Acupuncture and breastfeeding

April 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm (Uncategorized)

A client who’d had her baby 3 days ago called me, asking if it was normal for her breasts to be rock-hard, sore, and for no milk to be coming out.  I comisserated with her about engorgement, and suggested cabbage leaves to relieve the pain, and reverse pressure softening to help her baby latch on.  I made plans to visit her that afternoon, so I could watch her breastfeeding and see if I had any tips for her. 

When I arrived at her house a few hours later, her acupuncturist was there.  She was working specifically on the engorgement, trying to relieve the heat and get the energy moving.  I puttered around, doing dishes and bringing a slightly jaundiced Mr. Baby outside for a brief sunbath.  When the treatment was over, my client wanted to try nursing.  We woke her baby, and with the help of some RPS (an incredibly simple and helpful technique) she got him latched on.  As soon as he started nursing, her other breast started leaking milk (before that she’d only been able to express colostrum).  In a few seconds, we started to see her baby’s jaw move in the suck-swallow pattern, and we heard the unmistakeable sound of him gulping down his first meal of mama milk.  After he’d nursed on each breast, her engorgement was relieved, and she felt much better.

We were all amazed at how quickly the acupuncture helped this mama.  She’d been trying to express milk all day, and her baby had been antsy and hungry while they both waited for her milk to come down.  Within less than five minutes of her treatment, milk was flowing freely and easily, and she was celebrating the fact that “these things *do* work!”  From now on, I’m going to recommend acupuncture to all my first-time nursing moms.

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