Wherever possible, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended (by the NHMRC and WHO) for the first six months of life - this imparts benefit to both a mother and her baby. Breast milk is the best formula available, it contains all the nutrition a newborn needs and even high-quality supplemental formulas will not contain the same balance of specific and digestible nutrients. Breast milk also supports the development of a strong and healthy immune system in these brand-new humans. It is rich in immunoglobulins, B-cells, T-cells, neutrophils, macrophages and antibodies - all of which play an integral role in growing healthy, bouncing babies.
Many new mothers find breastfeeding a challenge - particularly in the early days - and this may occur for a number of reasons. Luckily, in the majority of cases, these hurdles can be overcome. During this phase it's important to accept help and assistance from a qualified support network (e.g. nurse, midwife, lactation consultant, naturopath) - you won't regret it!
There are a number of common challenges to breastfeeding, including poor milk production, difficulty latching and recurrent infections (e.g. mastitis). Our practitioners can help you manage some of these obstacles and support your choice to breastfeed. She will work in conjunction with your other health practitioners to ensure you get the best possible care.
- Lactation can be improved with the use of galactagogue herbs, by improving the diet, ensuring adequate hydration and supporting the nervous system.
- Mastitis can be treated and prevented from recurring by building immune function, energy production and improving nutrition.
Oftentimes, simple dietary changes can have a big impact. For example, ensuring mum's eating and drinking enough - it's interesting how these things get forgotten when there's a new baby to look after! Nutritional supplementation can also be extremely beneficial, particularly if there's a clear deficiency - for example, iron and essential fatty acids.
When prescribed by a professional, herbal medicine can be incredibly helpful following the birth of a baby. Herbs can be used to aid a timely recovery from labour and birth, increase the flow of milk, soothe cranky or colicky babies, and improve energy (which is often in deficit).
When to visit the clinic
Ideally, it is good to book in for a health review at the start of your pregnancy and again at the end of each trimester. Closer to your due date, at around week 36 to 38, a longer consultation is recommended. During this appointment you can discuss how best to prepare for the birth and the big life changes to follow.
Acupuncture is recommended during the first trimester, to maintain a health pregnancy and prevent miscarriage - particularly beneficial in women with a history of miscarriage. In the lead-up to birth, acupuncture will promote a healthy labour - research suggests that regular treatments can prevent miscarriage and reduce labour times. Weekly pre-birth acupuncture treatments are ideally commenced at a gestational age of 36 weeks. David, Zam and Julia are all experienced in working with women at this late stage of pregnancy.
- Acupressure for pain relief in labour: learn it here
- Acupuncture as a pre-birth and labour induction treatment
- Acupuncture for a healthy pregnancy
- Acupuncture for back pain relief in pregnancy
- Acupuncture for morning sickness relief
- Morning sickness and natural medicine
- Acupuncture to turn a breech position foetus
- Breastfeeding support
- Bringing on baby: a pre-birth guide to natural medicine