Can Lactation Cookies Enhance Milk Production?

By: Dr. Nazeli Gevorgyan - Updated May 14, 2024 - 9 Minute Read

Lactation Cookies | The Milky Box

In the world of new motherhood, lactation cookies have become the talk of the town, promising to ease worries about low milk supply. But are these sweet treats backed by evidence, or is it all just a tempting tale?

In this article, we will be discussing lactation cookies, exploring the popular belief in their effectiveness and uncovering the scientific evidence behind their impact on milk supply.

Common Breastfeeding

The World Health Organization strongly advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life as the gold standard of infant nutrition. Afterward, complementary foods can be introduced while continuing to nurse for up to two years.

According to the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, the main reason for early breastfeeding cessation is the perception of insufficient milk, where mothers believe their milk doesn’t adequately satisfy or nourish the infant.

Around 60% of nursing parents in the US don’t reach their personal breastfeeding goals, and around 50% feel their milk is not enough to meet their infant’s nutritional requirements.

Dietary Hopes for Milk Supply 

Mothers concerned about their milk supply might turn to various methods such as consuming specific foods, drinks, and herbal galactagogues to boost milk production. However, both the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans don't recommend particular foods, beverages, or herbal supplements as there’s insufficient evidence regarding their safety and effectiveness in increasing milk production. 

Myths and Facts: Boosting Milk Supply with Lactation Cookies

The growing lactation products industry, including favorites like lactation cookies, often makes unverified claims supported by consumer testimonials about their benefits for lactation and maternal/infant health.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate the marketing of herbal products, and there is no mandatory requirement for research studies on their effects and safety. To ensure your well-being, it’s crucial to lean on evidence-based information. 

Independent Third-Party Testing

To ensure your well-being, it is always advisable to choose nutraceuticals with independent third-party testing for purity and potency. You can request copies of such testing, which is called certificates of analysis. If a company has not invested in such testing, choose a different company, so you have the assurance of its quality

What are the Common Ingredients in Lactation Cookies?

Lactation cookies are named for their ingredients (galactagogues) believed to increase breast milk production, such as oatmeal, flaxseed meal, fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, and blessed thistle extract. However, research on their effectiveness is limited.

Fenugreek is one of the most popular herbal galactagogues. The idea that fenugreek boosts milk production is mostly based on personal stories, and studies on its effectiveness have varied results. While fenugreek is considered safe in typical food amounts, uncertainties arise with larger doses. 

Potential side effects include allergic reactions, nausea for the mother, diarrhea for the baby, increased asthma symptoms, lower glucose levels for the mother, and a “maple syrup” smell in urine and sweat.

Do Lactation Cookies Work?

A recent study involving 176 women exclusively nursing 2-month-old infants compared lactation cookies with ingredients oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, flax seeds, and fenugreek (Oatmeal Raisin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites, Munchkin Inc.) to cookies matched for weight, calories, and presentation but without these substances. Participants consumed one bag of cookies daily for 30 days and used an electric pump to express breast milk at the study’s beginning and end. The results showed no significant difference between the two types of cookies. 

Do Lactation Cookies Make You Gain Weight?

Whether store-bought or homemade, lactation cookies tend to be high in calories and sugar. This may hinder postpartum weight loss without offering substantial nutritional benefits compared to other foods, especially considering the global obesity epidemic.  

How to Know if You Have Low Milk Supply

If you ever worry about a low milk supply, it’s essential to consider that concerns often arise without a need for alarm. Refer to our article to understand when not to worry about your milk supply.

Check these signs to assess the effectiveness of your milk supply:

❖ Mostly regular feeding schedule (at least 8 times in 24 hours)

❖ Baby gaining weight appropriately

❖ Six or more wet diapers daily

❖ Baby swallowing milk during feeds

❖ Softer, emptier breasts after nursing

However, if your baby faces weight gain issues or appears dehydrated, several factors may be affecting your milk supply. These include infrequent nursing, latch problems, early introduction of solid foods, medications, lack of sleep, alcohol, smoking, past breast surgery, or certain medical conditions. Seeking advice from a doctor is recommended. You don’t have to give up breastfeeding, as these issues often can be addressed.

Signs of low milk supply | The Milky Box

How to Increase Your Milk Supply

Breast milk production depends on regularly and effectively emptying the breast, whether through baby feeding, hand expressing, or pumping. The more milk is removed, the more your body produces, following a natural supply-and-demand system. Regularly and thoroughly emptying the breast is supported by evidence for better milk production.

To enhance milk supply, focus on these tips instead of relying on uncertain lactation cookies:

★ Embrace early skin-to-skin contact with your baby, if possible.

★ Feed on demand, follow your baby’s cues. Your body adjusts to your baby's requirements; increased feeding leads to higher milk production.

★ Relax and massage your breasts before feeding.

★ Ensure a good latch during nursing.

★ Offer both breasts at each feeding.

★ Empty your breasts after feeding with hand expression or pumping, signaling your body to produce more milk.

★ Minimize bottle use in the early weeks.

★ Prioritize self-care with sufficient sleep, proper nutrition, and hydration.

★ Manage stress, as it can impact milk flow.

