Breastfeeding is an art that used to be passed along to the next generation of mothers verbally and through observation. Nowadays, in our modern societies, women are no longer intimately exposed to other women breastfeeding and therefore, when their turn comes, many women are left with many questions and the inability to breastfeed the best way possible. This may lead to improper latching techniques, which may lead to sore, cracked nipples, bleeding, inadequate feeding, etc. In addition, many women, lacking the knowledge of how to breastfeed in an efficient manner, may not feed from both breasts equally, which can lead to blocked ducts and mastitis, other sources of pain which can make breastfeeding a negative experience for many women. In fact, these may be enough of a reason for many women to decide to stop nursing their babes. These events could be prevented by educating women on the art of breastfeeding before they start nursing and thus leading to more positive experiences than what we often hear about in our society. Fortunately, if you suffer from some of the issues mentioned above, there are many homeopathic remedies that are affordable and effective to help you through some of these unpleasant episodes!
Sore, cracked nipples:
- Calcarea carbonica: If you need this remedy, you have tender, swollen breasts, have stitching pains while nursing and may have a scantly milk supply.
- Graphites: In this remedy, you will find cracks that ooze a sticky, yellow, honey-like fluid. The nipples may be itchy, and the breasts are swollen and hard. You may have blisters as well. The main feature in this remedy is the moist, sticky, crusty, honey-like fluid.
- Phytolacca: You need this remedy if your nipples have deep cracks with intense pain on putting the baby to the breast. The breasts may be stony hard and the pain during nursing may extend from the nipple to the whole body. There may be bloody, watery discharge from the breast and you might find relief from putting pressure on the affected breast.
- Belladonna: You may need this remedy if the inflammation starts very suddenly and you may also have a sudden onset of a high fever. The affected breast is very red, hot and painful. You may also get a red streak that radiates from the area and you may look flushed and sweaty. Usually the right breast is mainly affected.
- Bryonia: The affected breast can look pale and very engorged. The onset of symptoms is slower than if you were to need Belladonna. Any movement makes the pain worse and so, you may want to lie still and carefully hold the breast in an effort not to move it. You may also find relief from lying on the affected side, which keeps it from moving. Breasts are hot, painful and hard.
- Phytolacca: Consider this remedy if you have intense pain that can radiate from the nipple down the arm and the rest of the body. The main characteristics are the stony hard, lumpy and painful breasts.
* Remember to keep nursing your babe from both breasts during an episode of mastitis.
Engorged breasts and blocked ducts:
The remedies used for mastitis can be used in addition to warm compresses on the affected breast and warm showers.
In addition to the above homeopathic remedies, topical applications of calendula tincture can give immediate relief. Buy the tincture and add 1 teaspoon of it to 1 cup of warm water and apply with gauze or a piece of cloth as needed. In my personal and professional experience, the Unda 270 ointment is a life saver as well. It is a lanolin based botanical ointment that in my opinion, should be a home staple. It can also be used for diaper rash, dry, cracked winter skin, eczema and on your lips too. Vitamin E oil is also very soothing and helps to promote fast healing. All of these products do not need to be rinsed off before feeding your babe.
The pain caused by these issues can be overwhelming; keep in mind that there are solutions to these problems and seek professional help if you are not achieving relief on your own. Remember that breastfeeding is not meant to be a painful experience and with the right tools, you will have a magnificent time nursing your babe!
Aida Martinez Chorro is a naturopathic doctor and homeopath who loves working with children and their families. She uses safe and natural interventions to help children with autism, digestive conditions, as well as working with those who want to be proactive about their aging brain and who have family histories of dementia. But what she’s really passionate about is giving families the results they want to see and helping them lead happier lives together.
She practices at the North Toronto Homeopathic Medicine and Wellness Centre in the Yonge and Lawrence neighbourhood. You can find out more information by calling 647-887-8117, by visiting www.thehealthpath.ca, or on Facebook at Natural Health Solutions by Aida Martinez Chorro, Naturopathic doctor.