Experts warn that women should be consulting medical professionals instead of turning to breastfeeding cookies to boost their milk supply.

Despite no scientific evidence that the ingredients in “lactation cookies” actually increase breast milk production women swear by them.

Brewer’s yeast has long been praised as a galactagogue, (a substance that promotes lactation in humans and other animals), but the benefits are yet to be scientifically proven.

Nutritionist Katrina Pace from Healthy Food Guide tells Stuff NZ, while good nutrition is important, it’s rarely the issue when it comes to breastfeeding problems.

“There are so many things that can affect your milk supply, but nutrition is such a small part of that. It’s far more likely to be another cause like stress, or a latching on problem, or tongue tie. If you’re really worried about your milk supply, you should consult Plunket or your midwife.”

She also warns against the hidden calories in breastfeeding cookies.

“To be honest I don’t know how different they really are to normal biscuits, and is a biscuit really the right thing to be having if you’re breastfeeding?

“My concern about breastfeeding cookies would be that women who are eating them may be consuming too much energy. That they’re eating something that’s actually not overly healthy, has lots of oil and sugar, and that they’re having a snack when they don’t really need one.

“Just remember, it’s still a biscuit.”

She says that breastfeeding mums should be eating the same as everyone else: a good amount of protein, whole grains and lots of fruit and vegetables.

“We still don’t really know the truth about what benefits brewer’s yeast has, and if it does actually help with milk supply. So unless it’s part of a bigger plan recommended by your midwife, you’re probably better off sticking to a powder that you could mix into things and avoid all the extra sugar and oil.”


However Pinky McKay, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, swears by her Boobie Bikkies and explains why they work so well – “Foods that support a healthy milk supply are known as ‘lactogenic’ – lactogenic ingredients can help to increase the levels of prolactin (a hormone produced in the pituitary that influences milk production) in the bloodstream and potentially increase the quantity of breast milk produced.”

She shares on her website – 

“Although there hasn’t been specific research on lactation cookies, there is evidence around the individual ingredients:

Foods rich in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, help to boost prolactin levels. As serotonin levels increase, this can counteract dopamine which has been shown to reduce prolactin levels. This can explain why some mothers find they seem to have a lower milk supply later in the afternoon when serotonin levels are naturally lower.

Foods containing polysaccharides, specifically beta glucan, found in oats and yeast are able to stimulate prolactin secretion and so raise prolactin levels in the blood. Lactation studies on rats and cattle showed beta glucan measurably raised prolactin levels in the blood and increased milk production.

Other ingredients such as oats contain saponins (a sweet soap-like substance with immune stimulating and antibiotic effects). Saponins may influence production of hormones from the pituitary gland.  This may aid production of both prolactin (milk production hormone) and oxytocin (which helps milk flow), both of which are made in the pituitary gland.

Although a lactogenic diet may support breast- milk production, it is just one tool, along with good baby to breast attachment, effective sucking and frequent feeding, in a bigger toolbox that can help with breast milk production.”

Did you find lactation cookies useful?

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  • I can remember my Mum making and eating what i now know was cookies to boost the milk supply and that was 50 years ago. I dont think this is a new thing and it certainly cant cause problems.


  • I’ve never heard of them before. If you are having a couple with your cup of tea or coffee I don’t see a problem


  • I have never heard of them up until this moment. Whatever works for you I guess.


  • Another money making scheme, they might help but so will a good healthy diet, just eat more leafy greens, I used to eat a huge salad and even half way through my milk would come up. And slow down and relax more mums.


  • I hope increased milk supply means there is not less nutrition in it. I know of one lady who started to breastfeed a total of 4 babies. She had plenty of milk but despite being on a diet to ensure ample nutrition her milk was basically like white water. Plenty of liquid but practically no nutrition. Only one of them had special dietary or other needs.


  • I never even knew such things like this existed. Would have been great when I was breastfeeding my twins.


  • I have 3 children and am still breastfeeding 1. I have a cookie or 2 most days as I felt I needed a little “boost” in my milk supply. It depends how I’m feeling in the way of my supply, it helps when Bub is feeding a lot and I feel “drained” I buy the: “milk and cookies by jewels” brand. They are really yummy and help me a lot. I never felt I needed them with my other 2 children but with my 3rd I have? Not really sure why ????


  • I use to make my own & added dried fruit or fresh blueberries. Loved them & they really helped with my milk supply. I did prefer though a tea I found that helps with milk supply.


  • Wish I’d heard about these…. of course nutrition is IMPORTANT and more so when breastfeeding and producing milk…. would have to look into them more but what a great idea eating stuff that will help lactation and general health.


  • I never needed them but if a breastfeeding Mum can consume 1 or 2 of these as part of a healthy diet to help boost their low milk supply, I don’t see a problem. Yes it is important to consult the right help to establish if there are underlying issues causing breastfeeding issues, but if there is no obvious reason, give these a try, if it works great, if not, don’t beat your self up.


  • I never used them and have to admit I don’t believe they work.

    • Hi Ellen,
      Wondering why you believe they do not work if you have not used them …my milk was low way back when and I wish I knew about lactation cookies back then, the only thing I was told was to eat peanut butter now there is the allergy worry…dammed if you do dammed if you don’t.


  • If nutrition doesn’t have a very big impact on milk supply then maybe thy need to look into the placebo effect as to why these biscuits work so well? Everyone I know who used them absolutely raves about them. Maybe that gives women more confidence in breastfeeding and the calmer they are because of it leads to better success??

    • sounds like you might be onto something here


  • I’ve never heard of them, but would have stuck to old fashioned remedies.


  • I looked into them but they’re quite expensive so I stuck to the brewers yeast and fenugreek tablets.


  • I didn’t even know they existed!!


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