For the first post in the new “The First Year” breastfeeding mini-series, I thought it would be fun to write about my experience making lactation cookies this past weekend.
But what are lactation cookies? I didn’t realize until after I posted on my Facebook page that I was baking them that some people actually thought these somehow involved a recipe using breastmilk!
NO WORRIES! These cookies are meant to foster healthy milk production…and it takes NO actual milk to make them!
Even though I breastfed my first daughter for almost 2 years and have breastfed my second for nearly 8 months, I had never even heard of lactation cookies until about a month ago.
I received a Milkin’ Cookies sample cookie in a swag bag at the All About Baby Charlotte expo. I honestly ate the cookie without even realizing it was supposed to help increase milk production!
Later, when I found out the premise behind the cookies is to provide a nutrient-dense snack full of galactogogues (ingredients like oats, flax seed and nutritional yeast that can help increase breast milk production), I wondered if I couldn’t just make them myself. Sure, the pre-packaged cookies tasted great and are super convenient for busy moms, but they are outside of my family’s budget.
I scoured the internet and found tons of recipes for so-called lactation cookies. However, many of these recipes are chock-full of sugar and had just a little bit of galactogogues.
I was disappointed, but I kept searching. I finally stumbled upon a recipe at Peaceful Parenting*. Although there are still things about this recipe I want to tweak (specifically, I’d like to convert the sugar to either honey or sucanat), overall, I am extremely satisfied.
These cookies tasted great (although not sweet enough for my husband!), and for those wondering, YES, I did see a very noticeable increase in my milk production within 24 hours! (It is recommended to eat 1-2 cookies per day. I liked these so much that I, um…ate quite a bit more over the weekend!)
I hope you all like this recipe as much as I did! (These are perfectly fine to give your children and hubbies! Don’t worry–it won’t make them produce milk! 🙂 I actually fed these to my 3-year-old for breakfast. She LOVES them!
Homemade Lactation Cookies
- 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 c. rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 c. peanut butter
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1 c. ground flax seed
- 3 T brewer's yeast (found here, here, here, or your local healthfood store)
- 1/3 c. water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 c. sucanat (original recipe calls for 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. brown sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 2 c. (12oz) chocolate chips (I recommend organic or chips made with non-GMO soy lethicin.)
- 1 c. chopped nuts of your choice (I left mine out since my husband is allergic to tree nuts.)
- Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer's yeast, flax and water until creamy.
- Mix in eggs.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Slowly mix in oats. Place Tbsp.-sized balls of dough onto greased cookie sheets.
- Press down each ball lightly with a fork.
- Bake 12 minutes at 350F.
- Allow to cool.
Adapted from Original Recipe by Kathleen Major
Have you ever made lactation cookies? Would you like to share your recipe?
*I have not read any more of the Peaceful Parenting’s posts. Therefore, I can endorse this recipe, but I cannot endorse her blog.
I’m in the middle of making these cookies and don’t know what temp. to bake t
hem at. I’m assuming 375F. I will let you know how they turn out!
How did they turn out?! I am so sorry…I need to update that post…350!
They were very crumbly and hard to stick together, but I used an ice-cream scoop and compressed it with my hand and the dough stayed together fine after that. They baked just fine at 375F but I did keep an eye on them since I didn’t know the exact temp. The dough yielded 56 cookies – 2 to 3 inches in diameter, but they did not spread when baked.
I started eating them one and a half days ago, three a day spread throughout the day and I must say I was skeptical about it working, but I have noticed an increase in milk production! Even if its a placebo effect, it doesn’t matter because the goal was to make more milk and I did! As far as flavor… so so. Not great but certainly palatable and very healthy. I am going to try to add my homemade apricot sauce (like apple sauce) and see if that will help the flavor as well as helping the dough keep together a little better. I will definitely continue to make these!
A local deli and cake store makes lactation cookies, but they wanted $20 per dozen. That is just not in my budget so I am very grateful for this recipe.
Thank you thank you!
I’m so glad you’ve seen an increase in milk production! I have to say–I became quite addicted to these! I am no longer lactating (but will be hopefully very SOON–due in 2 weeks), so I will start making these again. I ought to make some and freeze them now! 😉 I overdid it on these one day and got engorged!
