Supporting Milk Supply

Have you recently given birth and noticed that you are having issues with your supply of milk? Did you know acupuncture can help with insufficient lactation?

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Breast milk is the main food source for infants and breastfeeding has been shown to provide many benefits to both the mother and baby. Breastfeeding benefits the baby by increasing the baby’s immunity while decreasing the risk of respiratory tract infections and diarrhea, lowering the risk of asthma, food allergies, type 1 diabetes, and leukemia. Breastfeeding may also help with cognitive development and decrease the risk of obesity in adulthood. Breastfeeding also benefits the mother in a number of ways including better uterus shrinkage and less postpartum depression. Long term benefits that have been seen for mother’s that breastfeed are a decreased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

While breastfeeding has many benefits to both mother and baby, there are many women that suffer from a lack of sufficient milk supply. Insufficient lactation usually occurs 2-6 weeks after birth. A decreased amount of milk supply can be caused for a number of reasons. Some examples are a difficult birth, excessive bleeding after birth, history of miscarriage, IVF treatments, multiple children, high levels of stress and tension, and age. The great news is that acupuncture can help increase milk supply. Acupuncture restores the normal breast milk production by nourishing and regenerating the body’s blood supply and fluids that are lost during the birthing process. Research conducted at the Hanzhong Shanxi Hospital demonstrates that specific acupuncture points significantly boosts lactation quantities. This study showed that women who had acupuncture successfully increased breast milk secretion from an average of 49.63 ml to 115.21 ml. In addition to the increased milk quantity, the lactating mothers receiving acupuncture had improvement in levels of prolactin (the hormone that stimulates milk production).

If you have any questions regarding how acupuncture can help with your breast milk supply or to schedule an appointment feel free to contact the office at 312.321.0004 or you can contact me directly at christina@pullingdownthemoon.com .

Christina is available in Chicago Wednesday mornings, Buffalo Grove Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays, then starting on May 22nd, she will be available in Highland Park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Christina Livas L.Ac.

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325417/

** http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1773-acupuncture-boosts-breast-milk-production

** https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254627208600382

Anna’s News: Traditional Chinese Medicine Increases Breast Milk Supply

by Anna Pyne, LAc, MSOM, FABORM

Acupuncture and herbs are the main treatment modalities in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). I have helped treat a myriad of postpartum women struggling with insufficient breast milk using both therapies. It is important to establish a good supply at the very beginning so that it is easier to maintain it. That is not to say however that TCM is not an effective treatment at a later date.

There is one particular acupuncture point that has the single function of enhancing breast milk. This is quite unusual as typically each point is useful for treating a multitude of different issues. Needling this point is the most potent way of stimulating it. The location is on the outer corner of the nailbed on the pinky finger. It is typically tolerated by most patients quite easily, however for those few that are a bit needle sensitive I have placed a small gold pellet that sticks to the point which does not penetrate the skin. Doing this makes it portable as well, meaning the patient can walk out of the office and continue the treatment outside of the acupuncture session every time the patient presses the gold pellet. Of course there are many other points that help enhance breast milk supply and when a number of these appropriate points are used together with this especially specific one, it greatly impacts breast milk supplementation. Patients have reported starting to feel engorged while lying on the table with the needles placed during treatment. I have also heard feedback (and personally experienced) that more milk is produced at the next pumping session.

There are a number of wonderful single herbs as well as formulas that benefit the breast and support breast milk supply. I typically use herbs with acupuncture when treating this problem for optimal treatment results, but have seen great benefits with using herbs alone without acupuncture, and vice versa. I also teach a class at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) on traditional Chinese herbs for postpartum care, which includes the topic of breast milk insufficiency.

If you have any questions or to learn more please email me at anna@pullingdownthemoon.com or any of our other acupuncturists.

Call our office to schedule an appointment (312)321-0004.

Anna Pyne LAc MSOM FABORM

anna@pullingdownthemoon.com

Anna’s News: New Research Supports Acupuncture for Postpartum Depression

Anna’s News: New Research Supports Acupuncture for Postpartum Depression

Now that your miracle baby has arrived you might surprisingly find yourself feeling less than thrilled. The postpartum period is typically its own emotional roller-coaster ride, as there are great hormonal changes that come with the readjustment of your pregnant self to your newly non-pregnant self. It is normal to feel the baby blues directly after however some women have a harder time. Postpartum depression is an overwhelming condition that includes feelings of extreme fluctuations in mood, loss of appetite, intense irritability and anger, lack of joy, difficulty bonding with your baby, exhaustion, loss of interest in sex, feelings of shame guilt or inadequacy, and withdrawal from family and friends. Thankfully acupuncture is a safe way to treat postpartum depression.

Typically only a few acupuncture sessions are required for rebuilding the body and mind postpartum assuming there are no complications from labor and delivery, however when dealing with postpartum depression treatment will need to be extended. Acupuncture frequency will directly relate to the intensity of the presenting symptoms. I have helped many patients with postpartum depression using acupuncture in conjunction with a psychologist. Current research supports acupuncture used simultaneously with psychological intervention has the same high success rates as taking an oral medication alone, with the benefit of not experiencing any of the drug’s negative side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and lack of appetite.* For more information feel free to email me or call us to schedule an acupuncture appointment!

Anna Pyne LAc MSOM FABORM

*http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11726-014-0805-7

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