Lactation Cookies (Oatmeal Chocolate Chip)
Bake up a special treat for the breastfeeding mothers in your life. Full of milk-boosting galactagogues, these lower-sugar Lactation Cookies are delicious and beneficial!
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Seven years ago, I shared this post for a lactation cookie recipe. I had been making them for friends and then started making them by request for other mothers in my neighborhood. Since I was baking so many batches, I thought I’d share the recipe – and had no idea that it would soon become one of the all-time most popular recipes on Bunsen Burner Bakery.
But I guess it makes sense because even if only a small subset of you are actually lactating, we all probably know someone who is. A friend, a family member, or a coworker. Your sister or niece or daughter. A neighbor, another mother in your child’s preschool class, a friend from the gym.
And thus, this recipe grew and grew – and it is high time for an update! New photos, new helpful tips, but the same great recipe that has been made tens of thousands of times and has over 400 5-star reviews.
While my own breastfeeding journies are over (once combined nursing and pumping with an undersupply, once exclusively pumping with a slight oversupply), I vividly remember all the challenges and struggles.
So here’s a virtual high five to all my fellow lactating mamas — whether your experience was wonderful and you nursed for 2 years, or your experience was disheartening and ended after 2 weeks — you did a great job. You are awesome.
So why not celebrate your breastfeeding friends by baking them a batch of these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies? New moms deserve a treat.
What are Galactagogues?
What exactly ARE lactation cookies anyway (and do they even work)? Lactation cookies are full of galactagogues. Some people swear they work; others say no way.
Galactagogues are substances that help increase mammalian milk production. Galactagogues can be synthetic prescription medications or natural food substances.
Common galactagogues include oatmeal, fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, marshmallow root, blessed thistle, alfalfa leaves, fennel, and goat’s rue. I took all of these in combination for months in an attempt to boost my supply, in addition to “power hour” pumping sessions, pumping in the middle of the night, and nursing as frequently as I could on weekends.
Did the galactagogues help? It’s quite possible that it is all a placebo effect, but I did notice a boost in supply when I took them all in tandem.
What are Lactation Cookies?
Most women, however, don’t have quite as big of an issue with supply as I did. Lactation cookies include some of the aforementioned galactagogues in smaller doses, with the goal of adding a little supply boost.
My issue with most lactation cookie recipes is that they are really just… cookies. An oatmeal chocolate chip cookie batter with 1 tablespoon of flaxseed divided among 2 dozen cookies is really just a cookie. Breastfeeding hanger is REAL, so if you want a cookie, have a cookie!
But if we’re going to convince ourselves that it’s a beneficial cookie, don’t we want it to be overflowing with galactagogues? But inversely – we still want it to taste good, right? If it’s not enjoyable to eat, why bother?
After baking over two dozen test trials, I finally settled on what I’m declaring to be the BEST lactation cookies! It has less sugar than my typical oatmeal cookie recipe (but it’s still a cookie – definitely not a health food!).
I’ve packed it full with as much oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and flaxseed as possible without severely impacting flavor. And of course, I added a few chocolate chips because… obviously.
Lactation Cookie Recipe Ingredients
Most of the ingredients in here are what you’d find in normal chocolate chip cookies: butter, sugar, flour, eggs, etc.
Let’s talk about what makes these lactation cookies — and where to find some of these ingredients!
- Oats: Oats contain iron, which can help increase milk supply. Use old-fashioned rolled oats, not instant oatmeal.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed contains both omega-3 fatty acids and phytoestrogens which are thought to boost milk production. Flaxseed can be purchased as whole seeds or pre-ground; you can grind whole seeds yourself in a coffee grinder but I just buy the already ground flaxseed.
- Brewer’s yeast: Brewer’s yeast is one of the most widely known galactagogues, containing iron, zinc, complex B vitamins, and magnesium. Brewer’s yeast is not the same as baker’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast can be purchased at some health food stores, but I purchase mine directly from Amazon.
How to Make Lactation Cookies (VIDEO)
Really, it’s no different than making regular chocolate chip cookies.
And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is probably worth what, ten thousand?
So here’s a video to show you exactly how to make this oatmeal lactation cookie recipe!
How Many Lactation Cookies Should You Eat?
This is a common question I am asked a lot. The answer is that there is no real answer.
Lactation cookies are just that… cookies! It’s not a regulated FDA medication with a set dosage. Not every woman responds to galactagogues, and those who do respond differently. Women have different needs when it comes to increasing supply; some are looking to boost one or two ounces per day, while some are hoping to up by 10 ounces.
My advice is to start with one or two and see if it helps. I will say, however, that I had a friend eat a dozen all at once and then say she pumped 11 oz more than ever before the next day!
Other Ways to Make More Milk
Let’s start with: I am not a lactation consultant. But I do have lots of experience building my own supply, so I’ll share. I get a lot of questions on this post about non-cookie ways to make more milk.
- Nurse or pump often. Milk production is supply and demand based; the more you remove milk, the more milk your body thinks it needs to make.
- Fully drain your breast each time. Leaving a little milk behind gives your body the memo that it doesn’t need to make enough. If you’re pumping at work with a great supply, you can get away with a 15 minute pump session. But if you’re really looking to boost your supply, keep pumping. Pump for 5 minutes after the last trickle of milk. You may also find you get a second letdown if you keep going — I always pump for at least 30 minutes, and usually get a second letdown sometime after 20 minutes.
- Power pump a few times a week. Power pumping mimics a cluster feeding session. Pump for 10-20 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump another 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump another 10 minutes.
- Feed or pump in the wee hours of the morning. This one stinks, but your body produces the most milk in the middle of the night. I can pump 3x more milk at 4:30am than I can at noon, or 6pm, or midnight.
- Spend time with your baby! Skin to skin contact is really played up in the hospital, but the benefits extend well after you come home. Trying to boost your supply? Hold your baby as much as possible. Do skin to skin. If you’re pumping, pump while holding your baby.
Common Questions about Lactation Cookies
Absolutely! The chocolate chips just add flavor and can be substituted with chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or dried fruit (like cherries, cranberries, blueberries, or raisins).
These cookies freeze perfectly. Once cooled, transfer to a freezer-safe airtight bag andfreeze for up to 3 months.
No! Don’t worry, dads – there’s nothing harmful about eating these cookies if you’re not lactating, aside from having to tell your wife you ate all her cookies. Good thing you have this lactation cookie recipe now, so you can bake her more.
Looking for an allergy friendly lactation cookie made without dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, or gluten? Check out my Allergy Friendly (Vegan, Gluten-Free) Lactation Cookie recipe!
- 1 cup (226 grams) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (213 grams) brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/3 cup brewer’s yeast
- 2 tablespoons almond butter (substitute in peanut butter or leave out altogether)
- 3 cups (267 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Using a mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast. Add this to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined.
- Add the almond butter (optional) and oatmeal, mixing again until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Drop 1.5 tablespoons of dough onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown. Cookies will puff up a bit in the oven; if you prefer flatter cookies, press down on the top of each cookie with the underside of a spatula. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store cookies in an air-tight container for up to a week; cookies will keep frozen for up to 3 months.
- Brewer's yeast is not the same as baker's yeast! Brewer's yeast can be purchased at some health food stores or directly from Amazon.
- Lactation cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week or frozen in a an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Lactation cookies are not an FDA regulated food; there is no "serving size" or guideline for how many to eat. Start with 2 or 3 a day and see if it helps your supply!
- Remember - you're doing an awesome job!
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 9.4gCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4.5g
This recipe was originally posted on August 4, 2016 and republished with updated pictures and helpful tips on August 4, 2022.