$20/dozen…whew! Yes–it’s so nice to be able to make some for yourself at home! So sorry about the temps…I definitely need to update! And I can imagine you can make all kinds of flavors with the basic recipe as a starter. Hope you enjoy the different versions you create!
Can these be frozen?? The dough and the baked cookies? I made these for the 1st time and thought it would be genius to double the recipe (not knowing how many the single recipe would make). Yikes!!! I’ve only baked half of them and at 2 a day it’ll take me 3 weeks to eat those! How long until these spoil once baked? I’ve got cookies & dough coming out of my ears!!
Dd u use nutritional yeast or brewers yeast???
I used Brewers Yeast. My youngest is 16 months old now and has weaned himself – part of me is sad but the other part says woohoo! These worked well for me and I am still making them. My favorite variation is with apricot preserves. My four year old loves them and my 16 month old nibbles on them. My husband and I still enjoy them as well.
I need to update again – I have been meaning to do this for a while now. I have made these cookies several times now, and I now know that I FORGOT TO ADD WATER to the first batch!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder they were crumbly. Now that I am making the recipe properly, I find the batter forms up just fine and the flavor is much better. I sneak an extra one every now and then.
I am still doing great with these and am producing enough milk although I had to go back to work when my little one was five months old. (Can I just say that although it is necessary, I HATE PUMPING!)
Congratulations on your newest addition!
Is brewers yeast the same as instant yeast?. Can I use instant yeast if I don’t have brewers yeast?
No, it’s different.
Just made these today! Because of the previous comment I made some slight alterations. I almost doubled the cinnamon, added allspice, and halved the sugar. Great recipe! I just like a ton of spices in my cookies. 🙂 don’t forget to update the bake temp.
Sounds like you made an amazing new version!! Those spices sound delicious…and put me in the mood for fall!! Going to update right now!! Thanks for the reminder! Enjoy your cookies…they don’t last long around here! Haha 😉
Thanks! We are enjoying them! I woke up this morning super engorged and have been abundant all day! And that’s saying something since my little man is an oinker 😉 I am going to give these as a baby shower gift to help promote breastfeeding! 🙂
I think they would be a great baby shower gift! Yes…those cookies did the same thing to me! LOL…but I had a tendency of eating more than the recommended amount. 😉
Hi, you mentioned your husband is allergic to tree nuts, but the recipe calls for peanut butter? I Also Noticed That In The Instructions you mention almond butter instead of peanut butter, which one is it? I ask because my daughter is allergic to peanuts as well and I will need to substitute the peanut butter if that’s what the recipe actually calls for.
Hi Brunet! Peanuts are actually not a tree nuts. They grow in the ground. I know it’s confusing! You can alternate almond butter and peanut butter interchangeably in this recipe. Hope that helps!
I would love to try this recipe, but I’m allergic to flaxseed (makes me vomit). Would it be OK to sub wheat germ or something else?
If it were me, I would probably just leave the flax seed out. I modify recipes all the time by just leaving a certain ingredient out. But the wheat germ, etc. couldn’t hurt! You could also try chia seed?
I read a review that gnc brewer’s yeast tastes like beer. Does the beer taste come out in the cookie or do the other ingredients mask it’s flavor? I want to make them but I’ve never had the test our flax seed before
Well, I’ve never tasted beer to be honest with you! I think the cookies are delicious, though! You can try to add a bit more chocolate chips or vanilla if you think the taste is not sweet enough. There is a distinct flavor, but my children and husband actually like them–which says a lot (especially the husband part!).
I didn’t notice a beer flavor but I think I would prefer a sweeter cookie but I still think the first batch was a success. My husband took one bite and handed out back though..but he is ridiculously picky do that’s not eating much
I do not want to use peanut butter or almospnd butter. Can I just not use them or do I have to substitute them with something?
I would sub them with something…you can try sunbutter or even applesauce for a completely different flavor.
Ok so I made these and I think they are working but they are starting to turn green. I’ve still been eating them and they seem/taste fine but any ideas? Thanks for this great recipe!
THANK YOU! I had my second son on monday and was looking for a way to get my milk to come in a bit quicker. I had a c-section so things are moving a bit slowly from the pain meds. I live in Japan and wasn’t able to find the yeast so I used regular yeast instead. I just finished making these and they came out great. Not too sweet and i love the fact that they don’t call for icky ingredients. Not to mention they made a TON! I will be sharing with some fellow Mamas. I can already tell that my supply is increasing!
