Breastfeeding is when you feed your baby breast milk, usually directly from your breast. It’s also called nursing. Making the decision to breastfeed is a personal matter. It’s also one that’s likely to draw opinions from friends and family.
Many medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. After the introduction of other foods, it recommends continuing to breastfeed through the baby’s first year of life.
How often you should breastfeed your baby depends on whether your baby prefers small, frequent meals or longer feedings. This will change as your baby grows. Newborns often want to feed every 2-3 hours. By 2 months, feeding every 3-4 hours is common, and by six months, most babies feed every 4-5 hours. You and your baby are unique, and the decision to breastfeed is up to you.
However, Breastfeeding often presents some challenges for new Moms, such as nipple pain/cracking, engorgement (swelling and discomfort with soreness of the nipples), mastitis, and/or inadequate or excessive milk supply. These challenges can be incredibly frustrating and even result in new Moms discontinuing Breastfeeding entirely.
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Those who practice it use tiny amounts of natural substances, like plants and minerals. It was developed in the late 1700s in Germany. It’s common in many European countries, but it’s not quite as popular in the United States.
A basic belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can — in a very small dose — treat an illness with similar symptoms. This is meant to trigger the body’s natural defenses. Homeopathic remedies are safe for Breastfeeding Moms and Infants, without a risk of negative or dangerous side effects.
When choosing a Homeopathic remedy, one should examine the breasts to see if there is any discoloration or visible swelling or anything unusual about the nipples. The texture and appearance of the milk produced should also be examined. Finally, observe whether the child has any problems with feeding.
Breastfeeding Challenges and Homeopathic Remedies
Engorged breasts (aka breasts bulging with a whole lot of milk) are very full, firm and taut, making it hard for baby to latch—and yes, like so many breastfeeding problems, engorged breasts can be pretty uncomfortable for mom. Your breasts may become engorged at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey when your milk first comes in and your body is still figuring out how to regulate milk production. Engorgement can also happen if you go too long between feedings or if baby isn’t properly draining your breasts of milk.
A double-blind trial of 71 women tested a homeopathic remedy consisting of Apis Mellifica and Bryonia, both at 9c potency. The results showed that, compared to placebo, use of homeopathic treatment significantly reduced pain and tension sensations in the breast. Spontaneous milk flow also decreased.
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for breast engorgement, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
The symptom picture for homeopathic Bryonia includes breast pain and fullness without redness, and pain in the left breast, especially when raising the arm. Pain is said to be increased by motion and touch or deep breathing, and reduced when pressure is applied.
Homeopathic Belladonna might be recommended when breasts are inflamed, warm, reddened, and hard to the touch, possibly accompanied by fever. (Note that these symptoms could indicate infection.)
This is one of those breastfeeding problems that can be the result of many different things: a shallow latch, pumping improperly, thrush and sometimes even dry skin. During your first week of breastfeeding, when baby is just learning to latch, you may even experience some bloody discharge, says Jane Morton, MD, a clinical professor of pediatrics emerita at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, and founder of Droplet, an online resource for breastfeeding moms. Cracked nipples might be a little frightening (and uncomfortable), but this breastfeeding problem is nothing to worry about.
The following homeopathic remedies can help with engorged breasts problems:
- Graphites: when the cracks are itchy; may be oozing a honey-like discharge.
- Nitricum acidum: for bleeding and painful cracks.
- Phytolacca: For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy. The patient may feel heavy with flu like symptoms, or may have a breast abscess threatening.
Mastitis and Clogged Ducts
Mastitis is a bacterial infection in your breasts marked by flu-like symptoms such as fever and pain in your breasts, Morton says. It’s common within the first few weeks after birth (though it can also happen anytime during breastfeeding) and may be caused by other breastfeeding problems, such as clogged milk ducts, engorgement or even cracked nipples, which can allow bacteria to enter the breast, causing the infection. The following homeopathic remedies can help with mastitis and clogged ducts problems:
Belladonna: A Wonderful Homeopathic Medicine Used in the Initial Phase of Mastitis. Belladonna is a very useful homeopathic medicine for mastitis. Belladonna works well in the initial stage of inflammation of the breast. The breast is red and very swollen. Throbbing pains accompany the swelling. The pain is worse when lying down. Inflammation of breast after weaning is another strong indication to use Belladonna.
Phytolacca: Phytolacca is a top grade homeopathic medicine for mastitis. Phytolacca works well for swollen, painful breast with marked soreness. There is a stinging and shooting pain in the breast. Extreme sensitivity and tenderness of the breast are also symptoms. Hardness and a purple hue may also accompany. Nipples may also be cracked. Pain from the breast also radiates to the whole body while nursing the child.
Croton Tig: Croton Tig is yet another effective homeopathic medicine for mastitis. Symptoms indicative of using Croton Tig are a hard, swollen and inflamed breast. Another major indication for using Croton Tig is that the pain from the breast radiates to the back on nursing the child. The pain is mainly drawing in nature. Soreness of the nipples is also present.
Bryonia: Homeopathic Medicine for Mastitis with Stony Hard Breast. Bryonia is an excellent homeopathic treatment for mastitis. Its use is considered in cases of mastitis when the breasts are stony hard. The breasts are also hot, swollen and highly painful. The slightest motion worsens the pain in the breast, and the patient may need to support the breast with the hand. Resting seems to relieve the pain.
Silicea and Hepar Sulph: Silicea and Hepar Sulph are great homeopathic medicines for mastitis when an abscess gets formed. These medicines are very effective when treating suppurative conditions. They help in the drainage of pus without any surgical intervention. These medicines work well in cases of an abscess with pus discharge that may be offensive in nature, intense pain, sensitivity to touch, and chills.
Milk Supply Problems
Breast milk problems generally fall into 3 categories; low milk production, excessive production of milk and breast milk quality issues. Homeopathic medications found to be helpful in reducing the milk supply include lac caninum 30C, Pulsatilla 30C, and Ricinus communis 30C. These are purchased as small pellets. The typical dose is five pellets sublingually two to three times a day, until a decrease in milk supply is noticed.
Homeopathic medicine for increasing milk in nursing mothers include:
- Calcarea carbonica: Helps to stimulate milk production
- Causticum: Increase breast milk in rheumatic women
- Dulcamara: To correct under-producing milk
When to wean is a personal decision. To allow both mom and baby to adjust physically and emotionally to the change, weaning should be a gradual process. Weaning is easier and painless if you take Homeopathic medicines. They decrease the milk supply, thus relieving the swelling of the breasts and the pain. The most commonly used Homeopathic medicines for weaning include:
Lac caninum: use a 30C potency.
Pulsatilla: use a 30C potency.
Ricinus communis: Use a 30C potency. Make sure to use in the right potency because different potencies of Ricinus exert a different action – 6C improves milk secretion while 30C reduces milk supply and is used for weaning.
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