Unsettled babies and anxiety in mums

Unsettled babies and anxiety in mums

Finger pointing

This article in the Sydney Morning Herald needs more than just a cursory glance. It is saying more about the state of support for new mums than anything else. It’s so easy to end up with anxiety if your baby is doing nothing but vomiting and screaming literally all day long.

As a baby whisperer, I’m one of a number of baby sleep consultants, providing help and support to families the health service ought to be providing. It’s a national disgrace for mums to have to wait up to 3-4 months to be granted an appointment in sleep school. It’s only fast tracked if the mum says she is severely depressed or suicidal. Outrageous. Babies with reflux can vomit many times an hour. One baby I was visiting did a remarkable 17 vomits in an hour. He was medicated and somehow gaining weight. Poor mum, poor baby and poor carpet.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/reflux-risk-for-babies-of-anxious-mothers-20180213-p4z069.html

crying baby

Reflux

Babies with reflux will often wake at the 20-minute mark during the day. Gastro-oesophageal reflux is a common problem usually caused by an immature gastric sphincter. The valve at the top of the baby’s tummy is a bit loose allowing milk to come back up the food pipe (oesophagus). It’s then either spilt out as a vomit or silent reflux where it is immediately swallowed and can happen up to 30 times a day. The peak age of reflux is 4 months and most stop spitting up by 18 months of age.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/your-baby-and-reflux/

Postnatal depression and anxiety

It’s so easy for a vomiting, screaming and unsettled baby to lead to a mum with postnatal depression and anxiety. Feeling out of your depth and not knowing where to turn. “The focus needs to be on giving mothers good psychosocial support to de-escalate this cycle and reduce the need to medicate the babies,” the researchers said.

Babies need to be taught how to self-soothe their babies and put them to sleep. It doesn’t happen by chance, despite what parents hope. A sleep-deprived baby can often look and sound very similar to a baby with reflux. It takes a highly trained medical or nursing professional to distinguish the two. Without observing a mum and baby in the home how is a 15-minute doctors appointment going to get to the bottom of this?

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/sleep-deprivation-and-mental-health-in-mums/

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/baby-sleep-learning/

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/page/2/?s=postnatal+depression

anxiety

Large research study

The researchers analysed the hospital records of more than 869,000 babies born between 2000 and 2011. A random audit of 326 admissions records to parenting services Tressillian or Karitane in NSW and focus groups with 45 nurses and doctors at the centres.

The authors of the study stressed the findings did not suggest reflux was caused by anxiety. Rather it is often bi-directional. They agree reflux is a legitimate medical issue, however, currently, it is rather over-diagnosed and medicated.

https://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-018-0999-9

The study strengthens calls for mothers to be given more support as they care for their babies during what can be a stressful and lonely period. Exactly.

baby and mother

How do mums find help?

For some mums, the birth of their own baby will be the first time they have held and cared for a baby. The hospital antenatal classes focus on birth and breastfeeding. Other options are calm birth and private midwifery and physiotherapy antenatal classes. Nowhere in these classes are settling and the care of an unsettled baby covered in any detail. Mums are woefully unprepared by the hospital system. They are discharged home with a Blue Book for recording weights and immunisations etc. with a few phone numbers for government services. They receive one visit, at home if they are lucky with a Child & Family Health Nurse. Following this, they may attend a new mums group lasting 4 weeks for an hour each week. It’s a group environment so no time to look at individual issues and settling. Most of the time the advice is to hold the baby to sleep and feed to sleep. The risk increases of an overtired baby who is overfed, then you risk getting reflux. Rather than pointing the finger at the mum, we need to point the finger back where it belongs, on the health services doorstep.

This is why I set up Nurture Parenting 7 years ago. I could see what was not happening in the community and how poorly supported new parents are. It’s time for change to happen.

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
.
It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
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Nurture Sleep Program

Teething rash

Teething rash

Teething is one of those parenting conundrums and has many urban myths, Today I’m sticking to the truth and fact! As a nurse of many years, I’ve seen a lot of teething babies and I’ve heard a lot of truths and untruths. So I think It’s timely to look at teething in depth and find the truth.

What is the truth about teething and rashes?

Direct quote ~ “According to paediatrician William Sears, it is common for babies to get a facial rash when teething. Generally, you will notice a red, raised rash that appears around his mouth and on his chin, lips, neck or chest. The rash is caused by excess saliva stimulated by the teething process.”

teething

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symptoms can last for just a few days, right around the time a new tooth is emerging, or for as long as several months if a lot of teeth come through all at once. For a few lucky babies (and parents), teething doesn’t cause any noticeable signs at all. … A tooth visible below the gum. Irritability.

teething

How do you know if your baby is teething?

