During pregnancy, many moms-to-be look forward to breastfeeding – and while making breast milk is a natural… it’s not always easy.
Breastfeeding isn’t necessarily the right choice for every woman, but the health benefits associated with nursing are significant for both mama and baby. Breastfed babies tend to get fewer colds and viruses and develop greater resistance to gastrointestinal infections. Nutritious breast milk is also thought to decrease the risk of chronic illnesses later in life.
As for mama, there’s bonding time with baby during peaceful nursing sessions, and the effects of breastfeeding on helping reproductive organs contract back into shape faster post-delivery.
Still, for some nursing is just downright difficult. Figuring out proper latching, painful engorgement, common breast infections like mastitis and worry about milk supply can take a toll on new parents.
Fortunately, there are natural fixes for nursing obstacles like mastitis and increasing milk flow. We turned to herbal traditions in crafting formulas that offer easy, natural support for these common breastfeeding concerns.
Increase milk flow, naturally
Sufficient milk production is a common concern for nursing mamas and the herbal combination of Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle provides a healthy lactation boost.
Herbs have been used for countless years in traditional medicine to help increase milk supply. Known as galactagogue herbs, blessed thistle and fenugreek are also highly nutritive herbs that nourish a woman in the postpartum period. Simply taking 1 capsule of Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle twice daily on an empty stomach naturally promotes milk flow and nurtures a breastfeeding mother’s health.
Treat breast pain and inflammation
Mastitis is an inflammation and infection of the breast that can arise from blocked ducts and engorged breast. Mothers between three weeks to six months postpartum are more vulnerable, and other risk factors include poor latch and infrequent feedings with baby. Signs of mastitis are redness, pain, and breast tenderness, along with flu-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue.
To prevent mastitis, make sure your baby is latching properly, which helps avoid nipple soreness and reduces risk of breast engorgement. Topical application of Breast Oil promotes healing and fights infection with a herbal blend that addresses inflammation, infection, and pain, and stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid from the breast tissue.
Apply Breast Oil topically to affected breast(s) as needed, massaging gently into breast tissue to ensure absorption and even distribution.
Breast Oil is safe to use for both mother and nursing baby – for extra peace of mind, apply immediately after feeding, avoiding the nipple and areola.
Other helpful herbs for nursing mothers include red raspberry leaf and nettle for restoring iron levels due to blood loss during birth, and milky oat seed can be used in a nerve tonic to calm anxiety.
Lifestyle factors are important for milk production and it’s important that a nursing mother gets enough rest, ample hydration and eats nutrient-dense foods that include lots of good fats. Support from others during the early days is key in helping a mother recover from childbirth to encourage milk to come in and keep production up.
Supply and demand: La Leche League International recommends letting baby take the lead in the early days, allowing her to nurse as long and as often as she likes. This frequent breastfeeding on demand helps to establish a good milk supply.
If encountering obstacles when nursing, be sure to talk to your doctor, lactation consultant or midwife to rule out issues like a tongue tie or lip tie in the baby (where baby would have trouble latching to the breast) or an underlying health condition, like polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Support is key in the early days of breastfeeding, so mother and baby can settle into their new relationship and new routines. Turning to loved ones and time-honoured, nurturing herbs can help make this special time as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
References available upon request.