Breastfeeding tips: a newborn is a source of joy but also of responsibility on the part of the new mother: the important thing is serenity! Discover our advice, the most suitable breastfeeding supplements, which herbs to use in breastfeeding and which ones are contraindicated.
The baby was born, we became mothers, and our body is preparing to support it.The secretion of the breast begins immediately after the birth: the milk of the first five days is called colostrum, a concentrate of protective factors (antibodies) that fully meets the nutritional needs of the newborn. Usually, after the first few days, the breasts swell and can become tense: whipped milk is on the way, a moment in which the production of breast milk increases and its characteristics change. This is a new period in a woman’s life and it is important that it be faced with the utmost serenity.
Breastfeeding: tips and factors to Consider
First of all, breastfeeding is a very natural nutritional method that offers many practical and psychological advantages that must be taken into consideration when choosing how to breastfeed a newborn and you must be aware that most women are physically able to breastfeed: it is it is important, however, that they are encouraged to do so. For breastfeeding, WHO recognizes exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life as a public health practice for the entire world population.
Breastfeeding, if carried out with serenity and confidence, gives the mother a great feeling of indispensability and satisfaction while the newborn offers the possibility of a close and comfortable physical and sensorial relationship with his mother. Furthermore, breast milk does not only have a nutritional function: its composition gives it the following prerogatives: it selects an adequate saprophytic intestinal bacterial flora, specific for our species, which opposes the development of pathogenic microorganisms, has protective functions with both anti-infective and anti-inflammatory, in order to protect and at the same time modulate any defensive reactions that an immature organism that an immature organism would not be able to block.
Thanks to all this, breast milk can be considered a real biological system and an “extension” of the umbilical cord in extrauterine life. It is also known that there are many factors that contribute to favoring and maintaining a good milk supply, first of all the psychic condition of the nurse: worries, anxiety, convulsive rhythms of life and work, sorrows, and in general all the reasons for nervous tension inevitably tends to reduce the amount of milk produced and to have to look for alternatives to breast milk, first as “additions” then as a substitute for each meal.
It is therefore important that breastfeeding women try as much as possible not to return to work prematurely after birth and to maintain a regular and peaceful life as long as they can enjoy the baby. Rest is also essential for breastfeeding, especially in the first weeks after giving birth. It is also essential, especially for breastfeeding the first few days, certainly in the first 15-20 days of the baby’s life it is good to frequently stimulate the breast and nipple by attacking the baby as much as possible.
Breastfeeding: tips for Lactating diet
Nutrition, essential for health throughout our life, acquires a particular meaning during breastfeeding, because fresh and natural foods, and as far as possible, not contaminated, harmoniously chosen and suitably prepared, compete in a way decisive for the good quality of the milk. It in turn will constitute the basic material for the solid construction of cells and tissues in the baby, allowing him to take the first steps in his new life, safe and secure. A moderate physical activity would also be good for the diet, preferably outdoors and in healthy natural environments with exposure to the sun.
For a correct lactating diet:
- water is the best natural thirst quencher, followed by homemade herbal teas and juices;
- vegetables, legumes, fresh fruit, whole grains, would be, for breastfeeding, to be consumed in abundance; a curiosity: some foods also, such as cabbage, garlic, asparagus, onions, give a particular flavor to the milk that can become unwelcome to some infants and it is good to eliminate them from the diet if the newborn does not appreciate the taste; the artichoke seems to reduce the production of milk, while cold cuts, preserves, fermented cheeses, spices, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, sage, can cause digestive problems and bloating in the newborn;
- meat, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs; it is good that the diet is varied because it will favor the development of taste in the infant and the curiosity for food;
- foods to avoid while breastfeeding: refined foods, preserved, with additives, coffee more than twice a day, white sugar, spirits, pasteurized wine and beer (alcohol quickly passes into milk). Absolutely also no smoking! nicotine passes into breast milk and the infant may become irritable, agitated, and have disturbed sleep; milk can also decrease and as a result the baby is dissatisfied and does not gain weight.