Some babies have no signs or symptoms of teething whereas others may experience any or all of these.

  • Irritability and crying.
  • Broken sleep and very unsettled
  • Excessive drooling of saliva
  • Redness of facial cheeks
  • Pulling on ears
  • Rash on face, neck or chest, usually caused by excessive drooling.
  • Gnawing on fingers, fist and any object they can put in their mouth.
  • Can be picky about solid food as gums are inflamed.
  • Can posit or vomit more than usual.
  • Sore bottom, nappy rash and runny poos. Teething produces more saliva and increases gastric juices which are acid and these upset your baby’s digestive system.

teething rash

 

 

 

 

Symptoms can last for just a few days, right around the time a new tooth is emerging, or for as long as several months if a lot of teeth come through all at once. For a few lucky babies (and parents), teething doesn’t cause any noticeable signs at all. … A tooth visible below the gum. Irritability.

How can you help the teething rash?

  1. Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry. Dab the skin, don’t rub.Rubbing will irritate it further.
  2. Change wet clothes immediately, and use a bib until the drooling stops.
  3. Use a thin layer of barrier cream to treat existing drool rash. Something with a high oil content that is very moist e.g. Bepanthem, Zinc and Castor Oil ointment. Ointments have more moisture than creams and heal skin quickly.
  4. Consult your GP or baby doctor if the rash isn’t getting better.

Teething in babies

Teething and eczema

Teething doesn’t cause eczema, but it can make it worse. Babies with eczema already suffer from easily irritated skin. Saliva from the constant teething drooling can build up around your child’s mouth and chin and cause eczema flares.

Managing eczema in babies and children

How to Manage Baby Sleep When Your Baby Is Sick or Teething?

How long do symptoms last?

There’s no set date when your baby’s first tooth will arrive. I’ve even seen 3 babies born with teeth. Most babies start at around six to eight months, but it can happen at any time, from birth to after her first birthday. Teething can continue on for a year or more. Your baby should have all her milk teeth by the time she’s two-and-a-half years old. Rashes and dribbling/drooling of saliva usually occur just before and as a tooth is erupting. Once it’s settled down and the tooth has erupted the drooling usually stops.

Why do babies get rashes on their bottom and nappy area?

The theory is teething causes excess salivation, which leads to dribbling. The dribbles cause face rashes, and swallowing the saliva causes looseness of the bowels and sore bottoms. Puraforce remedy teething drops may help by reducing the acidity of the urine and bowels.

Baby Teething Drops

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/good-questions-teething-the-bottom-line-1504446.html

“The most likely scientific explanation blames a hormonal imbalance. Endocrine is produced during teething as a result of stress. Extra peptides (endocrines facilitating the digestive process, but whose precise function is not properly understood) are released in the gastro-intestinal tract, which can lead to fluid imbalance, resulting in diarrhoea, poor fluid absorption and a sore bottom”.

Healing nappy rash

The 4 month sleep regression is real

The 4 month sleep regression is real

Sleep regression

The 4-month sleep regression derails babies, starting off a spiral of sleep deprivation. I’m taking you right back to my Health Visitor training in England. Parents are taught at 2-8 weeks postnatal, how to help their baby self-settle. It’s a gentle no-frills approach with very few sleep problems. Babies are put down awake in the cot, un-swaddled and tucked in with cotton sheets and blankets.

Babies are never patted, rocked or fed to sleep … ever. Parents are taught settling using a hands-on technique until the baby fell asleep.

What is it about the 4-month wonder week that makes sleep come undone?

It’s the World of Events at 4-months…which are patterns and sequences, a real aha moment.

Looking at the practice of other baby sleep practitioners. Both private and health service sleep school.
A lot of babies ‘fail’ sleep school and other sleep consultants.

What are parents being taught?

It’s the usual suspects – patting, rocking, holding, feeding and swaddling babies to sleep after 4 months. Patting to sleep is a big sleep crutch. It’s rhythmic and leaves an imprint on the baby falling halfway down the hierarchy of settling. Unless patted, baby can’t get back to sleep once they wake from a sleep cycle. Toddlers are also asking to be patted, saying to mum, “Pat mummy. Pat, pat mummy’.” 7-month old babies are getting hold of mum’s hand, placing it on their tummy and patting.

What is true self-settling?

hierarchy of soothing

Why is it the 4-month wonder week making sleep come undone?

At 12 weeks (3 months) the wonder week effects, “… your baby’s ability to perceive the way things change around him.” Such as a voice shifting from one pitch to another, a cat slinking across the floor, and the light in a room becoming dimmer as the sun dips behind the clouds. Your baby’s world is becoming a more organized place. He is discovering the constant, flowing changes around him”.

