Sara Southgate - Naturopath & Herbalist

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Breastfeeding is the best thing we can do for our babies Breastfeeding is the best thing we can do for our babies

Breastfeeding is the best thing we can do for our babies – it gives them tailor-made food, full of the exact amounts of proteins for growth, essential fats for brain and nervous system development, immune factors to protect from infection – breastfed babies have fewer chest and ear infections, less diarrhoea and vomiting, a reduced chance of developing eczema and less chance of becoming obese or developing type II diabetes in later life.

Herbal medicine can be successfully used to increase breastmilk quality and quantity, and indeed to reduce supply if you have too much.

It is also great for Mums – it burns calories galore, helping you lose any additional weight, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and the oxytocin released during feeding helps bonding with your baby and it’s free!

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy – but most of the time you can overcome the difficulties of the early days – The National Childbirth Trust is a great resource and holds local breastfeeding clinics, as does La Leche League

To improve breastmilk supply You need galacatagogues, or herbs which increase breastmilk production. They include nettle tea (add a mint teabag if you don’t like the taste), raspberry leaf and fennel. Coconut milk is an excellent nourishing food for breastfeeding mothers. Include it in your diet frequently, and make sure you’re eating and drinking plenty of nutritious food and water.
Preventing sore nipples Express a drop of milk and rub it around the nipple and let it air dry.
Cracked nipples Calendula ointment is soothing and healing. Try and feed from alternate breasts and spread feeds out as long as possible to rest the nipple, and expose your nipples to the air.
Mastitis It is important to keep feeding your baby, especially on the affected side – you need to keep your breastmilk flowing to prevent infection taking hold. The area of the breast that will be most efficiently emptied is the area directly under the baby’s chin – lie your baby down flat on a bed, and position yourself above so that your baby’s chin is under the red area on your breast. Use warm flannels and gentle massage on your breast to help soothe pain and soften any congestion. Herbal medicine can successfully treat mastitis - seek professional help quickly.
Last modified on Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:41
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Sara Southgate

I am a naturopath and herbalist, with a decade's experience of working with natural remedies. I am a member of the United Register of Herbal Practitioners (URHP) and complete regular Continual Professional Development courses.

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