Thursday, December 14, 2017

Santa Makes Frequent Stops to Pump after Consuming Cookies

There are a lot of trends and promises of "quick fixes" when it comes to breastfeeding and milk supply. Most of these "remedies" have absolutely no research to back them up, but (as with all good myths) there is some truth that has made them seem logical or even probable. Take lactation cookies for instance, the ingredients used in creating them have been promoted as galactagogues for years. Galactagogues are medications, herbs or foods that MAY help increase a woman's milk supply.

Some popular galactagogues include Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle and Fennel. It is important to note that recommendation of a galactagogue should only be made by a Lactation Consultant or Medical Professional.  A list of galactagogues and their effects can be found here.

The main frustration many lactation professionals have with the lactation cookie trend is the simplistic solution to low milk supply it offers. Most women can produce enough milk for their baby if they have a good latch, feed frequently and experience milk transfer during the feeding. The most effective way to increase milk supply is by removing milk from the breast regularly. Unfortunately, most moms will still have concerns about supply. Some of the expensive remedies prey on these concerns.

Supply can drop with the return of a menstrual cycle, if a person experiences extreme stress and with some forms of birth control. Not all low supply is merely perceived. When a breastfeeding woman is concerned about her supply, she needs to be evaluated by an IBCLC.

A mom may also receive reassurance from noticing the following:

  • Baby has 8-10 wet diapers every 24 hours
  • Mom's breasts feel lighter after a feeding
  • Baby is eating 10-12 times every 24 hours
  • Baby gains 4-7 oz weekly
  • Baby is satisfied after nursing
  • Baby is alert when awake
  • Baby has good skin color and diapers are yellow and seedy
  • Mom can see and hear baby swallowing

There is good news for the entrepreneurs that have baked their way into the homes and hearts of families as well as those who consume the confectioneries. We already discussed how stress can affect milk supply and if sitting down and enjoying a warm oatmeal cookie relieves stress, it may help to combat the issue. Oatmeal is also a great source of iron. Anemia (low iron) can result in lower milk supply. Lastly, when we are enjoying our food, we release more oxytocin, a hormone associated with the "let-down."

We cannot ignore the placebo affect. Many moms feel like the cookies help, therefore, they do. Our minds are very convincing to our bodies.

Although there is no scientific evidence that consuming cookies boosts milk supply, there are many anecdotal findings. This is perhaps the most effective advertising boosting the sales of edibles.

So please, if you want a cookies, have a cookie, but if you are experiencing low supply see a Lactation Consultant. In fact, why not sit down and share a plate of cookies over a conversation and consultation.

Looking for a good recipe? Try this one this holiday season, and maybe deliver a plate to your neighbors.

Happy Holidays and Lavishing Lactation from Birthing, Bonding and Breastfeeding.


  1. Hurrah...I have been annoyed for years about the claims made by the cookie purveyors.

  2. Hi,
    yes this definitely didn't work for me. I tried a lot but I supplemented my breast feeding with organic formula. Because of the health condition of my baby we decided to use the organic goat milk formula from . It was a big relief once we did find this formula and a solution that works for all of us.
    Thank you for the advice to see a lactation consultant, if I ever have problems again I'll definitely go for this advice!

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