AWESOME! I just made these last night, munching along the way of course, and woke up with a 5 oz pump at 5am and a 7oz pump at 8am! Just last week I was around 1 to 3. Iv also been taking fenugreek but haven’t seen a difference until this morning! I divided the batch in half and used chocolate chips in on half and raisins in the other for variety. I’m freezing half the batch bc this recipe makes a ton! And the cookies spread out so space them and make them small! Also, I used regular yeast instead of brewers bc I couldn’t find it but I would NOT recommend it. Leave it out because they are thick and almost cakey but the flavor is still good. These work! Thanks so much for posting and if you have a production issue, these are easy to make and yummy too!
Just curious, is the Wheat flour a necessity as a galactagogue (sp?) or could you use other flour?
Not sure if whole wheat flour is a galactogogue or not. This said after a very brief search. But – if your problem is the same one mine is – I CAN’T STAND WHEAT FLOUR!!! I just hate the gritty texture of it in my bread and pasta. I have tried to like it because it is healthier for you, but ughh. I always try it first though, and I couldn’t tell I used whole wheat in the cookies. They were yummie!
The galactagogues are the brewer’s yeast, flax, and oats. I doubt the flour does anything for breast milk.
Have you heard of Mighty Milk granola bars? A friend told me about them but I haven’t tried them yet.
I know this was posted a long time ago so I hope that you see this. I just found out that we are expecting a surprise third child, however our second child is only four months old! I am really concerned with losing my milk for her during my pregnancy, do you have any ideas if these would help with that or do you think if my milk is going to decrease it’s just going to?
First of all, congrats on your new baby!! That is awesome! My third baby is almost 3 months old! I nurses my older two girls until halfway through my pregnancies. They were older when I got pregnant, though, and didn’t necessarily need the milk. I would ask your doctor or midwife what they think as far as nursing goes, but I do not think eating these cookies would hurt and could only help. They are comprised of good ingredients whether for pregnant or nursing.
Thanks so much Erin! 🙂 And I just realized while re-reading my comment that I don’t even sound happy in what I said-I am overjoyed to be having another baby, I think I’m just still in shock! lol (plus I still want to give my four month old the best nutrition that I possibly can!)
everything I’ve heard and read says so long as you are getting ample calories/nutrition there’s no reason to worry. Just remember you’re eating for THREE now. 😀 I would think these cookies being packed with nutrition and calories would be a great way to maintain good nutrition all round. Mention them to your provider for sure 😀
I recently started making these to give away to local Mommas who might need them to help with their milk supply. Everyone LOVES the taste, and several Mommas (the ones who have actually let me know) have said that they have helped tremendously! I am so happy to have found this recipe! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!
Also, I tried this recipe with coconut oil instead of butter for a Momma who’s little cant have anything with milk in it, and they came out even better than with the butter! Substituted cup-for-cup.
Awesome! So glad she enjoyed them!
Thanks for posting about coconut oil! I was wondering about that!
You’re welcome! 🙂
Did you use virgin or refined coconut oil?
Possible stupid question, I really want to make these but my mixer is in storage & I dont want to dig it out. Do you need a mixer or will it be fine without?
I think you could probably hand mix. No stupid questions here. 🙂
If I can’t find brewer’s yeast can I use active or dry yeast in its place?
No – they are not the same thing. Regular yeast is not nearly the galactagogue that brewers yeast is, so unfortunately swapping regular yeast for brewer’s is not a compatible switch. I found mine at the local GNC store. You will likely not find it in a regular grocery store. Try a health food store to get it.
Bummer – I’m in a very small isolated town (aka on a island) and we don’t have a health food store here 🙁
I envy you the peaceful isolation – but island living does have it’s issues. Maybe you could order it? Make the cookies anyway and go ahead and use regular yeast. It won’t be perfect, but it will still be very good for you and baby. Much joy and luck to you in the days ahead!
I was able to find HealthBest All Natural NBC 600 Yeast Flakes — would this be the same as Brewer’s Yeast? The gal at the store seemed to think it was?
