Breastmilk is indisputably the best food for your baby. For those of you who have chosen to breastfeed, it may be disheartening when you encounter challenges in the process. Breastfeeding does not come easy to everyone, even if you have the strongest intentions of doing so. Unfortunately, too many women feel that they are not able to lactate or not able to produce enough milk when they encounter issues and give it up easily and early on. Additionally, many doctors and other health practitioners are supportive of breastfeeding, as long as there are no challenges. They are unable to troubleshoot with mothers and are too quick to recommend feeding the child formula. This can lead to many women giving up breastfeeding.
This article is dedicated to those new mothers who want to breastfeed but who are having challenges and are considering giving it up. Please know that the majority of new mothers HAVE an innate ability to lactate and supply enough for their baby’s demands. Please know that there is nothing wrong with your body and its ability to function properly. Also, please know that many of the issues that women are encountering during breastfeeding are fixable. Most importantly, rest assured that with the right help and some perseverance, things will get easier. As a new mother of a precious 2-week old baby and can personally relate to the challenges that can come with breastfeeding and how frustrating, heartbreaking, defeating, humbling and exhausting it can be to deal with this. From this personal experience, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to not give up! Before you consider giving up on breastfeeding your child and giving him/her the best nourishment possible, consider the following tips:
- Seek help. If your primary care provider does not offer a referral to a breastfeeding clinic when you report the challenges you are having, ask for it! It is their duty to give you the referral. At a breastfeeding clinic, your child will be assessed for tongue-ties or lip-ties, your technique will also be assessed and you will be taught proper latching techniques in addition to many breastfeeding positions. These clinics are covered by OHIP, with the exception of the Newman Breastfeeding clinic, where you pay around $70 for a visit.
- Another source of help are private lactation consultants that can come to your home to provide the above mentioned help. These services are not covered by OHIP but very well worth the investment.
- In the meantime, find a place of peace within yourself in order to relax and stay positive. Think of the day that all these hurdles will be resolved and you will be able to feed your baby the perfect nectar that is breastmilk. Visualize that day, what it will feel like and how your life will be so much better than it is now. Keep in mind that the more stressed and conflicted you are, the worse the challenges can get. Additionally, it may be necessary to visit a naturopathic doctor for help with stress management.
- Consider the following herbs to help stimulate milk production: blessed thistle, fenugreek, miringa, fennel, and goats rue. Consult a naturopathic doctor for specific dosages.
- Applying warm compresses over the breasts before feeding can help to improve the flow of milk.
- Set a clear limit to how much you’re willing and able to do and be at peace with this. If you reach this limit with no success, it is likely healthier to move on and be at peace with the idea of feeding your babe with formula than to continue driving yourself mad and exhausted from continuing to try to breastfeed.
Please also remember that no matter how you feed your babe, what’s important is the bonding, love and nurturing that you so abundantly give your child. Knowing that you’ve tried your best and being less stressed out will make your life a lot easier and you’ll be able to enjoy your babe fully.
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 or by visiting www.thehealthpath.ca