Breastfeeding. It's not always easy, but there is natural, organic support
This article first appeared in the New Zealand Herald, authored by Dr Sandra Clair (PhD Health Sciences) It has been edited to make it suitable for online publishing.
Plant remedies are proven to positively impact on many aspects of life and the start of life is no exception. For millennia, plant based remedies have been used successfully to help support mums while breastfeeding and to help with healing the womb post childbirth. It isn't always easy for mums to breastfeed, and plant medicine can help support them during this time.
Traditionally, breastfeeding teas are used for nutrient support during breastfeeding to provide a nourishing boost to both baby and mum. Good nutrition plays an essential role in the process of breast milk production.
Professionally formulated plant based remedial teas comprise of plants that are nourishing (high in minerals) and are also galactagogues (which help increase breast milk production), along with calming herbs to support digestion and absorption of foods for the baby. Babies are born with an immature digestive tract and digestive support via breastmilk gently helps them.Common traditional plants for regular production of good quality and flow of breastmilk are fennel, aniseed, chamomile, nettle, raspberry leaf, goat's rue, dill, and blessed thistle in various combinations. They must be of the highest quality and free of herbicides and pesticides which is best verified by independent organic certification.
Raspberry leaf is great for both the mother and the baby; it has a dual purpose, acting as a galactagogue as well as supporting uterine involution after birth.
Newborns often have tummy discomfort and excess wind. Carminative plants like fennel and aniseed are high in volatile oils which can help support and calm the digestive tract and promote stomach comfort.
Chamomile is also a highly effective plant that is helpful for supporting healthy digestion. The volatile oils from chamomile, fennel and aniseed are passed to the baby though breast milk.
Sometimes it is not milk supply that can make breastfeeding difficult but sore, cracked nipples or trouble latching. Midwives and lactation consultants have specific knowledge and can support breastfeeding women with proven techniques. A remedial cream that contains organic calendula, chickweed and nettle can preserve the integrity of the skin and soothe tender breast tissue for relief pain.
If you're having trouble breastfeeding, talk to your leading healthcare professional.