My clients come to me with a wide variety of issues and I am so happy to help in any way that I can. Often, I must do extensive research for clients, especially when the problem is quite challenging or one that I am unfamiliar with.
Motherhood presents a myriad of issues from fertility to delivery and well beyond. I would include in there hormone issues as well as mental health issues, as raising children can drain us in so many different ways.
Lactation is an issue that has recently come up in my herbal practice and I was prepared to help this mum with delicate, yet effective herbs.
Herbs are only one facet of the support system for new mums, especially when facing the challenges of breastfeeding. What is often conceptualised about breastfeeding is that it is a completely natural process. Though natural and instinctual, it is a learned process and that path to successful acquisition is different for everyone.
This article from KellyMom.com is beautifully written to describe the challenges of breastfeeding. There are unrealistic expectations on new mums and what they should be able to do and what they are supposed to do.
There is no other skill where we expect we should have a sudden knowledge and ability, in the way that we do about breastfeeding. No one expects that they will buy a piano (with no prior knowledge) and be able to play a concerto a week later. They don’t feel they have failed when they can’t do it. No one expects that they will be fluent in another language in a day or 2, even though language is natural. No one even expects they could run a 5k without a couch to 5k program. Why on earth do we feel that we are failing if we have problems doing something that we have never done before, rarely see done around us, and haven’t really any knowledge of?kellymom.com
Drinking this tea can be an effective part of a lactation support plan. This tea is healthy, nutrient-rich and safe for baby.
Herbs that increase breast milk production are called “galactagogues.” (“Galacta” = milk, “-gogue” = producer or supplier).
There is no need to supplement with galactagogues if breastmilk supply is normal.
It is incredibly important to address the underlying cause of insufficient breastmilk supply first! Most mothers do not need herbs to stimulate milk production – instead they need rest, relaxation, hydration, nutrition, and a baby who has an excellent latch and sucking reflex. Especially focus on hydration – remember that it is impossible to make sufficient milk if you are dehydrated.mtwholehealth.com
Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus): galactagogue, nutrient-rich, may decrease post-partum depression, helps the uterus to contract/shrink back to size
Milky Oats (Avena sativa): galactagogue, nervine (reduces stress reaction), nutrient-rich, nourishes the nervous system
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica): nutritive tonic, stimulates milk production due to its nutrients
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): a powerful galactagogue, carminative (it eases intestinal cramping and gas), may help to ease colic
Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare): galactagogue, antispasmodic, great for colic, may help to balance menstrual cycle
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita): nervine, carminative, high in calcium and magnesium, reduces physical stress, great for aiding with sleep issues
Allow the water to just boil. Let it rest for 1 minute. Pour the water over the herbs and cover. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.
Remember, everything you drink (and eat) is transferred to baby. These herbs also have benefits for your newborn: relieving colic, supporting the developing nervous system, aiding with the sleep cycle, and rounding out nutrients.
This article about what to eat and drink while breastfeeding is a good resource for new mums who have questions or concerns about how to properly manage their diet during breastfeeding.