While breastfeeding is a normal part of being a mother, many mothers look at different ways to increase their milk supply. Being able to produce more milk means that you won’t have to worry about your baby’s milk demand. While there are certain practices you can follow to increase your milk supply, you can also look into food items that can ultimately increase your supply. One of the most popular options is lactation cookies. However, some mothers are curious: how long does it take for lactation cookies to work?
Ultimately, you should notice the effects of lactation cookies within 1-2 days. Most lactation cookies work by containing galactagogue ingredients. These are active ingredients that are believed to increase milk supply through a variety of mechanisms. One possible mechanism is by inhibiting hormones that counteract milk production.
This article will primarily talk about lactation cookies and answer how long does it take for lactation cookies to work.
What are Lactation Cookies?
When it comes to increasing breastmilk supply, there are certain food items known to be beneficial. These food items are called galactagogues. Just like how there are food items that have a specific effect on the body, galactagogues are known to increase a person’s milk supply.
It is believed that galactagogues work by increasing prolactin levels in the body. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for enlarging the breasts and stimulating milk production during pregnancy as well as after birth. Certain galactagogues function as dopamine antagonists as they counteract the inhibitory influence of dopamine on prolactin secretion.
While there are many people and anecdotes reporting the success of both supplemental and pharmaceutical galactagogues, research is currently ongoing to determine the effectiveness of these substances on milk production.
There are plenty of food items that are said to be galactagogues. These include oatmeal, alfalfa, kale, spinach, broccoli, fenugreek, fennel, garlic, ginger, papaya, and chickpeas. Nuts and seeds such as almonds are also considered to have galactagogue properties, as well as spices such as cumin, anise, and turmeric.
As a way to deal with insufficient milk production, different cultures have prepared tinctures and teas with these galactagogues. However, another way to prepare galactagogues is by making them into lactation cookies. Simply put, lactation cookies are cookies made with galactagogues as well as vitamins and nutrients. Common ingredients used in lactation cookies can include oats, flaxseed, fenugreek, and such.
Aside from galactagogues, lactation cookies are also added with a lot of calories to help replenish the calories lost from breastfeeding. These special cookies can also be added with vitamins and minerals that are known to be highly beneficial to mothers. One example is the addition of brewer’s yeast as an excellent source of B vitamins.
The Need for Lactation Cookies
There are several reasons why mothers would be interested in lactation cookies or in galactagogues in general.
Firstly, there are some mothers who naturally have a low milk supply. This could be due to a variety of reasons. For example, a low milk supply can be due to breastfeeding practices. Mothers who wait too long to start breastfeeding or mothers who don’t breastfeed enough can find themselves having a low milk supply.
There are also certain medications that might be interfering with your ability to produce milk. These can include antihistamines, estrogen-containing birth control pills, pseudoephedrine-containing decongestants, and even certain fertility drugs.
Additionally, other factors can also include obesity, premature birth, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
Do Lactation Cookies Work?
While studies showing clinical evidence are limited, there have been several review articles on galactagogues. Although mostly anecdotal in nature, these reviews have collected information from numerous respondents giving the use of galactagogues positive feedback.
For example, a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reported the results from interviewing 20 breastfeeding women who have used herbal galactagogues. These were women who either thought they had a low milk supply or were told by their primary health practitioner that they had a low milk supply.
Since the women were not formally monitored, there was no data to show whether the galactagogues worked. However, the interviews did ask whether they perceived their treatments to have an effect on their milk production. Of the 20 women, 16 were confident that they were able to observe a positive effect due to the galactagogues. The remaining 4 were unsure as they were practicing other approaches for increasing milk supply at the time.
While studies regarding the effectiveness of galactagogues are still lacking, additional studies will surely be supplemented as these galactagogues are increasingly sought after and demanded. A 2017 cross-sectional study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health reported that out of 188 breastfeeding mothers, most of them have learned about galactagogues.
How Long Does It Take for Lactation Cookies to Work?
Once you’ve started consuming lactation cookies, it shouldn’t take too long before you begin to notice its effects. According to most reports, you should be able to notice the lactation cookies working within 1-2 days.
It might be different for you since everyone is different, but you should be able to notice the effects of lactation cookies around that time. It might also depend on how many lactation cookies you’re eating. Some recommend having 2-3 a day.
Since lactation cookies and galactagogues are still relatively understudied, the specific mechanisms by which some ingredients work are still yet unknown. However, if the mechanisms do indeed affect hormone interactions, then the length of time for lactation cookies to work should be associated with an individual’s own metabolic rate. While people with faster metabolisms should see lactation cookies work faster, people with slower metabolisms might have to wait a little longer before seeing the effects of lactation cookies.
If you are wondering how long you should continue to consume lactation cookies, it seems like you can take lactation cookies as long as you’re nursing.
Are Lactation Cookies Safe?
There have been reports of some side effects associated with lactation cookies. However, this is primarily due to the specific ingredients used.
For example, lactation cookies prepared with brewer’s yeast can potentially cause side effects including bloating, gas, or even headaches.
On the other hand, fenugreek (another highly common ingredient in lactation cookies) can cause loose stools in mothers.
Thus, it is always important to check the ingredients of the food you eat as the individual ingredients can potentially cause certain side effects.