Milk doesn’t flow easily and abundantly for some mothers & there can be various reasons for this. From a Chinese Medicine framework, It is understood that a woman’s menstrual blood is converted into breast milk once the baby is born. This is the same blood that was going to the placenta prior to birth. Energy (Qi) is required to convert her blood into milk, and blood itself is required to become the milk.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective lactation disorders fall into distinct categories:
- Low milk supply
- Milk not flowing
Mastitis is the third category that can be inptoved If the the blockage in the ducts are cleared and acupuncture can be helpful but requires immediate support.
Low Milk Supply
Low supply is diagnosis as an insufficient of energy (Qi) and blood supply in the mother.
- Anaemia or blood loss during delivery can result in a low supply of the mother’s blood resulting in poor milk supply.
- Exhaustion due to labor and sleep deprivation can prevent the mother’s body from producing milk because there is not enough energy to generate the milk.
Milk not flowing
- Problems with let down: diagnosed as stagnation of energy (Qi preventing milk from moving down the ducts and out of the nipple).
- Often It is not unusual for a mother to have a combination of both low supply & stagnation.
- Emotional Flow: stress or post birth trauma and the emotions of frustration, anger have an influence on the energetic flow through the breast and nipple area. This is due to the connection to the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.
Tips for increasing the flow
Acupressure for let down
Applying acupressure on GB 21 while breast feeding or as a part of a daily shoulder massage. This can help let down and move energy through the breast and nipple area.
Build Weak Qi & Blood
Acupuncture & Moxibustion
Weekly acupuncture sessions plus daily self moxa on a couple of key acupuncture points, Si 1 and St 36 can help build supply.
Get on good breast feeding tonic or prescribed Chinese herbal formula.
- Organ and free-range meats and poultry eggs.
- collagen-rich soups made from ham-hocks or chicken with the skin included in the soup stock.
- if vegetarian, a protein-rich diet is important.
- Purchase or make placenta cookies.
- Refer to Foods For Recovery In The Golden Month for recipes.
If you still got your placenta, encapsulation is also a great choice for postnatal replenishment.