I wish I knew…but I don’t. I would trust the lady at the healthfood store, though.
While brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast (e.g. Healthbest NBC 600 yeast flakes) are not the same, both are galactagogues: http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-diet.aspx
Great tip! 🙂
So would nutritional yeast be ok?!?
No–they are very different. I would just make the cookies without it. You can also add some fenugreek capsules (out of the capsules of course)!
I realize your comment is over a year old, but I was wondering about the fenugreek…cooking it wouldn’t hurt it or make it less effective?
A friend made me delicious, healthy banana oatmeal cookies when my son was born. A quick search online led me to a 2-3 ingredient recipe (2 old bananas mashed, 1 cup oats, plus your choice of chips/nuts/dried fruit). Amazingly simplistic and healthy – no added sugar beyond what’s naturally occurring in the bananas. Any thoughts on adapting to incorporate the flax seed and yeast to support milk supply in an even healthier and easier recipe?
hi. have a question, which one am i suppose to use almond butter or peanut butter? or both? if both then how much is the almond butter? can i make it without almond butter because i know ill have a hard time finding it. thanks
I just make them with peanut butter. 🙂
Hi. I wanted to say THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH for sharing this recipes. If i didn’t come across to this, i would be devastating to stop breastfeeding my beautiful daughter. I made it this morning and within few hours. it got engorged, and feeding was short. and i also pump and got 7 oz. FINALLY. Ive been pumping and i could only get 2 oz per day. Im so excited. thank you so much once again. and i wonder how many cookie i can eat per day? or it doesn’t matter?
I think to maintain a good supply 2-3 cookies should do it, but I often eat more. 😉 So glad it worked!
Should I start eating these before I have my baby, on the day I have him, or what? I had a hard time breastfeeding my first, so I want to jump on this as quickly as I can!
That is fine! There is nothing in them that would hurt–And they Are yummy!!
For those if you wondering about freezing these, I scooped a batch out, froze them on a cookie sheet, and then kept them in a bag in my freezer. I bake two in my toaster oven every morning and they come out great!
My baby will be 4 weeks in a few days. I have been eating two of these cookies a day since I got home from the hospital, and my baby is gaining weight like a champ! He regained his birth weight at a week old, and gained almost a pound a week after that!
Just curious, do you know of a way to make these WAPF friendly by soaking the wheat and oats first? I suppose I could add whey to the 1/3 cup of water and soak the oats in it? And maybe sprout the wheat? I have never been successful at sprouting wheat though. Also have you tried making them with honey or maple syrup?
They are great with honey. I personally don’t eat them right now because I am not longer eating wheat/gluten. But, yes, I think soaking them would be fine & make them even better. 🙂 Hope you enjoy them!
I plan on making these for myself and cousin who is having trouble with her milk supply an just wanted to make sure I had the right measurements. Does 3T of brewers yeast mean 3 tablespoons?
I would like to encourage you to take a look at The Brewer’s Booster Bar. As a meal replacer (typically for breakfast), you get a ton of fiber and protein, plus the galactagogue benefits without butter, flour, and eggs. It is also a sunflower seed base, for those allergic to nuts.
I made these with raisins, apple butter instead of peanut butter, added clove, and ginger as well. These cookies tasted like an oatmeal cookie, yum.
do you know if it would be okay to eat these while pregnant?
I can’t wait to make this recipe with my hubby tomorrow! I’m headed back to school and need to up my frozen stash… The recipe calls for oats but could you use steel cut outs since I’ve heard this helps supply also? And I also don’t want to include the peanut butter since I want to try and go a more traditional oatmeal raisin route. What should I substitute with?
I just made these today. They are super easy to make. But I feel compelled to comment on the taste. I am not a health nut. My palet is used to Cheetos and Oreos. So for me these are barely tolerable. I topped them with sugar before baking and have to chase each bite with milk. I don’t mean any of this in a judgemental way. I wish I preferred more healthy foods. So for those of you out there that are not used to health food, be warned these might not be as tasty as others are claiming. Not for you at least. I’m hoping I can learn to love the taste and that they work for me the way they appear to work for other women.
I really want to try out this recipe, but in some of the comments, people are mentioning almond butter and I’m not seeing almond butter in the ingredient list. I see it in the directions though. Am I missing it? Can someone tell me how much almond butter it calls for?
