We all know that breastfeeding is the ideal way to provide nutrition while intimately bonding with our babies, but most new moms run into nursing obstacles in those early weeks and months. One of the lactation problems some moms face is insufficient lactation. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) standpoint, this can be due to 2 reasons- either lack of milk production or inhibited flow of breast milk.
Lack of Milk Production:
Lack of milk production is a condition of depletion and deficiency. The mother is unable to support the production of breast milk because her reserves have been taxed due to either a long labor, excessive blood loss during labor, a Cesarean delivery, history of malnutrition, or current insufficient nutrition. The mother’s health suffers, as does her ability to produce an adequate milk supply.
Inhibited Flow of Breast Milk:
This is an excess condition where milk production is abundant, but the flow of the milk through the milk ducts is hindered. Breast milk backs up, and this leads to distension and discomfort. Engorgement of breast milk falls into this category.
From a clinical standpoint, we have witnessed acupuncture and herbal therapies work exceptionally well in both of these situations. As clinicians, we use point prescriptions that have been used for thousands of years to encourage breast milk production and milk flow. Not only do we help with lactation problems, but we can get to the root of the matter and address the physical and emotional causes that are also affecting other aspects of the mother’s health.
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