Here at Alpenglow we see many new moms looking to use acupuncture and Chinese medicine to support lactation. Time and time again we have seen acupuncture work incredibly well for new mothers with hypogalactia, or low milk secretion levels.
As many new mothers know, the postpartum period can very much be a mixed bag. It can absolutely be a time of intense beauty, intimacy and connection with your new baby, as well as can generate a sense of awe and empowerment from the act of growing and bringing a child into the world. Additionally, there can also be a lot of stress, change, and transition. A new baby completely changes your world. A new routine, a completely new focus, a changing relationship with your partner, a new relationship to your own body and psyche - the psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual changes a new mother goes through can be intense, deeply felt, and at times harrowing. This can be compounded by a difficult pregnancy and labor situation, financial stress and apprehension about work/life balance now that a child is in the picture, and managing family and friends who are eager to see the new addition to your life.
All of these factors, including the many bodily and physiological changes a woman goes through in the process of gestating and delivery a baby can tax and deplete the body’s energy. This is one of the big factors we see underlying a lot of insufficient lactation presentations in the clinic. The beautiful thing about receiving acupuncture is that it helps stimulate your body’s natural capacity to self-regulate and heal, and during the postpartum period this translates into relieving symptoms of fatigue, boosting energy levels, boosting the mood and calming the mind, and promoting and increasing milk production.
A course of acupuncture treatments to support lactation may include a recommendation to come in twice per week to start. Treatments spaced closer together in the beginning can help to increase the efficacy of the acupuncture to start off with. Once milk production has increased and become stable, treatments can be tapered off to once a week and every two weeks after that. New mothers can also bring their baby into the clinic as well, who can (hopefully!) rest and nap while mom is receiving an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture treatments are always holistically oriented, meaning that they are meant to not only support such physiological processes such as lactation, but also help to address your whole entire sense of wellbeing in body, mind, and spirit. It’s a chance to receive some nurturance and support at a time when you’re giving so much to your new baby.
Importantly, good nutrition and calorie intake is so important to meet the energy requirements of feeding a new baby. New mothers need in the range of 5,000 calories per day. A great resource for supporting postpartum nutrition is Maga Mama’s The Fourth Trimester Food Program (https://www.magamama.com/the-fourth-trimester-food/). Healthy fats, protein, and nutrient dense whole foods are key. And I hope it goes without saying, but it is so important to know that struggling and working with breastfeeding and lactation is no way a personal failing. It’s not personal! It happens, it’s totally okay, it can be worked with, and there is a lot of support out there. Growing and bringing a baby into the world is no small feat. It’s truly an incredibly thing. New moms need all of the love, encouragement and support just like their babies, and we are so happy to be able to support moms and their little ones here at the clinic.