In the past weeks, I have had the privilege of treating several mothers with new babies. They had issues around breastfeeding, such as mastitis, over/under productive milk supply, and exhaustion from night nursing.
As with pregnancy, homeopathic remedies provide safe and effective treatments for both mother and child during the early days, weeks, and months of life. Remedies can be prescribed to help regulate a milk supply that seems to be too high, leading to engorgement. This makes it difficult for a baby to ‘latch on’, can cause discomfort to the mother and increase the likelihood of mastitis, a hard, painful lump that appears on the breast from a blocked milk duct. Other remedies can be prescribed to a new mother who is not producing enough milk, to help stimulate lactation and to address sore and cracked nipples.
There are specific remedies for mastitis, which can interfere with breastfeeding because of pain and flu-like symptoms for the mother. If these symptoms appear it is important that the new mother get support as soon as possible by contacting her homeopath, nurse mid-wife, and/or lactation consultant. In most cases, a homeopathic and/or herbal remedy will support the body’s healing response and the mother is encouraged to continue to nurse as it is no danger to the baby. Also, emptying the milk ducts will facilitate any blocked ducts and/or ease inflammation locally. Although very rare, in serious cases antibiotics may be prescribed by a physician.
For the new mother who is breastfeeding, feeling exhausted and depleted, there is support both physically and emotionally. One such remedy is called Cocculus, which is specific to ailments from night-nursing and known to help support energy levels, re-establish sleep patterns, and ease anxiety and agitation from exhaustion.
I have extensive experience with Le Leche League, an international lactation support organization. I can also recommend books and resources for support around other issues that occur during breastfeeding, night-time parenting and baby-wearing, for parents who chose to explore these parenting options.