Recipe: Nursing Nuggets
Post by Paula Jahn, Registered dietitian and Co-owner at Nourish Northwest
A few friends of mine recently had babies. Some new moms worry about their milk supply. An exclusively breastfed baby is a mysterious creature. While there are many ways to verify a baby is getting enough milk (generally content baby, weight gain, many wet diapers per day, etc), not being able to see the transfer of milk from breast to belly can create some anxiety in nursing mothers. Then there are a small percentage of women who have a low milk supply and need some extra help. This is mostly a recipe post for tasty snacks I like to gift to new families, but I want to point out first that the absolute best way to ensure adequate milk supply is to nurse, then nurse some more.
On-demand, skin-to-skin nursing with no restriction on the duration of feeding is the best way to keep milk supply in sync with baby’s needs.
And, stay hydrated. A nursing mother’s body produces dozens of ounces of milk per day to feed an infant. That milk is made up of lots of water. Most moms will notice an increase in thirst once the milk comes in. Honor that thirst. Drink water.
Okay, before I move on to the recipe, this is my favorite breast feeding resource: KellyMom.com. That site has answered every question I have ever had about feeding a newborn.
There are a number of prepared “lactation cookies” on the market and recipes in the blogosphere. Many of them are made with refined flours and sugar. Yuck.
These balanced balls of yum can be enjoyed by anyone as a satisfying snack. For nursing moms, they are perfect one-handed nourishment for when getting up to go make a meal (or using a fork) is not realistic. As a bonus, they may increase milk supply.
Below is a list of some of the “active” ingredients and why I chose them for these delicious nuggets.
Dates-Dates are a wonderful natural sweetener. Most of their carbohydrate content comes from glucose, which is the easiest for the body to assimilate and use for energy. Quick energy is imperative while nursing. They are also an excellent source of fiber, with 1.6 grams per date. Along with hydration, fiber helps to keep bowel movements soft and regular. This is so much more important than most people realize (or talk about) after labor. I won’t go into details here. Fiber is good! Along with other trace minerals, dates contain a significant amount of copper. One of copper’s main functions is to help the body absorb and use iron to form new red blood cells. No need to state the obvious here.
Oats-Oats are a known galactagouge, or substance known to stimulate milk production in animals.
Sesame seeds-Studies are lacking, but sesame seeds are traditionally used across Asia to help with breast milk production. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium and zinc, which are both important for bone health. They are also a good source of fiber and healthy fats.
Walnuts-Walnuts provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Brewer’s Yeast-This may be the most effective in increasing supply. If milk supply is not an issue, omit the brewer’s yeast. It can impart a bitter flavor. Brewer’s yeast can be purchased at most health food stores or here.
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds (or, 1/4 cup sesame seeds and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup oats, ground into flour
1 Tbs coconut oil
1-2 Tbs brewer’s yeast, optional
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Pinch of salt
- Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until completely mixed.
- With dampened hands, roll tablespoons of mixture into 1-inch diameter balls. Roll in extra chopped walnuts, if desired.
- Enjoy while you’re pinned to your nursing station.