-ins.
Scoop onto baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes. For cookies that hold their shape and spread less, put each cookie sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to popping them in the oven. I like to make a big batch of this cookie dough, then use a cookie scoop to portion out all the dough. I freeze the dough for 20 minutes, then put a dozen pieces in quart-size freezer bags and toss them back in the freezer. This way, I can have a fresh batch of cookies whenever I want (and it keeps me from eating way too many of them in one sitting.)
If you're in a rush, you can also make these as cookie bars. Simply grease a 9-by-11 pan, pour the batter in, smooth the top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Because this is a thick, dense cookie bar, test them with a toothpick before pulling them out of oven. Only a few crumbs should cling to the toothpick when they are done. Let them cool completely before cutting.