Miesha Vargas bakes and delivers cookies to breast-feeding mothers. Photos by Michael Thompson.
An entrepreneur in Manchester has taken to the oven to cook up an offshoot of her experience helping new mothers.
In January, Miesha Vargas launched Baby Love Lactation Cookies, a business that makes and sells cookies aimed at women who are breast-feeding.
“They are cookies that might promote milk production,” Vargas said, cautious not to make any health claims. “I’ve heard of people driving to Virginia Beach to buy them. I was like, ‘Why don’t I just make them here?’”
Vargas, 28, works as a doula – someone who supports and educates women before, during and after labor.
Through Baby Love Doula Services, a company Vargas owns with Lauren Tompkins, she helps clients with labor comforting preferences and breast-feeding. Vargas is also a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and teaches classes for expecting couples. Vargas said she’s overseen 26 births since 2012.
She said the idea for the cookie business was born out of helping other mothers.>
Vargas makes Baby Love cookies in her kitchen in Manchester.
“Just through my work, I’ve found that milk supply issues among new mothers are more common than people think,” she said. “Breast-feeding is really hard. It’s harder than people think.”
The cookie business also came out of necessity. Recently, Vargas has been home caring for her two young children and saw Baby Love as a venture she could run from home until she’s ready for more full-time doula duties.
The cookies are high in protein and healthy fats and are made with brewer’s yeast, flax and oats. They come in chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and double chocolate. The shelf life is about a week, because Vargas does not use any preservatives, but they can be frozen. Vegan cookies are also available.
“They’re really just a very nutritious cookie,” she said.
Vargas delivers the cookies to the Richmond area, Petersburg, Mechanicsville and Powhatan. An order of 14 cookies costs $20, and 30 cost $35.
The cookies are made to order and sold only online for now, but Vargas said she plans to sell at farmers markets such as South of the James Market on the Southside in the spring.
Vargas said she’s had 100 orders so far and has been surprised by the demand.
“I think it took off so fast because of my connections in the doula community,” Vargas said. “I hope people see me not as just lactation cookies, but as a resource.”