Video Blog ep4: Breastfeeding Q&A and Grain-Free Lactation Cookies

I realize quite a few of our readers don’t have a need for this post, but it’s one of our most frequented question topics and worth discussing.  As a reminder, I have entirely breastfed all three of our boys – but Wesley is by far the most healthy.  I’ve successfully pumped milk for one year with them all, and delayed solids until they each were ready (varying times). If that’s something you’d like to give a try, then this post is for you!

In the below video I do a demonstration (this IS work safe) on how to hold and latch your newborn for breastfeeding, tips for success and common issues I see and hear as an involved LLL member. Additionally, I answer quite a few reader submitted questions (holy hot topic, Batman).  There is a summary of the discussion items at the end of this post.

One of the things I mention is lactation cookies. No, these are not made with breast milk – rather, they are made with ingredients to help promote an increase in mother’s milk supply. As a long-standing LLL member, for years I’d referenced an oatmeal-based high sugar lactation cookie to dozens of women in desire of increasing their milk supply However, I’m certainly not comfortable recommending that now! Without an easy go-to recipe, I decided to take it upon myself to do a little bit of research on which herbs and foods assist with the increase of milk production in nursing mothers and give making my own recipe a try.

With confidence I can say that these Omega 3 rich cookies are both delicious and nutritious (as far as cookies go).  These pack a protein punch without a huge surge of sugar.  And their flavor is so amazing even Dad will love them.  But it’s you that needs an extra 300-800 calories a day if you’re a nursing mother, so use that as justification to eat cookies at any time of the day while drinking mother’s milk tea and relaxing (as best you can).  And don’t forget to nap skin to skin with your baby!

I’m gonna be honest.  I taste tested more than a few of these.  They’re good. Really good.  I plan on making a batch to bring to the  mother of every new baby in my life.  And maybe a few strangers.  Because, these cookies deserve to be eaten. Even Matt ate them… his response was, “We need to cook with anise more often!”

Paleo Lactation Cookie Recipe
Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Peanut-Free (contains tree nuts)


  • 1/2 C coconut oil, liquified*
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp anise seed, ground (we used a coffee grinder on whole seeds)
  • 2 C almond flour
  • 1/2 C flax meal (we used a coffee grinder on flax seeds)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 C dates, chopped
  • 1 C dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • Optional: 2 tsp Fenugreek ground or powder from capsules**


  1. Whisk together syrup and oil
  2. Add eggs and whisk in one at a time
  3. Add anise and vanilla (as well as fenugreek if using)
  4. In separate bowl, combine flour, flax, and baking soda
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet as you beat or mix to combine
  6. Fold in nuts, chocolate and dates
  7. Spoon one tablespoon of batter onto greased or lined cookie sheet
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes until top just starts to brown

Makes a whopping 36 cookies – but they freeze well if you don’t need that many

*The original recipe called for flax oil but with concern over oxidation leading to toxicity in the oil, we’ve revised it to liquified coconut oil.
*Please note, Fenugreek is an derived from the same family as peanuts and chick peas – therefore, it’s not technically Paleo.  However, if you are having extreme issues with your milk supply I would recommend it above Brewer’s Yeast or Oats, which are not gluten-free.  My recommendation would be to try these cookies (you need extra calories while nursing, go ahead and eat them!) while drinking Mother’s Milk and Red Raspberry tea as often as you possibly can (3-4 cups of each per day is what I would drink) and see if that helps before trying Fenugreek.

And as promised, Episode 4 of our video blog series: Breastfeeding Q&A with Stacy.  I hope these videos are helpful for new mothers; I’ve tried to address the practical, real questions we get at our monthly meetings and on the breastfeeding boards I am a member of as well as the plethora of comments and e-mails I received when I mentioned working on this post.  I wish I would have had these videos to learn what to expect and how to get ahead of typical problems with just a short 15 minute investment before the birth of my first child.

In this video (Part 1) I talk about being comfortable with nursing and how to physically do it with a newborn (discussion of some holds, demonstration – all work safe!).

