Support for Breastfeeding in Ottawa
Compared to my motherâ€™s generation, there is much more information out there encouraging mothers to breastfeed. We now know that breastfeeding reduces an infant’s risk of respiratory tract infections, ear infections, eczema, asthma and diabetes, among other benefits.Â Yet for many women breastfeeding can still present challenges. Studies show that although most women intend to breastfeed, many stop earlier than they had planned because when problems occur, support can be inadequate. The World Health Organizationâ€™s Breastfeeding Committee found that women who intend to breastfeed often experience conflicting advice, lack of properly trained support, and lack of information about how formula feeding can negatively affect breastfeeding.
Personally, I found breastfeeding more challenging than I expected the first time around, but was lucky enough to have the guidance of my midwife from the moment my baby was born. That, combined with a couple of homeopathic remedies, helped smooth out our somewhat rocky start. Later on, I needed the help of a trained lactation consultant as well. Without those supports I would not have succeeded, despite my best intentions.
Homeopathy is an enormously beneficial support for breastfeeding mothers. The medicines are very gentle and safe during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and for newborns. Â Homeopathy can treat engorgement, breast and nipple pain, thrush (candida albicans), milk supply issues, colic, as well as emotional states that interfere with breastfeeding, such as postpartum depression and anxiety.
Homeopathy is especially useful when the situation is unusual and the prescribed approaches havenâ€™t worked. Because homeopathy is so individualized, I am often able to find solutions where others havenâ€™t worked.Â Sometimes there is a chronic underlying issue in the motherâ€™s health that needs to be addressed as well.
Here are some examples from my practice:
- Storm called me for treatment of a sharp shooting pain in her breast on one side only, during nursing. She had been told it was thrush and to try gentian violet, but it kept coming back. I took note of her unusual symptoms (common thrush symptoms were absent) and prescribed a remedy specifically for her, called Phellandrium. It worked within hours and there was no recurrence.
- Jennifer was having trouble with engorgement. Every movement seemed to jar and cause agony. She could hardly breastfeed because her breasts were hard and the nipples were almost flattened out, so the baby had a hard time latching on. She had tried expressing some milk but found that difficult, and cabbage leaves and hot showers had helped a little but the problem kept recurring. I prescribed Bryonia which resolved things quickly.
Homeopathy is uniquely able to take both physical and emotional symptoms into account to find a solution:
- A mom called me with a very colicky 7 week old baby who cried day and night. She tried several common homeopathic remedies for colic, to no effect. Then she told me her baby had a fear of the dark â€“ very unusual in a newborn.Â I prescribed a remedy based on both the colic symptoms and fear of the dark, and the baby stopped crying and even started sleeping through the night.Â I also gave the mother Ricinus communis which increased her milk supply dramatically.
- A mom called me because her milk supply had dwindled and she was supplementing with formula for every feed. She had recently been upset by a conflict with someone she cared about and was feeling that she had been treated unjustly. The remedy I gave her for her milk supply also was for the emotional symptom. Along with other breastfeeding advice, her milk supply increased substantially and she was able to wean off the formula completely over a few weeks.
General advice for women who plan to breastfeed:
- Do some research and reading before the birth; make a list of support people and their phone numbers to have on hand.
- Establish a good latch as early as possible â€“ and don’t hesitate to find some help in the first 24 hours if you need it.
- Get as much sleep as you can â€“ this will seem impossible, but it is very important in establishing your milk flow. Take naps every time the baby naps, and drink lots of water.
Breastfeeding Resources in Ottawa:
- Homeopathy helps problems such as milk supply, engorgement, thrush, nipple and breast pain, colic, and postpartum depression. www.homeopathyottawa.com
- La Leche League holds regular meetings and can offer advice on specific problems you might be facing.Â www.lalecheleaguecanada.ca
- Lactation Consultants have a high level of training and provide hands on help. They also offer breastfeeding clinics. http://www.ovlc.net/
- Ottawa Breastfeeding Buddies pairs breastfeeding moms with new moms. Ottawa Public Health Information 613-580-6744.
- Dr. Jack Newmanâ€™s Guide to Breastfeeding is an excellent resource, as is his website, which offers tons of free advice and videos. www.drjacknewman.com