If you think being a parent is a strange new world, think again. It’s even stranger as a lactating mother.
I went into Motherhood pretty cold because I refused to go down the rabbit hole. I didn’t want to scare myself. Those who know me will know that anything I put my mind to I go in with deep abandon.
Breast feeding, is a wonderful experience and for most part, it is what they say – a great way to bond with your newborn. The chemical release of oxytocin floods through you – and for me, my tear ducts always flow.
Then there’s the byproduct of the process – the glorious breast milk. Filled with it’s own cocktail of nutrients that miraculously changes as your infant grows. A mixture of vitamins, anti-bodies, fats, I think it’s a super food!
With Ciaran, my first born, I only managed up to 6 months. The stress at work at my previous company got the better of me and a first-time mum navigating the feelings and emotions of such a role that is motherhood — I had so many unrealistic expectations.
That was when I first encountered this delicious word – galactagogue.
To this day i find it hard not to chuckle. My first thought was Galactica Monologues? What fantastical thing could this be?
It originated from the Greek word “galacta,” meaning milk.
Galactagogues help you with your breast milk. And apparently it’s a whole list of foods that ‘triggers’ or encourages your glorious pair of boobies to continue feeding your precious child.
Fatty foods and a whole lot of herbs make the bulk of the list. From nuts to seeds, to garlic and fenugreek, it’s an interesting make up.
Then there’s oats. Oats is the most popular one – as it’s the most commonly found ingredient and easily available. Oh and you can keep it for long.
Having nursed my second child Eoin for the past 8 months, I was feeling rather good. But my supply has dipped of late.
And I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure I catch up on my galactagogues. Lactation cookies were my immediate choice as I do love my oats. But I prefer not to call them lactation cookies because they are really just souped up oatmeal cookies that are ultra nutritious (and really shouldn’t be limited to lactating mothers).
Brewer’s yeast and flaxseeds, almond butter is the brilliant trigger. And chopped chocolate chunks make them irresistible to other non-lactating humans. My son and husband enjoys them just as much as I do.
It has been a week since and my supply has been steadily increasing. Try making these for yourself if you find yourself requiring some assistance (or even just an excuse to eat a cookie in the name of health). Brewer’s Yeast, a common key ingredient in lactation cookies is a rich source of B-complex vitamins, protein, and minerals, including a biologically active form of chromium. It is also said to be effective at supporting the nervous system and enhancing the immune system.
- 227g butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 1 tbsp barley malt* (optional)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups 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 rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill Thick Cut is my favourite)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate chunks
*Note: Barely malt is an excellent sweetener for baking and especially helpful for lactating mothers. It is barley grain that has been allowed to germinate. When this happens, the barley turns into a sweet syrupy malt that also contains a lot of beta-glucan (a prolactin stimulant, what lactating mothers need).
- Preheat oven to 175 °C. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Using a mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and barley malt 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, ground flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast. Add this to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined.
- Add the almond butter and oats, mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks
- Drop 1.5 tablespoons of dough onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake s20-30 minute, 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 a fork.
- Let 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. Cookie dough can be made in advance and kept in the freezer 6-12 months (make sure it’s tightly sealed).