Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cookies and Milk

This post will involve chests.
But it will also contain biscuits - or cookies, if you will.
You've been warned.

Anyway, as my chesticles are no longer simply living rent-free in my jumper and are finally earning their keep in my new role as a Yummy Mummy, I find myself having to keep up enough supply to satisfy my little porker of a son. Up until now, I had been relying on obscene quantities of chocolate biscuit cake, but I thought I ought to do something a little less decadent to maintain production. In other countries, particularly the US, one would turn to a pill or tablet of some form with a very scary name - domperidone or motillium, an antidopaminergic drug (no idea what that means, just copied it from Wikipedia to look smart) - but here in Germany you are prescribed a tea.

Thus, I went off to our local herb store with a note from my midwife in my grubby little paw:

and picked up a bag of stuff that looks like it came straight from a café in Amsterdam:

It contains majoram, dill, black cumin and boxthorn. It tastes ... virtuous (= disgusting but good for you.)

So I decided to make lactation cookies. Now, if there were ever a name to put you off a foodstuff, then it's 'lactation cookies', but the idea is that these cookies contain galactagogues (substances to increase milk supply). I found some recipes on the internet but they were revoltingly sweet, so I twiddled a bit and came up with the one below. These cookies are very delish, and if you are not currently lactating (and do not desire to do so) never fear: they will not suddenly make you leak dairy. However, they are healthy - oh, who are we fooling? They take a nod in the direction of healthy - and would make a nice present for a new mother.

You need:
  • 2 large (tablespoons) flax seed, preferably milled
  • 3-4 large (tablespoons) water
Put the flax in a small bowl, cover it with water and let it soak and swell.

  • 225g butter
  • 200g brown sugar (I use even less sugar and more cinnamon for the taste.)
  • 2 eggs
Sift in
  • 200g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • some cinnamon and ginger to taste
Mix in
  • 2-3 large (tablespoons) Brewer's Yeast
  • Approx. 150g - 200g oats (not oatmeal!)
  • 150g dark chocolate chips (we're not martyrs, after all)

Drop in small balls on a cookie sheet, bake for about 12-14 mins at 375°F / 180°C, till they're reached the desired brown-ness (I like them golden, my husband likes them dark.)

A note about the ingredients:
  • I love ginger, but be careful - it's apparently not the thing to eat if you've had stitches or other wounds, as it's a blood thinner.
  • Brewer's Yeast can be both at a healthfood store. It tastes kind of salty but it's the thing that gets your ... um, juices going ... and you can't taste it in the finished cookie.
  • Oats are filling (and breastfeeding mothers are often in a state of constant starvation), contain lots of iron and work wonders on the ol' digestive system. Need I say more?
  • (Milled) flax seed - according to the Internet, unmilled flax seed just runs right through you, barely stopping to take photos. I use unmilled flax seed, I just use a bit more and ... here's the secret, Internet bakers ... I chew my cookies! Uh-huh! Unmilled flax seed makes the cookies nice and crunchy. But milled flax seed is good, too, honest. Just use what you can find.


Katie K said...

People undoubtedly do overmedicate here in the States, but I'm willing to wager that people in other countries do as well. I wonder why you choose to negatively reference us. The common stimulant used here to increase milk production is beer, though. Guinness is mentioned, something you're probably familiar with. Interesting about ginger being a blood thinner.

The Gingerbread Lady said...

Katie: that's a fair comment. I guess it's been on my mind a bit because when I asked for advice on a mothers' forum, I was told, "Get motillium. Try motillium. Get your doctor to give you a script for motillium." I looked it up and found out what it was, and then had to report that it ... just wasn't possible. I'd have to be medically unable to produce milk before a doctor would (reluctantly) prescribe it. The American posters were astonished. And then someone offered a herbal equivalent, also not available here, ... and it came in pill form too. No messing about with tea pots and what smells like the inside of a lawnmower. Just a simple tablet.

What I meant with the post was that if you have this problem, you'd get a prescription for a pharmaceutical remedy (if you wanted it), whereas in Germany, you'd have to battle with your doctor to get beyond tea or cabbage leaves. Frankly, a pill sounds very tempting - the tea is vile and I don't know if its value is real or anecdotal.

So I didn't consciously negatively reference the US, but I can see that I've been influenced by American friends and acquaintances, who are always saying that Americans over-medicate. Actually, I disagree. I don't think that every American takes *more* medication than people in the British Isles or Germany, but if you *do* need or want a broader selection of medication, it seems to be easier to get it than it is here. And people have a different relationship to pharmaceuticals, which is what I find more interesting.

My impression is that Americans seem to be more familiar with more types of medication than we are. Most people only know the name of their own medication (if they take any) and such standard things as Paracetamol (like Tylenol), Aspirin and Ibuprofen. American friends say this is because the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to advertise broadly so people are just more easily able to connect a drug to its target use. This isn't the case over here - apart from e.g. a winter cold and flu remedy or Aspirin. We can only buy painkillers in cards of 10 or 20 and then ONLY behind the counter at a pharmacy - one of my friends buys a jar of 200 Aspirin off the shelf at a drugstore in Washington when she visits her family and brings it home to Germany because she gets a 3-year supply in one go. Doctors also prescribe homoeopathic remedies and teas for various ailments. And people aren't encouraged to become too familiar with various medication types, maybe because doctors would rather they weren't as well informed and trusted their - the doctors' - medical expertise? If you don't know what's available or what a drug is used for, you have to trust your healthcare provider without question.

In any case, apologies once again!

And, yes, beer is a good idea. Oh, the sacrifice.

Jay said...

I've never heard of medication to stimulate milk production, and I've had 3 babies! I wish I'd known a bit more about this with the first one as I really struggled. My midwife only told me to keep eating more (of anything) and I ended up the size of a small elephant!

The Gingerbread Lady said...

Jay - I know. I was talking to a woman who stopped bf-ing after 15 weeks because of under-supply, her baby was losing weight and finally she went from supplementing to weaning. What a pity that she couldn't have been given a bit of help if it's available (and, yes, she drank the tea ...)

m said...

Wish I would have had this recipe a year ago when I was feeding my 2nd one... I think breastfeeding is one of the things that really put a load of pressure on new mothers. I fed my 1st one without any problems, but nr 2 was (is!!) such a pig, he couldn't get enough, and as I had to get back to work real soon (2nd month) and I got to see how much milk came out (with the pump), it put on extra pressure... I drank loads and loads and LOADS of water (what they recommend you here in Turkey) ate lots of halva (another thing they swear by here, consisting of sugar and tahin paste actually. Not bad!!) and tried not to focus too much on how much I produced. It actually drove my husband CRAZY, 'oh dear, you think this will be enough for tomorrow?' 'you think this is less than what I got yesterday' etc etc... But the less I focussed, the easier it got. Good luck, you'll be doing just fine! (especially with such nice cookies!!)
BTW: love your blog!