Breastfeeding supplements: natural remedies
When, despite all the precautions mentioned above, breast milk is in short supply, it is still possible with the use of some herbal remedy to help the body produce it in sufficient quantity and of good quality, at least until the sixth-seventh month, the age in which the newborn baby can start weaning safely. In herbal medicine there are very interesting natural remedies for breastfeeding: for example, to increase breast milk, the most often recommended supplements are natural breastfeeding teas based on galactogogue herbs (ie “that favor milk secretion“), with due clarification! The female breast, in most cases, initially tends to produce more milk than the infant needs, while then the production depends on the quantity of milk that is removed from the breast (based on a physiological “supply-demand” mechanism) , therefore, breastfeeding teas to increase milk production cannot give the promised results if the breasts are not stimulated sufficiently and drained often. On Erboristeriacomo.com you will find a 100% natural and Made in Italy nursing herbal tea produced and packaged by a well-known Italian farm, based on: galega, fennel, anise, nettle and officinal verbena.
- galega officinale (aerial parts): according to tradition it manifests a favorable action on milk secretion, most likely due to an improvement in the circulatory state of the mammary gland and therefore in its trophism;
- fennel: fennel seeds have always been used, not only in adults but also in pediatrics, in dyspeptic disorders, in meteorism, in spasms of the gastrointestinal tract, but fennel has always been used as a galactogogue together with galega and anise;
- anise: has carminative properties (elimination of intestinal gas) less powerful than fennel and cumin, and is also considered galactogogue because it stimulates milk supply and has a sedative-antispasmodic action even in the infant;
- nettle: multiple its functions; activation of digestive functions, tonic, restorative and purifying action, diuretic, antidiarrheal, hypoglycemic, galactogogue, emmenagogue;
- officinal vervain: verbenin has the property of producing a marked increase in milk secretion (Leclerc).
For breastfeeding to be a peaceful time, it is also important to consider other breastfeeding supplements that address any problems related to breastfeeding. For example:
- if you are breastfeeding and have problems with bowel regularity you can use psyllium-based products (we recommend Psilliumsel);
- if you also want to act on the bacterial flora to strengthen it, try symbiontics and that is “live lactic ferments” both prebiotics and probiotics that do not make you swell (we recommend: erboflora intolerance or regenerates, the best on the market as they contain probiotics best and tested and prebiotics with targeted dosages to exclude symptoms such as abdominal swelling typical of incorrectly dosed and not carefully selected fibers);
- if you feel bloated and have problems eliminating intestinal gas, our fennel-based supplement Intolerance digest is excellent, as well as the natural herbal tea Aeris 100 gr food supplement or in practical sachets packaged ad hoc.
Medicines and plants to avoid while breastfeeding
The mother is always advised to avoid or cut back on medications unless strictly necessary. In general, in breastfeeding drugs to avoid are: salicylates, laxatives and purgatives, psychiatric drugs and tranquilizers, contraceptives, anticoagulants, nervous stimulators (coffee, tea ..), and smoking is prohibited. Even some medicinal plants are not recommended to take them while breastfeeding; here is the list of ESCOP:
- the plants that can be used in breastfeeding are: garlic (the sulfur compounds pass into the milk improving the baby’s aptitude for lactation), green anise (aqueous infusion), marshmallow roots, turmeric, hawthorn, echinacea, eleutherococcus, ginseng, lemon balm leaves, butcher’s broom , dandelion, arnica flowers (external use), calendula flowers (external use), fennel, linseed, chamomile matricaria flowers, blueberry fruit, nettle, Ispagula seeds and cuticle, psyllium seeds;
- contraindicated plants: wormwood, boldo, black cohosh, celandine, frangula, juniper fruits, licorice root, polygala roots, rhubarb root, willow bark, officinal sage leaves, bearberry leaves. Dal Capasso, in “Phytotherapy”, 2005:
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- Alimentazione e fitoterapia. Metodologia ed esperienze cliniche- Di Alessandro Formenti
- Dizionario di fitoterapia e piante medicinali
- Fitoterapia, Capasso 2005
- ESCOP, inserto alle monografie
- Allattamento, Paola Negri