In this video (Part 2) I answer submitted questions and common concerns I’ve encountered over the years.  Here’s are the topics discussed:

  • My doctor says my baby isn’t gaining weight and he/she wants me to supplement
  • Pumping tips
  • How much should baby be drinking while you’re gone
  • How to get your milk supply up
  • How to manage being a mother that nurses at home but is away during the day
  • Ack, my milk is stinky after I freeze it! (likely lipase breakdown occurs in freezing process)
  • Ack, my baby had a bottle in the hospital and won’t latch now!
  • How to set your breastfed baby up for bottle feeding success
  • Toxins in breast milk while losing weight
  • The weaning process (starting solids, baby-led weaning)
  • How to find support
  • What will eating Paleo do to your milk supply
    • Things to avoid
      • Sage
      • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
      • Spearmint
      • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
      • Chickweed
      • Black Walnut
      • stinging nettles (not nettle – that increases milk supply)
      • Yarrow
      • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
      • Lemon Balm
      • Oregano
      • Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
      • Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
      • Sudafed
      • Birth Control
    • Foods to increase
      • Nettle
      • Alfalfa
      • Anise
      • Borage
      • Brewer’s Yeast
      • Blessed Thistle
      • Salmon and other fatty fish
      • Nuts high in Omega 3 (walnuts, macadamia nuts)
      • Omega 3 rich pastured eggs
      • Flax (seeds, meal and oil)
      • Milk Thistle

Note to self: don’t plan video blogs at 11pm at night when you’re bleary eyed and can’t even get the names of nursing position holds correct.

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  • I’m not currently breastfeeding, and I’m going to make these cookies. 🙂 

    • Awesome! I’ve heard that even without the anise they’re still good – hopefully you like them!

  • Hi everyone!  I told Stacy this in an email and she wanted me to comment as a heads up for everyone.  If you freeze your breastmilk and cloth diaper look for green dots as a stain after the diapers are washed.  It comes out in the poop and is a signal that the baby isn’t digesting a certain enzyme (I forget what exactly).  It doesn’t affect the absorbency of the diaper, just leaves a stain.

    • Thanks Dawn.  I think another thing to look for too, is if your baby has green poop (not a residual stain but actual poop that is green) they are likely receiving a hind milk imbalance and only receiving foremilk from nursing.  So nurse for longer on each side and do what’s called the “block feed” technique.

      A million little nuances – thankful for midwives and experienced grandmas to pass these all down!

  • Raeanne

    Bluebonnet makes Brewer’s Yeast that is gluten-free 🙂 http://www.bluebonnetnutrition.com/product/215/Brewer%27s_Yeast_Powder

    • Raeanne, what’s it made from?  I imagine a grain, but I wonder if it has the same “lactation increasing” properties of its glutenous cousin…

  • Megan

    I am currently pumping for my tube fed baby and really wanted a lactation cookie but just couldn’t bring myself to make the ones i came across. May have to get these made this weekend. I don’t eat paleo, but we are fairly grain free. Plus with pu ping and nursing my 2 yo as well, everything i eat needs to be packed with calories and nutrients. Probably will substitute coconut oil for the flax oil simply because that’s what i have on hand, but i will have to hunt down some flax oil soon. Thank you so very much.

    • Megan, I can’t be sure but I think liquified coconut oil would be a fine substitute for the flax oil.  And these are certainly nutrient dense – I hope you enjoy!

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  • Thomas00amanda

    Hi Love the website Im currently 15 weeks pregnant and I’ve been a low carb/paleo type since I found it around 19 years old Im now 24 and plan to breastfeeed. Im so lucky to have discovered it soon enough. I want to try these cookies but I’ll wait till I need the extra calories. I wanted to note I believe your never suppose to heat flax oil!!! its not suppose to be used in cooking! So using coconut oil would be best!!!

  • Thomas00amanda

    Hi Love the website Im currently 15 weeks pregnant and I’ve been a low carb/paleo type since I found it around 19 years old Im now 24 and plan to breastfeeed. Im so lucky to have discovered it soon enough. I want to try these cookies but I’ll wait till I need the extra calories. I wanted to note I believe your never suppose to heat flax oil!!! its not suppose to be used in cooking! So using coconut oil would be best!!!

