My daughter was born at 2 o’clock in the morning two years ago. After I had counted all 20 precious fingers and toes at least 100 times, I turned my focus towards feeding her. For many new moms, the worst thing is the thought that the little one is hungry. Even though I knew that her stomach was the size of a quarter when she was first born, I was convinced that my new baby was incredibly hungry! Growing from a few tiny cells to a full-sized infant in 40 weeks is bound to produce a bit of an appetite, right?
I was fortunate enough to meet an incredible lactation consultant at the hospital who encouraged me to focus on relaxing. Worrying makes our bodies tense, and tension, or any form of stress, can affect your overall health. She told me to smile, to enjoy nursing and to remember that our bodies will always produce what our babies need. It may take a while for mommy and baby to find a rhythm with nursing but when they do, it is an experience that is beneficial for both. New mommies get to foster an amazing bond with their child (one that will help develop that child’s self confidence) while giving them the absolute best food for their quickly growing bodies. Plus there is the added bonus moms receive of actually relieving stress while nursing. Our bodies release a hormone called oxytocin that actually helps us to calm down and puts us in a happier mood. And when dealing with a newborn, mommies can use every benefit from breast feeding!
The transition to motherhood is an amazing but challenging journey. My baby, like most newborns, was up every hour. My needs quickly became less of a priority as I tended to my little one. Even eating an uninterrupted, solid meal was a luxury in those first few months as she was getting accustomed to her new world and I was adjusting to my role as mommy. However, I had to refocus some of my energy onto myself. If I didn’t eat often or enough of the right things, my milk supply waned. Moms need to remember to eat properly and hydrate for baby to be nourished. Our bodies go through so much during pregnancy but if you choose to breast feed your baby, the physical demands on your body remain high. It is incredibly important that new moms continue to make their nutrition a priority just as they did during their pregnancy. Fruits and vegetables need to be the constant staple and hydration is essential.
When it came to maintaining a healthy diet after my baby was born, things still needed to be fast, convenient and more importantly nutritious. It needed to be easy to eat with one hand as my other arm always held my daughter! I created a little feeding station in the nursery: a comfortable rocking chair, small table with snacks, a box of tissue and a huge bottle of water. My favorite go-to snacks while I nursed my little one were wraps, smoothies, and my delicious lactation cookies.
I came across so many recipes for lactation cookies but wasn’t able to find many that were yeast-free. Yeast can be a useful ingredient as some women find it to help milk production, but this can be a nightmare for gluten-free mommies. I am not much of a baker but got pretty lucky when playing around with a few ingredients. I created a yummy recipe that is yeast-free and packed with nutrients that will keep lactating mommies properly fueled to feed their little ones. These cookies are filled with chia seeds (for omega 3’s, calcium, and protein), flax seed meal (for omega 3’s and fiber), bananas (for potassium and vitamin C), pecans (for folate and vitamin E), oats (for fiber) and peanut butter (for protein). The best part is that these cookies are flour-less and a delicious combination of chocolate, banana and peanut butter without being overly sweet. Plus, with the banana base, they are incredibly chewy.
Gluten-Free Lactation Cookie Recipe
4 ripe bananas
2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter (add a 3rd if you really like a strong peanut butter taste)
3 tablespoons of gluten-free, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups of gluten-free oats
3 tablespoons of soaked chia seeds (I soaked them in almond milk over night in the refrigerator)
3 tablespoons of flax seed meal
1 cup of pecans
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
½ cup of coconut sugar or raw sugar
½ cup agave nectar
*feel free to add 4 tablespoons of yeast if you don’t have a gluten intolerance
1. Peel the bananas. Mash and stir until smooth.
2. Stir in peanut butter, cocoa powder, flax seed meal, coconut sugar, agave nectar and chia seeds.
3. Add oats and pecans.
4. Taste mixture to make sure that cookie batter is sweet enough for you. If not, add additional agave nectar or coconut sugar.
5. Spoon batter onto cookie sheet. Press down on top of cookie to flatten as they do not do so on their own.
6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes before eating.
Enjoy with a glass of almond milk!
What is really amazing about this cookie is that they are a yummy, nutritious treat for the entire family. My two-year-old daughter and husband truly enjoy these cookies. When my family wants a treat, I feel great knowing that I am giving them something that is loaded with nutrients. They also make the perfect gifts for new parents. Nursing moms will thank you!
Also by Sorina: How to Be Vegan While Pregnant
Related: 5 Steps To More Mindful Parenting
Photo: Sorina Fant