Just slightly over a year ago, my cute little niece was born and my sister and her husband were preparing to leave the hospital and head for home as a new family.  As they were leaving, my sister tore a page out of her discharge packet and handed it to me.  “Here,” she said, “I think you’ll find this interesting.”  What she gave me was a recipe for Lactation Cookies.  WHAT kind of cookies?  I thought I had seen it all–apparently not!  But I was instantly intrigued, I had to make these.  I set out to find the recipe’s ingredients.

What are lactation cookies?  They are cookies claiming to “help” a nursing mother’s milk supply through the addition of  certain nutrients, namely a supplement called Brewer’s Yeast.  Here’s what I have learned about Brewer’s Yeast and these cookies:

  • Brewer’s Yeast is just that–the type of yeast used in brewing beer.  It is also a great source of B vitamins, which is notoriously lacking in the typical American diet.  Even though in most cases, the nutritional content of breast milk is not affected by a mother’s diet, such is not the case with B vitamins.  Adding Brewer’s Yeast to these cookies are a yummy way to sneak the nutrients into your diet.  Other foods high in B vitamins are beef, pork, tuna, chicken, milk, eggs, whole grains, beans, peanuts, bananas and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • B vitamins provide the body with energy, support the nervous system, and maintain the health of your skin, hair, eyes, mouth and liver.
  • Other important ingredients in these cookies are oats (providing you the healthy calories you need while breastfeeding), and flax seed (rich in omega-3).
  • For a great explanation of these cookies, their ingredients, and the science and lore behind them, check out this post at Peaceful Parenting.

I had some trouble tracking down the recipe’s ingredients, but they are widely available if you know where to look.  I found the Brewer’s Yeast at GNC, and the flax seed at Trader Joe’s.  I’ve since found that Ocean State Job Lot has an amazing selection of Bob’s Red Mill products at great prices.  I’d recommend trying there!

Despite my skepticism about these ingredients, the cookies ended up being a very tasty alternative to a regular chocolate chip cookie.  I imagine you could serve them to your family if you are looking for a healthy sweet treat, but definitely make them for a breastfeeding Momma!

Lactation Cookies

(originally from epicurious, via Saint Francis Hospital)

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp flaxseed meal (no substitutions)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 cups thick cut oats

1 cup chocolate chips

2 Tbsp Brewer’s Yeast (no substitutions)


Mix 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal and water, set aside 3-5 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs.

Stir soaked flaxseed meal into butter mix and add vanilla.

Beat until well blended.

Sift dry ingredients, except oats and chocolate chips.  Add to butter mix.

Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Drop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 8-12 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

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