    • Amanda, I believe coconut oil would be a workable replacement – if anyone’s concerned by all means use it!  Do what you’re comfortable with, always key!

      I will note that because flax oil can stand up to 350 degree oven for up to 2 hours before going rancid from oxidation, I was comfortable with this recommended ingredient for these cookies.  Flax oil offers more Omega 3 and boosts lactation, but coconut also have TONS of beneficial nutrients.  I found my information here, if people want to look into it for themselves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil

  • Jess L

    Coconut oil or butter is a better choice than flax seed oil for baking. Flax seed oil oxidizes very easily, and shouldn’t be used for cooking – it’s best for salad dressings and things like that. Ground flax seeds don’t have the same problems, especially if ground fresh for each use. Other than that, I want to try these!

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  • I don’t see the videos here.  Am I missing them???

    • They have been returned! Unfortunately, YouTube embed codes have a tendency to disappear on us.

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  • Sarahleannlee

    Do you think I could use coconut flour instead of almond flour?

    • Give it a try and let us know! I don’t see why not.

      • Sarahleannlee

        They were terrible.  WAY too dry!  I guess I will retry with almond flour.

        • Sorry to hear. Coconut flour is often drier that other flours. Better luck next time!

        • Paulab

          Coconut flour doesn’t substitute equally,  You can make a cookie with it but the texture will be different and the ratio is about 3/4 cup coconut flour to 4 eggs.  Tropical Traditions website has a lot of recipes, so you could look for a basic cookie recipe and adapt it. 

        • The Healthy Beauty

          As a note for future people trying this… I gathered from this article: http://www.livestrong.com/article/553857-baking-with-almond-rice-coconut-flour/ that using a blend of rice and coconut flour would be a good substitution for the almond flour, in terms of dry-to-wetness. And it has worked so far – by using first, 1/2 the amount of almond flour, and the other 1/2 a half-half combo of rice and coconut flour. I then tried it with 1/3rd the amount of almond flour, and finally, this last time around, 1/4 the amount. The cookies have turned out great each time without having to add any more liquid to the recipe. Although the last batch I made with 1/4 almond flour, I had to substitute most of the dates for prunes b/c I ran out of dates. Anyway, just something to try. Next time, I will try nixing the almond flour altogether. I had to do this b/c I find almond flour makes me gain weight super fast, for some weird reason. I gained weight eating these cookies made with all almond flour, and actually lost weight when I switched to regular store-bought gluten-free sugar cookies (I didn’t have time to bake for a few weeks). Go figure. But my mental state brought me back to these and with the coconut-rice combo, things have been much more stable. Okay I’m done rambling now 🙂

  • Jill

    thanks for the great grain-free recipe! I look forward to trying it. What are your thoughts on Nutritional Yeast for milk supply? I haven’t ever baked with it…but imagine it wouldn’t taste good in cookies. Just briefly searching it seems like it isn’t something talked about much in the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. It’s different than brewer’s yeast, but also supports milk supply. Too much is not gentle on the stomach, but I’ve heard adding small amounts to things is really beneficial since it has a good supply of protein and b vitamins.The first time I had it we had too much and I woke up with a stomach ache and had a raging milk supply that morning. Also, you mentioned that oats aren’t gluten-free. I just wanted to add that it is really easy to find gluten-free oats, but of course they are not grain-free.

    • I guess I’m neutral? I don’t know, I try to stay away from things I don’t really understand, plus I have a super sensitive gut so I’m always nervous to try new things.  The BalancedBites podcast talked about this a couple weeks ago, maybe take a listen to that? You can over-do it, so definitely moderation.

  • I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this post and the videos. I’m 30 weeks along and am becoming increasingly nervous about the whole breastfeeding thing. Tips and tutorials like this help give me confidence to tackle whatever difficulties may arise (and have an idea of what to expect, if nothing else). Printing out the cookie recipe as I type — am thinking that will definitely come in handy!

