Pumping has always been a problem for me. Even when my kids were gaining plenty of weight, I couldn’t get a great output when I sat down to pump. With my second daughter, I would often pump less than an ounce over the course of twenty minutes, which forced me to supplement with formula frequently when I was at work. Even though I work from home now, I still rely on childcare once or twice a week so that I can work without interruptions or keep up with errands and appointments that are hard to do with three kids. So, when my son hit 5 weeks old, I started trying to pump once a day to put away milk in my freezer based on tons of hacks for making more milk, including making DIY lactation cookies to increase milk supply, breastfeeding more often, eating oats, and staying hydrated.
But, to be honest, I've been less than happy with what I can pump this time around. My son is quickly getting chunky, but it's often hard for me to get enough milk when I use the pump to express milk. I have been looking for ways to increase my milk supply and found recipes online for DIY lactation cookies. So I decided I'd give them a try, hoping to amp up my milk output just a bit.
The Experiment: 3 DIY Lactation-Cookie Recipes
I decided to try three different recipes over the course of a few weeks to see if one had a bigger effect on my milk than the others. I wanted to make note of how much effort they took to make, mainly because moms are busy and we don’t always have time to throw together a batch of cookies each week. Lastly, I wanted to judge them on taste. Let’s face it, if I am going to be eating cookies everyday, I want them to taste really great. Here’s what I found out.
Recipe #1: Easy Betty Crocker Lactation Cookies
The first cookies I threw together I chose because they seemed easy make. All the recipe involved was preparing a batch of Betty Crocker Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies and adding two tablespoons of flax meal and three tablespoons of Brewer’s yeast (which is believed to help increase breast milk supply).
The cookies were super easy to make, taking just five minutes to throw together and then roughly 10 minutes to bake in the oven. But besides that perk, I was unimpressed. I ate three cookies each day for five days and pumped in the afternoons. Even with all that work, I still didn’t notice any change in my milk output. I also kind of hated the taste of the cookies. Maybe it’s the food snob in me, but I could definitely tell these cookies were made from a mix.
Recipe #2: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
The next week, I went all out and made from-scratch chocolate chip lactation cookies using a recipe from Food.com. They took a little extra effort since I wasn’t using a mix, but it really wasn’t very time consuming. It took me 20 minutes to throw together the cookie dough and another 20 minutes to get all three batches baked in the oven.
Like before, I ate three cookies a day and pumped in the afternoons for five days. I noticed my milk increase by a quarter of an ounce to half an ounce depending on the day. I'd previously been pumping 2.5 ounces a day, but I was thrilled to be able to pump nearly 3 ounces every day that week.
The cookies tasted great. I would have preferred them without the flax meal or the Brewer’s yeast, but then they wouldn’t have done their job of increasing my milk supply, since those are known galactagogues, a substance that increases milk supply, according to KellyMom.com. But even though I really liked this cookies, I don’t think I'd be able to make the time to make these cookies from scratch each week. I considered making a double batch and putting the second half in the freezer so I only had to bake twice a month, but I'm not totally sure that I could keep up with that routine. (Or, honestly, that I'd remember they were there.) Another complaint I had about these cookies was that they had two cups of sugar in every batch. I don’t mind eating sweets as a treat, but if I was going to be eating three a day, I would've preferred them to have less sugar.
Recipe #3: No-Bake Lactation Energy Balls
By the time I finished up my homemade lactation cookies, I was looking for a recipe that could be made without a mix but that also wouldn’t require so much of my time. And after the sugar surplus, I was hoping for a recipe that might be healthier for me. After some searching online, I found a recipe for no-bake lactation energy balls that seemed easy enough to throw together. They were made from peanut butter and sweetened with honey, so I felt better about eating a few of them every afternoon. It took me 10 minutes to mix the ingredients and roll the balls.
I’m so tired of the taste of Brewer’s yeast and flax meal that I don’t think I’ll baking another batch anytime soon.
I didn’t notice an increase in my milk production when I pumped each day, but I did maintain my half ounce increase from the previous week when I was eating the from-scratch cookies. I'd say they probably did what they were meant to do and that I may have noticed an increase in my supply if I hadn’t already been eating so many lactation cookies. Overall, they tasted fine. I liked the peanut-butter flavor but I wasn’t a big fan of the uncooked rolled oats. These were definitely the most convenient cookies to make, so I'd probably be willing to sacrifice flavor for the ease of throwing them together each week.
Was I A Lactation-Cookie Convert?
I didn’t think it was possible, but by the time I finished up the last of the lactation cookies, I was tired of eating cookies. I’m so tired of the taste of Brewer’s yeast and flax meal that I don’t think I’ll baking another batch anytime soon. In the future, I might not rely on cookies so much unless I am really desperate to increase my supply. I'd rather pump more frequently than feel like I had to eat something I wasn’t enjoying.