What kind/brand of brewers yeast do you use or consider the best?
My LO is 18 days old and desperately in need of fattening up (dropped too much weight in week one.) I am gluten free, and am going to try modifying this recipe with almond flour and quinoa flour in place of the wheat flour. I have gluten free oats and nutritional yeast, so I should be good to go. I do plan to use coconut oil as my girl reacts quite badly when I eat dairy. Oh, also, I love baking spices, so will probably add extra cinnamon, ginger and clove.
That sounds like a ton of mods, but I am so happy to find a recipes that has such positive feedback. I can’t wait to try them!
It’s been many years since I nursed a baby (he’s 19 now), but I remember what a boost that Mother’s Milk Tea gave my milk production. I bet that would be the perfect complement to these cookies!
Can anyone tell me what the yield is meant to be on these? How many should I be getting from the mix when I come to portion them up, thanks x
Made these today and they were great! Made a couple changes though. Cut the butter in half and added coconut oil since its also said to be a galactogogue. Used coconut water in place of place of plain water, added about 1/4 cup of honey and used carob chips in place of chocolate. Tasted great! Hope they help with supply!
These are hands down my favorite cookies. I’ll eat six (…possibly more) in a day and justify it because they’re boosting my supply! I need an extra 500 calories anyway right? I’ve made them countless times now for myself and for other breastfeeding mamas! Love this recipe!
I love this recipe so much!!! I make a batch once a month my daughter is 5 months now and we are going strong with breast feeding. I plan to breastfeed as long as I can!! Oh and I add pecans and dried cranberries its delicious!!!
Hi, I pregnant with our fourth child and have had low milk with the other three – next to other issues. anyhow, i am very very keen on trying these cookies out and see what help it can offer us here ! However, and now comes the question, how essential is the peanut butter and can it be substituted by anything else – reason is; at 18 i was diagnosed with thé healthproblem of our family: high cholesterol. i used to eat peanut butter every now and then and was told to stay off it (and some other things) and i managed to get my cholesterol levels back to somewhere near the acceptable level. I am willing to do a lot (and i mean a lot) to feed my baby breastmilk but wouldn’t like to wake up another sleeping health monster in the process. if you or anyone else could help me out with some advice, i’d be incredibly grateful.
Absolutely wonderful cookies! I just made these as I am expecting in 4 days. I live at high altitude, so I decreased the baking soda and increased the flour. They turned out great and satisfy my chocolate need.
I’m so glad you liked them–and congrats!
I replaced the peanut butter with almond butter to make it healthier and also because almonds help milk production, also I used stevia for sweetness to reduce calories and I used cocoa chips instead of chocolate chips for another healthy alternative 🙂 loved the recipe and within 2 hrs I went from pumping only an ounce to 2 oz but I only ate one cookie then…now I am eating 3 and pumping 4 oz. 🙂 thank you 🙂
thank you for the post. I bought all the ingredients today at whole foods to bake these cookies tomorrow. when you say 3T of brewer’s yeast, do you mean 3 tablespoon or teaspoon?
Alright, so I know this is an old post and there have been several different comments and questions about the brewers yeast. I am also going to ask about the yeast. The only yeast I could find was active dry yeast. I’m desperate. My supply is is so low- I’m producing less than 10mls per pump. I’m doing skin on skin, pumping/ latch/ feeding every 2.5-3 hours, I’m so scared my baby isn’t getting enough from me and it is literally devistating my heart.
I had low supply with my first. I took healthy nursing tea and pumped a ton with a rented hospital grade pump. I did several pumps a day and drank plenty of tea as well. It took a few days but eventually my milk supply was adequate to feed my baby.
Thanks for this great advice!
Thank you for this recipe! I substituted what I had on hand, which included PBFit for the peanut butter, a flax seed and chia seed blend at 3/4 cup instead of a full cup of flax, and replaced the butter with coconut oil. The dough was gross to look at (I think because of the chia) and didn’t taste great. BUT the cookies turned out really yummy! It made exactly 36 cookies with a rounded tablespoon scoop. I also used Anthony’s Brewer’s Yeast Powder. It was the cheapest one on Amazon and didn’t give the cookies any kind of funny taste in my opinion. Saving this to make again!
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