    • SO GLAD! You’re welcome and good luck! Just trust your body and make sure you’re surrounded by women who have succeeded or let the advice go in one ear and out the other 😉

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  • NewMom_Cas

    Is there something I could substitute for anise? I cannot tolerate that flavor. My Dutch grandmother used to make anise cookies and I could never choke them down – blech!

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  • Briar Rose

    What is actually acting as the galcatogogue in this recipe (aside from the fenugreek)? Also I thought flax contains phytoestrogen which is a supply reducer?

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  • Christa

    I was wondering if you find it necessary to add water to the flax in order to “activate” it?

  • Shannon

    I’ve made your paleo lactation cookies several times now, and I’m so thankful for the recipe! It has been a great low-carb low-sugar snack for me while dealing with maintaining my blood sugar this pregnancy. My gluten-free toddler also loves them. Thank you!

  • Lynn

    This might be a silly question, but what makes these a lactation cookie vs a regular paleo cookie? Is it just eating extra calories, the omega 3’s from flax, the addition of anise? I just want to understand the recipe so I can play around with it a little bit if need be. Thank you, thank you! You are a personal hero of mine!!

    • the high omega 3s, anise, fenugreek, walnuts, and flax are the components that contribute to increased production

  • Kara

    Yay! I work with lactation and being paleo I struggle to reference any recipes for lactation cookies because of the excess amounts of sugar. Thank you, thank you!

  • Jordan Miller

    Thank you so much for coming up with this recipe! I have been wondering if there was a grain-free lactation cookie recipe out on the interwebs somewhere, but having a 5 week old EBF daughter has kind of kept me busy lately. 🙂

    Two slightly related questions–
    1. I’ve read/heard that being paleo/doing a Whole 30 while breastfeeding can affect your supply? Have you found this to be true? Hubby wants to do one, but I find myself wanting/craving/needing more carbs now that I’m breastfeeding (usually in the form of fruit and white potatoes). Any thoughts?

    2. Do you have any quick breakfast options that can be eaten one-handed? Because we BF on demand, some days I’m able to make myself breakfast while LO takes her morning nap, but (most) other days, I find myself unable to find the time to eat before lunch because she’s feeding so often. Any suggestions would be very helpful!

  • Jessie

    A friend gave me some of these cookies she made to try and they were
    absolutely wonderful! I am currently breastfeeding ( I had like 10 small
    cookies that day ) BUT that evening and the next day I felt really
    strange and almost buzzed as like on alcohol. I couldn’t figure out what
    was going on because nothing else in my diet had changed. Then I took
    at look at the recipe and I noticed the only ingredient I hadn’t tried
    before is the Anise seeds. I did some searching and found that I could
    have been having an allergic reaction to them. I also noticed that they
    are not recommend for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. So, I am
    wondering if you ever had some had a reaction like this or knew about
    them not being recommended.

  • Mrs. Jason

    Thank you for this recipe! I will be making them soon, but substituting rice malt syrup for maple. We’ll see how it goes!!

    I also want to give a big thanks for your videos- I was lucky enough to have my LLL-trained mum available when attempting to nurse my first baby. It is a very technical art, and not everyone has a good support system. It makes me so sad when I see new mums giving formula simply because they lacked information or guidance to continue breastfeeding. So thank you for passing on the words of wisdom!

  • kjean

    What can I substitute for the almond flour. I love almonds, but they do not love me. 🙁

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  • lauren

    Thank you for this advice and recipe!

  • Kristy

    These are delicious! Thank you! Have you tried doubling the recipe?

    • It’s a rather large batch, so we’ve never doubled – but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work!

  • Candace

    Do you know if it’s possible to make an AIP version of these or any lactation cookies? It seems like the nuts, oats, and flax are essential and all of those are AIP no-no’s.

    • I would maybe just add the spices that are specific to another AIP cookie recipe? This one won’t convert for the reason you identified.

  • Mandy

    Thank you for the (delicious) recipe for the cookies and for your video advice. I pump at work for my 5 month old, and it seems like every shift I’m getting less. Trying a few different things to see if I can boost production. Thanks again!