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Breastfeeding

Over 70% of all women with newborns in the U.S. currently breastfeed their babies and that percentage is growing- and for good reason. There is a tremendous amount of evidence that breastfeeding improves immune function in infants. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2011 report, compared with breast fed infants, babies who drink formula are more prone to ear infections and diarrhea in the first six months and face a higher lifetime risk of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

However, breastfeeding often presents challenges for new moms, such as nipple pain/cracking, engorgement (swelling and discomfort with soreness of the nipples), mastitis, and/or inadequate or excessive milk supply. These challenges can be incredibly frustrating and even result in new moms discontinuing breastfeeding entirely. Introducing homeopathy to breastfeeding moms can be tremendously helpful in addressing these challenges and help to make the breastfeeding experience more enjoyable for all. Plus, homeopathic remedies are safe for breastfeeding moms and infants, without a risk of negative or dangerous side effects.  

When choosing a remedy one should examine the breasts to see if there is any discoloration or visible swelling or anything unusual about the nipples. The texture and appearance of the milk produced should also be examined. Finally, observe whether the child has any problems with feeding.

Here are a few of the breastfeeding challenges new moms may struggle with and some of the common remedies to consider for them:

Cracked/Sore Nipples

  • Graphites: the cracks are itchy; may be oozing a honey-like discharge.
  • Nitricum acidum: for bleeding and painful cracks.
  • Phytolacca: For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu like symptoms, or may have a breast abscess threatening.

Mastitis/Painful Breasts/Clogged Ducts

  • Belladonna: Sudden onset with intense symptoms. Worse on the right side. Breast(s) is red, hot and hard and can be marked by red streaks. The patient is very uncomfortable being touched or jarred and may have a craving for lemons or lemonade.
  • Bryonia: Breasts are very painful with motion and the patient is quite irritable. While the breasts are hot and painful as well as hard they are not as red as with Belladonna. Problem can be worse around 9:00PM. Mucus membranes of patient may also be dry (lips, etc.) and they may complain of pains and aches all over. They are worse from any motion and better from pressure to the breast. They also tend to be very thirsty.
  • Calcarea carb: Breasts can be hot and swollen but pale in color. The patient will complain of being chilly with a tendency to perspire in fact they can perspire even when cold. There may be production of excess watery milk or deficiency of milk. The milk may also disagree with the child. The woman is worse from exertion or a cold room and has a strong craving for eggs and a strong desire for dairy including cheese. Warmth makes the patient feel better.
  • Phytolacca: For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu like symptoms, or may have a breast abscess threatening.
  • Pulsatilla: Breast milk can be watery, suppressed or blocked or flow profusely. The flow may also be quite variable. The patient tends to have symptoms that change often. They also tend to be yielding in nature and easily brought to tears with a warm personality. They can cry while nursing the baby. Patient is worse in a warm room and much better in open air. They are also thirstless.
  • Urtica urens: No breast milk is produced at all and there does not seem to be a cause for the problem. Breasts can be swollen with stinging pains like the sting of a bee. The breasts may also itch. Patient can also experience a stinging or itching rash. There is an aggravation from cold and cold bathing.

Milk Supply Problems

  • Calcarea carb: Breasts can be hot and swollen but pale in color. The patient will complain of being chilly with a tendency to perspire in fact they can perspire even when cold. There may be production of excess watery milk or deficiency of milk. The milk may also disagree with the child. The woman is worse from exertion or a cold room and has a strong craving for eggs and a strong desire for dairy including cheese. Warmth makes the patient feel better.
  • Lac caninum: will address milk flow issues that switch from side to side.  The patient may feel a conflict between nursing and the sexuality of her breasts.
  • Pulsatilla: Breast milk can be watery, suppressed or blocked or flow profusely. The flow may also be quite variable. The patient tends to have symptoms that change often. They also tend to be yielding in nature and easily brought to tears with a warm personality. They can cry while nursing the baby. Patient is worse in a warm room and much better in open air. They are also thirstless.
  • Ricinus communis: can help increase milk secretion. Make sure to use in the right potency because different potencies of Ricinus act differently in the body - 6C improves milk secretion while 30C reduces milk supply and is used for weaning.
  • Urtica urens: No breast milk is produced at all and there does not seem to be a cause for the problem. Breasts can be swollen with stinging pains like the sting of a bee. The breasts may also itch. Patient can also experience a stinging or itching rash. There is an aggravation from cold and cold bathing.

Weaning

When to wean is a personal decision. To allow both mom and baby to adjust physically and emotionally to the change, weaning should be a gradual process. Weaning is easier and painless if you take homeopathic medicines. They decrease the milk supply, thus relieving the swelling of the breasts and the pain. The most commonly used homeopathic medicines for weaning include:

  • Lac caninum: use a 30C potency.
  • Pulsatilla: use a 30C potency.
  • Ricinus communis: Use a 30C potency. Make sure to use in the right potency because different potencies of Ricinus exert a different action - 6C improves milk secretion while 30C reduces milk supply and is used for weaning.

Learn how much to take and how often to take a remedy.