The benefits of breastfeeding are seemingly endless, both for a new baby and their mother. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breastfed babies have a lower incidence of certain illnesses as an infant as well as later in life.
The same is true for breastfeeding moms, who are reported to experience lower rates of some cancers, diabetes, and hypertension compared to women who do not breastfeed. Despite the benefits, various obstacles deter mothers from breastfeeding their babies, one of which is insufficient milk production.
What causes a low breast milk supply?
Many factors can contribute to an inadequate supply of breast milk. Hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, high stress, and diet can all be contributing factors. Sometimes a mother may believe she does not have an adequate supply of breast milk. However, in reality, there is a blockage that is preventing the milk from flowing through the ducts to the nipple. In addition to not having enough milk to feed the baby, such a blockage can lead to a painful condition known as mastitis, in which the blocked ducts become infected.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) emphasizes how emotions can play a role in milk blockages and low supply. The stress and sadness that are often characteristic of the postpartum period are precisely the types of emotions that can contribute to energetic blockages that impact milk production. This can prove to be a vicious cycle, with a mother's frustration and anxiety over not producing enough milk further reducing her milk supply.
How does acupuncture improve breast milk production?
Acupuncture can address both low supply and breast milk blockages, including mastitis. Acupuncture stimulates blood and energy flow by inserting tiny, painless needles at various points on the body. By stimulating the corresponding points, an acupuncturist can promote the flow of blood and energy in the milk ducts, clearing blockages and allowing milk to flow. It can also stimulate the correct hormones to regulate stress, mood, sleep, and other factors that may be contributing to a low milk supply.
Although acupuncture alone can trigger significant improvements, there are a number of factors mothers should be concerned with to promote successful breastfeeding. The baby’s latch, the mother’s diet, and other health conditions are important to consider. Acupuncture can complement other treatments, including antibiotics, in the case of mastitis. Herbs, massage, and proper nutrition can all support milk production in concert with acupuncture. If you are working with a lactation specialist acupuncture can be an additional therapy to help improve milk supply.
Breast milk production is just one of many reproductive health issues that acupuncture can support. At Deanna Carell acupuncture, we specialize in acupuncture for pregnancy. We also understand that breastfeeding is not an option for every mother and will support you in that decision as well. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how acupuncture can promote your health and your baby's before, during, and after pregnancy.
Have you never been to an acupuncture appointment?
Deanna Carell Acupuncture is welcoming new patients to our office. Our natural, acupuncture and facial microneedling treatments are tailored to your specific needs, and are used to create a healthy healing environment for your mind and body. For a consultation to meet with the acupuncturists please call our office or contact us through our online form