One of the things I love about East Asian Medicine is that it has so very much to offer women: From menarche to menopause, and quiet a bit around the childbearing years.
Once pregnancy and labor and delivery have occurred, the next big potential obstacle is breastfeeding. Baby’s are born to breastfeed and the breastfed infant is the healthy norm. Though breastfeeding is a natural progression from pregnancy it is not always easy. Having accurate information and expectations are essential for success and sanity during the transition from pregnancy to mothering a newborn.
It is best to get informed well before you new baby is nestling in your arms ready to nurse. Going to a local La Leche League meeting or attending a Spokane Mindful Mamas meeting can be a useful introduction to newborn nursing expectations.
There are many good on-line and local resources for breastfeeding information. Including, but not limited to: llli.org, biologicalnurturing.com, Alicia Burgett resources page if full of great resources. Bloomspokane.com lists a number of local lactation support services.
Good information and putting baby successfully to breast as frequently as baby needs (watch the baby and not the clock) is essential for success. Most healthy newborns will need to feed every 1-4 hours in the early weeks. Check out the variety of resources for information on a good latch, as a general rule the baby’s mouth should be wide open, with lips flanged out, chin pressed into the breast and tongue cupping a portion of the areola as well as the nipple. Though it may be somewhat tender and a strong sensation, it should not be toe curling painful and nipples should not be damaged after a good latch.
Remember the first few days until the milk “comes in” the baby is getting colostrum which is full of immune protection for baby and primes baby’s GI to thrive and promotes passage of meconium. The early nursing also helps mom’s uterus return closer to pre-pregnancy size and can lessen uterine bleeding. The early nursing not only give baby the precious teaspoons of colostrum, it also primes the breasts to make enough milk to completely nourish the infant for six months or more and continue to nourish baby well into toddlerhood provided it is mutually desirable for mom and child.
Good breastfeeding management is essential. If there are problems, or if there is a history of breastfeeding supply issues from previous pregnancies; acupuncture and nutritional support can be essential for breastfeeding success.
If there is a history insufficient milk supply, treatment during pregnancy has helped support proper breast development and eliminated or lessened milk supply issues. Once baby is out, if milk is not flowing or has not come in within 3 days, acupuncture and nutritional therapy can promote flow and milk production as well as sooth the nerves of a new mother. As an Acupuncturist , Clinical Nutritionist and La Leche League leader, I have information and tools to help most mothers and baby’s successfully breastfeed.