I don't know exactly when I knew I was ready to have a child. Chad and I, even before we were engaged, knew we wanted one some day - talking about baby names on our nightly walks...
But when I found out I was pregnant, it was not all peachy all the time and I honestly felt very scared at first. Although we wanted kids, suddenly I felt that I was giving up myself and would never be the same (as dramatic as that sounds). Healthy foods I always ate suddenly turned me sick and I didn't recognize my body anymore as clothes became tighter. I also felt so selfish when I started to feel bad for myself that I couldn't run a fast 8 miles in the park or sweat through a long morning workout. I had vowed never to be that pregnant person who complained about not being able to do things for 9 months, but suddenly I understood what those moms were talking about! And I realized it's a normal feeling for many, including me.
But as the pregnancy continued, all those emotions were overpowered by love for the little one that later began kicking inside me. Nothing else in the world mattered, except for getting her out healthy. She was all I could think about. And those sad feelings I had, though normal, seemed so petty and insignificant.
About a week or two before she was here, I made these lactation cookies and placed them in the back of my freezer. It was an exciting but nervous feeling to know that when I would first bite into one I would be nursing our little girl. Breastfeeding was one of those things that I knew I wanted to do, but I never really thought about until after I became pregnant. All of a sudden a few months ago, all I read about was how beneficial yet hard breastfeeding was. I suddenly became so nervous that it wouldn't work out for me... and I realized I knew nothing about how to start. In the last month of my pregnancy I started listening to breastfeeding podcasts on my morning walks. I don't know if that helped but it at least calmed my nerves!
I also began reading about lactation cookies and energy bites to increase milk supply. It's really just the addition of brewer's yeast (and ingredients like oats, coconut oil & flaxseed) that make them great for breastfeeding moms. Brewer's yeast is a highly nutritious dietary supplement that contains things like protein, iron, B vitamins and many breastfeeding moms use it to boost their milk supply and increase energy levels and mood.
That's also when I came across these cookies on How Sweet It Is and I had to try them. Back in law school, Jessica's blog was actually the first blog I started to follow, reading her posts daily. So I knew these would be good if she said they were "GOOD." And she was right!
I had these cookies in the freezer ready and waiting. On a Thursday afternoon when we came home from the hospital hungry and tired, I sat on my bed and ate 3 cookies right then. And I've pretty much been enjoying them as well as lactation energy bites (will share a recipe sometime soon!) ever since. I can't tell you if these have helped my milk supply, but I haven't had supply problems yet, so I'll just say they have. :)
Below is Jessica's recipe with my adaptions. I used whole wheat pastry flour and cut down the sugar, as well as substituted coconut sugar for the other half. And I loaded it with dark chocolate!
Now, there are many other foods you can also eat if you are breastfeeding like spinach and almonds... but if you can also have a cookie, I'm all for it!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Lactation Cookies
Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
- 5-6 tablespoons brewers yeast
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or you can just do 1 cup sugar)
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks
- Jessica's tip: feel free to add unsweetened flaked coconut, chopped almonds, 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugars and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed. Stir in the chocolate until they are evenly dispersed.
- Scoop the dough with cookie scoop (Jessica uses an ice cream scoop for larger cookies!) and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.
- I stored these in the freezer so you can always have them on hand! Just thaw for a few minutes or pop in microwave before enjoying. :)