Lactation cookies have been selling like hotcakes in Singapore. We asked Ms Kang Phaik Gaik,
Head of Parentcraft/Lactation at Mount Alvernia Hospital, and Tan Shiling, Senior Dietitian at Mount
Alvernia Hospital, for their views on these munchies for mummies.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Lactation cookies are, as their name suggests, cookies that promote lactation in nursing mums. They are typically loaded with ingredients that promote lactation, known as galactagogues. Common galactagogues include brewer’s yeast, oats, faxseed meal and fenugreek.
Though the concept is not a new one, lactation cookies really caught on in Singapore just a year or two ago. Enter ‘lactation cookies’ into any search engine and literally pages and pages of local home bakers will appear. Many of the business owners are in fact mums who once faced problems with their own milk production.
An experienced lactation consultant, Ms Kang stops short of recommending lactation cookies but does not deny their efficacy.
“As lactation consultants, we don’t recommend specifc products to our clients. Rather, we focus on correcting their latching technique. But I do have clients tell me they have seen increased milk supply after eating lactation cookies, and I just say okay, as long as it’s hygienic,” said Ms Kang.
BEWARE SUGAR TRAPS
While dietitian Shiling voices no strong objections to lactation cookies, she warns mums against idly munching away without considering the calories they are consuming.
“While breastfeeding expends around 400 to 500 calories a day, excess calorie intake during breastfeeding may result in a slower rate of weight loss or may even cause unexpected weight gain,”
Shiling points out that the amount of lactation cookies that must be consumed to produce a measurable increase in breast milk production appears to vary from mum to mum. Hence the risk of ‘overdose’ increases for those women who need to eat large quantities of cookies to step up their milk production.
“Moreover, doctors have issued cautions regarding the oral intake of brewer’s yeast for nursing mothers,” shared Shiling. “Fenugreek, the most commonly used galactagogue, is linked to the fact that fenugreek stimulates sweat production and the breast is a modifed sweat gland. This may explain how fenugreek works.”
Article contributed by Ms Kang Phaik Gaik, Head of Parentcraft/Lactation and Tan Shiling, Senior Dietitian at Mount Alvernia Hospital.