Who doesn’t love a good cookie, especially when your doula is recommending it! These hefty biscuits are loaded with nutrients to provide you with the extra calories you’ll need as a postpartum breastfeeding mama. But here’s a little secret... you do not have to birth a baby to enjoy them! So now that the entire family can partake in the pleasure, let's get baking.
How do food choices support milk production?
Certain foods have been touted as galactagogues, whereby consuming them may increase your milk supply. Go nature! Do you even need a galactagogue's assistance though? More commonly than not, your baby is in fact getting everything she needs, because that's how this intrinsic process is designed. For hundreds of thousands of years homo sapiens have been breastfeeding without supplements, medications, galactagogues, or nursing gadgets. So please... I urge you to trust your body's capability and regard this recipe as tasty, supportive food, rather than one more intervention or bandaid solution. If you do feel your milk supply is in fact low, I recommend consulting with a well-versed, breastfeeding-friendly, lactation professional.
The postpartum period is a restorative time, and it's important to be consuming nutrient-rich foods. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." If a woman is fuelling herself with the building blocks her body requires, then one of the many aspects of milk production will be in place, to assist with successful breastfeeding.
Let's review some of the ingredients...
When a nursing mama has low iron or maternal anemia, her milk supply can suffer. Why not replenish iron stores with foods that won't irritate the stomach lining? Nuts and seeds are great sources of iron, protein, fiber, calcium, and magnesium, along with B vitamins, and trace minerals. This recipe includes key players such as almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds and hemp hearts. Brazil nuts are also wonderfully high in selenium, which is required for healthy thyroid function.
Avena sativa, commonly known as oats, are a nerve restorative which can help relax the brain and nervous system, all the while aiding in the let-down reflex. Oats also contain plenty of iron, protein, fiber and magnesium. Brewer's yeast contains iron, protein, trace minerals, and B vitamins, however it won't potentially negatively impact your milk ejection reflex, the way that alcohol can.
Please note: this recipe is flexible and forgiving. You may substitute ingredients as you see fit, or simply use the following as a template for your own creative baking venture. Also, I will always do my best to pass on more than meets the eye, so I've included additional links within this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I find it's easiest to do so by hand, to ensure all dry goods are properly coated. (I don't bother mixing wet and dry ingredients separately prior to combining, however you may do so if you wish.) Roll a heaped tablespoon of the mixture between your palms. Gently press onto a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper, then bake for 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to sit roughly 5 minutes, prior to transferring them onto a cooling rack. This recipe yields approximately 2 +1/2 dozen cookies. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. Enjoy!
Angela Esplin is a labour and postpartum doula, as well as placenta encapsulator with Full Circle Birth Collective. She has been serving families since 2000, and has recently transitioned back home to Mission, BC.
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