★ Consult your healthcare provider for the necessity of formula or expressed milk.

Tips to increase breastmilk supply | The Milky Box

What Other Foods Should Breastfeeding Moms Eat?

When breastfeeding, it’s crucial to have a well-rounded and nutritious diet to meet the demands on your body. Include all five food groups — fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein — on your plate. 

 While incorporating “galactagogues” like whole grains, nuts, and legumes is beneficial, view them as part of an overall healthy diet rather than the primary focus for milk production. Aim for as much organic as possible and half your plate of fruits and vegetables. 

Preferably choose organic, ancient grains while minimizing wheat, as many people struggle to digest. Choose organic dairy only if you’re not sensitive to it, vary your protein sources, and limit caffeine, especially alcohol.

Hydration for Breastfeeding 

Medical experts recommend consuming at least ½ to ¾ of an ounce of water for every pound of your body weight when you are not breastfeeding. This water intake will ensure that you are well-hydrated enough to produce the right amount of breast milk and stay adequately hydrated for your overall health.

Moreover, keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day is crucial, especially when nursing. Breastfeeding mothers require an additional 32 ounces of water daily to support breast milk production. Additionally, if you live in a hot or humid climate or engage in physical activities, you should increase your water intake accordingly.

Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and can also positively impact the quality and quantity of breast milk production. So, drink plenty of water daily to keep yourself hydrated and healthy.

Optimal Nutrition | The Milky Box

Your Breastfeeding Journey

The Milky Box is a family-owned company, and we completely understand the challenges of breastfeeding. Please know that you are not alone in getting used to it, and every struggle and discomfort can teach you something new for the next time.

If you are facing any challenges with breastfeeding, know that we are here to assist you. Our support team is friendly, knowledgeable, and always available to provide expert guidance. 

Our team of medical professionals has created and reviewed articles specifically on breastfeeding, and we are confident that we can help you find the solutions you need.

For more breastfeeding support, please check out these incredible resources!

Melatonin for babies? Unbelievable Breastfeeding Facts

Comfortable Breastfeeding Positions for You and Your Baby

We also have resources that can direct your family to the best in European baby formulas that are specially created to mimic breastfeeding and can be used as a supplement or alternative when needed, giving you more choices and control over your feeding journey.

Clean Organic Nutrition | The Milky Box

Beyond the Hype of Lactation Cookies

Lactation cookies have no scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness in increasing lactation. Depending solely on them without professional guidance can be misleading and lead to unnecessary expenses during a vulnerable period.

Every parent's journey is unique, and The Milky Box is dedicated to providing personalized and reliable nutritional information and support for your family.


1. Palacios, A. M. et al. (2023) ‘Effectiveness of lactation cookies on human milk production rates: a randomized controlled trial’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 117(5), pp. 1035–1042. doi: 10.1016/J.AJCNUT.2023.03.010.

2. Ryan, R. A. et al. (2023) ‘Use of Galactagogues to Increase Milk Production Among Breastfeeding Mothers in the United States: A Descriptive Study’, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 123(9), pp. 1329–1339. doi: 10.1016/J.JAND.2023.05.019.

3. Nice, F. J. (2011) ‘Common Herbs and Foods Used as Galactogogues’, ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 3(3), pp. 129–132. doi: 10.1177/1941406411406118.

4. Bazzano, A. N. et al. (2016) ‘A Review of Herbal and Pharmaceutical Galactagogues for Breast-Feeding’, The Ochsner Journal, 16(4), p. 511.

5. Kent, J. C., Prime, D. K. and Garbin, C. P. (2012) ‘Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production’, Journal of obstetric, gynecologic, and neonatal nursing : JOGNN, 41(1), pp. 114–121. doi: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2011.01313.X.

6. Grzeskowiak, L. E. (2021) ‘No evidence that fenugreek is more effective than placebo as a galactagogue’, Phytotherapy Research, 35(4), pp. 1686–1687. doi: 10.1002/PTR.6914.

7. ‘Fenugreek’ (2023) Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Available at:

8. Breastfeeding Challenges | ACOG. Available at:

9. Can Certain Foods Increase Milk Supply? Available at:

10. Exclusive breastfeeding for optimal growth, development and health of infants. Available at:


Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.

Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.

Nazeli Gevorgyan is a medical doctor from Armenia, and is a researcher in the fields of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others. Dr. Nazeli is passionate with providing women and parents with reliable and high-quality information on healthy options for infant nutrition, breastfeeding, infant formula, and food. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, and pottery. 

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Reviewed by Dr. Eric Wood, ND, MA

Dr. Wood is a licensed naturopathic doctor, with a doctorate degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada. He received his post-graduation certification in Mind Body Medicine at Harvard University.

With 15 years of experience, Dr. Wood is an Associate Professor of Holistic Nutrition at the American College of Health Sciences in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Wood is an educator, clinician, author, media figure, consultant, and owns his own holistic (naturopathic) medical practice in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Wood is currently researching and drafting books on cancer and pediatrics.

Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Wood loves singing with the Miami Lyric Opera and is an avid musician in South Florida. He also loves spending time with his wife and kids.