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About This Banana Almond Chocolate Chip Lactation Mini Muffins Recipe
One of my postpartum clients coined this recipe “Shelley’s Love Muffins.” Oxytocin, the hormone of love, is felt by both the giver and receiver when these muffins are made during the fourth trimester. These little love-muffins are packed with breast milk-enhancing nutrients and are naturally sweetened with banana and maple syrup. Bite-sized mini-muffins means less crumbs in the mother’s bed…and cleavage!
Healthy Lactation Muffins + LOVE = “Love-Muffins.”
Let me explain….there is an interconnectedness between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual/energetic bodies in every human being. What we do to one of these bodies affects the other, for better or for worse. During a new mother’s postpartum Sacred Window (first 42 days after birth) this concept is heightened because of the birthing process. Her physical, emotional, mental and energetic/spiritual bodies are very open, raw and vulnerable. From the moment she gives birth, through those six weeks to follow (called the Sacred Window in Ayurveda) the mother is undergoing a complete transformation and rebirth of each of these bodies. She is exceptionally aware of the almost surreal rawness and vulnerability she is experiencing, and acutely in tune with the impact each of these bodies have on each other, and ultimately on her baby. This is why it is so crucial that postpartum mothers receive exquisite care, allowing her to feel loved, nurtured, properly fed and to rest. The love that she receives from her caregiver nourishes and “feeds” each of her bodies, enabling her to heal, rejuvenate and provide more love to her baby. Banana-Almond Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins made with love and intention have the power to permeate each of the mother’s bodies and uplift her soul!
How can a muffin support healing and lactation?
These muffins contain ingredients that support healthy tissue regeneration, soothe the nervous system, enhance the quality of her breast milk and encourage milk production. See below for full nutritional benefits. More importantly, there’s an neurological response to being fed nourishing food made with love. The nervous system down-regulates and beneficial hormones, such as oxytocin, are released. This hormone supports milk production and helps the mother fall in love with her baby.
These muffins taste amazing! Slightly sweet, moist and healthy. She just feels happy eating them. When the mama feels happy, this pleasurable experience releases beneficial hormones such as oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. These hormones support the down-regulation of the mother’s nervous system, which is important for milk production and for the let-down response to kick in. The release of these hormones also supports the production of prolactin, which is responsible for producing breastmilk. The more pleasure a new mother can experience, the more relaxed her nervous system will become and the better able she is to heal and produce milk.
“The physiological properties of food affect mood by way of neurotransmitters (Markus et al., 1998) and endocrine responses (Dallman et al,. 2003). Intake of food items has been shown to decrease feelings of helplessness, depression, loss of control and distress and increase feelings of joy.” (Oliver et al., 2000) (Macht and Dettmer, 2006)
“Sweet food has been shown to reduce stress and sensitivity to pain” (5) (Smith et al., 1990; Harrison et al., 2012) Maybe this is why breastmilk is so sweet, to reduce the pain and stress inflicted on the baby from the birth process. I always say, “Whatever the baby needs, the mother needs.” So, these muffins offer the sweetness to help lift the mother’s mood, reduce her stress and offer a tiny bit of pain relief as she recovers from birth.
Muffins are comfort food. Comfort food has the ability to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. There is a lovely connection fostered with the relationship of the person who made the food. Postpartum time can feel very isolating, but, when someone makes these muffins and brings them to the mother, she feels comforted, loved and cared for. The love and gratitude she feels is ingested with each bite and thereby, this love goes into her cells, and then passes through her breastmilk into her baby’s body.
The process of giving birth blasts mothers open wide! Energetically or spiritually she is raw and open. It takes time, rest, loving care and nourishment to become grounded again after giving birth. These muffins will help ground the mother, giving her the confidence to parent her child.
“The fragrant muffins in a sterile hospital setting awakened and nourished my body on many levels. The decadent taste enlivened my taste buds after going for hours without food. This awakening sent a message through my body that gave me the confidence to feel like, “I got this!” —Sarah W.
Why I Use A Mini Muffin Tin
The lifestyle of a postpartum mother is one-handed! One hand is holding the baby, the other hand is grabbing a lactation muffin. Regular-sized muffins created a crumbly mess in the mother’s bed and her cleavage! These mini muffins are much easier to grab and eat with one hand.
I use this mini-muffin tin. One recipe makes approximately 36 muffins.
Nutritional Benefits of Banana Almond Chocolate Chip Lactation Mini Muffins
• Almonds provide healthy fats including Omega 3 fatty acids which stimulate hormones for breastfeeding
• Contains magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium and B vitamins all of which calm the nerves helping to reduce anxiety and depression
• Good source of protein
• Potassium helps moms maintain fluid levels
• Fiber for healthy bowel movements
• Contains prebiotics for a healthy gut
• Contains the amino acid, tryptophan, essential for the production on the nerve transmitting chemical called serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, memory…reducing mama’s chances of postpartum depression.
• A good, healthy animal fat which is essential for high quality breastmilk.
• Growing babies demand high levels of fat to grow properly
• Good quality fats are needed to develop the baby’s brain and immune systems
• Contains protein and choline, both of which help to build cell membranes essential in regenerating cells after birth. Choline is essential for both the mother and baby’s brain development.
• This is the JOY factor!
• Chocolate supports the release of oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins
Ingredient Notes + Tips
• Almond flour–Make sure to use blanched almond flour, not almond meal. Almond meal is made with the skins retained, which are more difficult to digest
• White flour–I use unbleached, organic flour when possible. You can also use whole wheat flour, which is definitely healthier. However, the wheat flour somehow robs the muffins of the beautiful sweetness the bananas provide.
• Overripe bananas impart the best flavor.
• Vegan options– I do not recommend a vegan diet during the postpartum phase of motherhood, especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding. However, if you have allergies, you can replace the butter with equal amounts of coconut oil, and replace the eggs with flax eggs. To replace the two eggs, mix two tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with six tablespoons of water. Mix together, and let sit in your fridge for 15 minutes to set up and thicken.
• Chocolate Chips–I like mini chocolate chips because they seem to create the right balance of flavor. But you can use any size chocolate chip you’d like!
• Slivered Almonds— if you don’t have them, just chop up some almonds and sprinkle them on top, or omit the nut topping all together! Be sure to press them into the dough or they might not stick when baking.
• If you make these muffins in a standard-sized standard size muffin tin, I would increase the baking time to 22-24 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and they are browned around the edges)
Steps To Making Banana-Almond Chocolate Chip Lactation Mini-Muffins
1. Combine the dry ingredients.
2. Combine the wet ingredients.
3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently.
4. Stir in chocolate chips
5. Fill the greased mini-muffin tin with the batter (about 1.5 TBS per muffin)
6. Gently press slivered almonds on top.
7. Bake for 16-18 minutes until golden on edges and toothpick comes out clean.
Questions You May Have
How long will these muffins stay fresh?
Up to 5 days on the counter, covered. Up to 7 days in the fridge
Can I freeze them?
Yes! They freeze well and will last up to 2 months in the freezer. You can make a double batch during the last weeks of your pregnancy, freeze them, and have them on hand for your postpartum time.
If other members of my family eat them, will they lactate?