While they are delicious, lactation cookies are primarily made to help breastfeeding mothers maintain or boost their milk production.
Considering this primary function, you might be wondering if anyone can eat lactation cookies.
Can anyone eat lactation cookies?
Anyone can eat lactation cookies. The ingredients used in making lactation cookies are common ingredients. None of them can initiate lactation in someone who ordinarily does not produce milk.
Lactation cookies basically offer vitamins that can help the body heighten its existent ability to produce milk.
You probably have many more questions about eating lactation cookies. Well, we cover most of the questions you might have in the rest of this article.
Anyone can eat lactation cookies, notwithstanding their gender. The primary ingredients used in making lactation cookies are some of the usual ingredients used in baking.
The ingredients are regular food items – not some unique substance that can trigger milk production in just anyone. So, they are just as safe as the usual cookies – barring any allergies.
Lactation cookies can be pretty delicious. So, it isn’t surprising that men and kids sometimes want to partake. But beyond being delicious, lactation cookies are also nutritious. The primary ingredients, alongside the others, offer vitamins and minerals that can help anyone – breastfeeding mother or not.
Some of the primary ingredients used in lactation cookies include flaxseed, brewer’s yeast, oats, wheat germ, and linseed meal.
These ingredients may also be called galactagogues – meaning a food item or drug that promotes mother’s milk production.
How Do Lactation Cookies Work?
The exact way individual food-based galactagogues work is not really known. However, it is thought that food galactagogues work by promoting prolactin levels in a breastfeeding mother.
Basically, all galactagogues are thought to help augment prolactin levels in some way.
Prolactin is the hormone responsible for breast development and milk production in women. It is present in both males and females.
But the male breast is not as developed as the female breast, and prolactin levels do not surge as in breastfeeding mothers. Hence, in males, it does not cause milk production under normal circumstances.
When Can I Start Eating Lactation Cookies?
Going by what we have said so far, you can eat lactation cookies at any time. However, if you are trying to eat them to boost your lactation, you may start in the weeks before you give birth.
Thankfully, the ingredients used in lactation cookies are safe in pregnancy. So, you should have no problem eating the cookies.
Prolactin levels are typically highest at night and early in the morning. So, if you find you don’t produce enough milk during the day, you may eat lactation cookies in the morning. By or before afternoon, they should have digested and started taking effect.
On average, it takes about 1-2 days for food-based galactagogues like brewer’s yeast and fenugreek to affect milk production. So, you may not see changes on the first day. But with regular consumption, the effect of the cookies should be sustained.
Ordinarily, your body will start to produce milk at maximum levels around 3 days postpartum. If your body produces as much milk as it should early enough, you do not have to stimulate milk production. Of course, you may still eat lactation cookies as a delicacy.
When you are not eating lactation cookies to stimulate milk production, you may just snack on them when you struggle to find time to eat during the day. This removes the stress of planning a meal while giving you a somewhat balanced snack.
If you are having lactation issues or are worried, reach out to a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants should be able to offer you professional assistance on various lactation issues.
How Many Lactation Cookies Should I Eat?
There is no standard dose for lactation cookies. Everyone uses different sets of ingredients in different quantities. So, there is no universal guide on how many cookies breastfeeding mothers can eat.
Nonetheless, some sources recommend consuming 2 cookies per day then increasing or decreasing as necessary. But then, people bake their cookies in various sizes, so saying 2 cookies is not an all-inclusive recommendation.
Some studies recommend 2 ounces of cookies per day. But while this is more inclusive, it still does not do justice to the possible variations in ingredients.
Going by all we have said above, you may have to determine how many lactation cookies to eat on your own. Just start with 1 or 2 cookies and adjust the quantity you eat, depending on your response to them.
In all of this, try not to eat lactation cookies excessively, or you may end up bloated. Also, do not stress too much about the number of cookies to eat. Stress can contribute to reduced milk production.
Be aware that lactation cookies alone cannot increase your milk production. For one, if you are not removing milk as the breast produces it, the cookies may not work as they should.
Other Health Benefits of Lactation Cookies
To understand the other health benefits of lactation cookies, we shall discuss the ingredients typically used in making them.
Besides the possibility of stimulating milk production, brewer’s yeast contains various nutrients. Some of them include chromium, selenium, and B-vitamins (except B12).
Chromium and selenium are antioxidants; they can help with stress and baby blues. The B-vitamins can help with metabolism, energy production, and nerve functions.
Besides possibly helping with lactation, oats have decent levels of dietary fiber. So, it can aid digestion, prevent irritable bowel syndrome, and prevent spikes in blood sugar level.
Oats also contain omega-3, which can aid the mother’s recovery and the baby’s development. Oats also provide magnesium, which promotes metabolism and energy production alongside other vitamins.
Wheat germ offers zinc, which promotes the functions of the immune system and protects cracked nipples. It may also help with postpartum depression.
Flaxseed is a decent source of omega-3, which can promote the development of the baby’s brain. But besides omega-3, flaxseed offers dietary fiber, vitamin E, B-vitamins, potassium, calcium, and iron.
The dietary fiber can help promote digestion function and prevent surges in blood sugar levels. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps the immune system, and B-vitamins support metabolism, nerve function, and energy production.
Potassium is essential for fluid-electrolyte balance, while calcium can help the baby grow strong teeth and bones. Iron can help in blood production.
Possible Side Effects of Lactation Cookies
Lactation cookies are not perfect. In some cases, they can cause some unpleasant effects. But the good news is, those effects are not too worrying.
Some of the effects of lactation cookies include the following:
- Lactation cookies can make you gassy and bloated. This is highly possible if you cannot tolerate ingredients like brewer’s yeast and wheat germ. Also, if you consume too many in the beginning, you may experience these effects.
- If you get hooked on the deliciousness of lactation cookies and start consuming too many, you may gain weight. As small as they might be, lactation cookies are chock-full of calories. If you are not burning as many calories as you consume through them, you may gain weight.
- Brewer’s yeast may also trigger diarrhea or constipation in some women.
- Lactation cookies may also cause headaches or dizziness. This effect is typically traceable to brewer’s yeast.
Note that the side effects listed above do not happen to everyone. In fact, most people will not experience them. However, you can adjust the ingredients if you experience these side effects after consuming lactation cookies in limited quantities.
Ingredients like brewer’s yeast and wheat germ are indicated for many of the side effects. So, you may try replacing them with alternatives and see if you get better.
Anyone can eat lactation cookies; the ingredients used in making them are pretty much in the same class as regular food items. So, they are basically like usual cookies, and they may only be risky in cases of allergy.
Also, under normal circumstances, lactation cookies will not stimulate milk production in men, children, and non-breastfeeding women.