At 19 weeks (4 months) babies move to the World of Events, which are patterns and sequences. “After the last leap forward, your baby was able to perceive smooth transitions in sound, movement, light, taste, smell, and texture. But all of these transitions had to be simple. As soon as they became more complicated, he was no longer able to follow them.” (Hetty Van de Rijt PhD., & Frans Plooj, Ph.D. 2014). This is the pat, rock, and feed to sleep.

The real clincher for me was reading an online article by Dr. Lynne Murray (eminent UK psychologist) in the Mail Online. Saying if babies couldn’t recreate the thing that put them to sleep then their sleep would come undone. You can read it at this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2661995/The-price-rocking-baby-sleep-Infants-note-going-drop-want-thing.html

The Psychology of Babies  was published and I went straight to the chapter on sleep. And lo and behold, there were my UK baby sleep methods and not a mention of a pat anywhere. Babies had hands-free and un-swaddled. Hallelujah for Dr. Lynne Murray, the voice of reason and evidence-based practice.

If your baby’s sleep was predictable until now, it may all fall apart. However, there are many things you can do to help retrieve a good night’s sleep. Continuing to work on building consistent sleep routines and cues. Helping baby learn certain events mean sleep is coming. You may want to work on identifying the sleep associations your baby has and teaching self-settling.

What can you do now to avoid the 4-month sleep regression?

  1. Stop patting, rocking, holding and feeding to sleep at 3 months
  2. Practice putting baby to sleep awake, in the cot, at 2-3 months
  3. If using a dummy avoid using it for all settling and avoid using in the night
  4. Teach baby to roll over in her cot in the day
  5. Practice tummy time when awake in the cot and how to lay her head down on her tummy.
  6. Move baby to a large floor mat with toys placed a little way away from baby
  7. Avoid using the play-gym too much, it can prevent rolling over.
  8. Do more sleep in the cot compared to sleep in the stroller or sling
  9. Stop swaddling before 4 months moving to a sleeping bag or sleep suit.

Once you hit 4 months and sleep regression a whole different approach and sleep training is needed.

I help families all over the world if you desperately need help managing your baby’s sleep regression.

Once your baby can self-settle the rest of those wonder weeks should go unnoticed and be quite seamless. I’ve not had a baby who can self-settle under 4-months come undone later. If you’re still struggling to resolve this issue then consider joining the many parents in my Nurture Sleep Program. You can get access to my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the Nurture Sleep Program.

The Nurture Sleep Program will take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program/

🍌 FOODS that promote sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT changes: how these affect sleep
😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:

A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
Evidence-based
Gentle baby sleep methods
Holistic assessment
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

Scroll down for some more reading and helpful videos below

Preventing the dreaded 4 month baby sleep regression

Miss Rosalie and the sleep training – the wrap had to go!

Why the Baby Gym May Be Delaying the Roll over in Your Baby

Why we need to teach our babies to roll over

Tummy time and play

Potty Training Nightmare …Toddler Won’t Poop!

Potty Training Nightmare …Toddler Won’t Poop!

Have you got a potty training nightmare? Toddler refusing to poop on the toilet or potty? I’m here to save your sanity from a potty training disaster.

This is far more common with boys than girls and strong-willed toddlers.

It might have started by one episode of going to the loo and passing a hard poo. This felt sore and hurt your toddler setting up a negative feedback mechanism. Every time they are needing to poo they are reminded of the past painful event. Poo holding on becomes a reality. Encopresis (severe poo holding on) is somewhere you really do not want to end up. Toddlers and children with encopresis are so constipated they end up impacted. Having a bowel movement so infrequently that overflow results needing a bowel washout.

It is easy to prevent and so hard to treat.

In my nursing and health visiting career I’ve met many of these children. A mum from the UK I met via Instagram, Colette, posted about her little boy and his poo holding. This blog is for you and your little boy Colette.

Most parents start toilet training too early, when the body and toddler are just not ready and this is how the problem starts. As most of you who follow my blog know I’m a big believer in toilet learning. Allowing your child to take the lead and know when they’re ready.

Fabian Gorodzinsky (a community paediatrician and an associate professor at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont.) says,

“Withholding often happens after an attempt at toilet training when children just aren’t ready, emotionally or physically.”

Age of readiness for toilet learning is anywhere between 18 months and four years. Simply backing off a bit and giving your child a few more months with nappies or using the potty will sort the problem. If your child asks for a nappy for a poo give him a nappy. Really, please. It’s not giving in, you are helping them I promise.

Children will often save up their “number two’s” for when they had their nappies or pants on. They can often be found hiding in a corner, behind the curtains or a sofa straining only seconds after you’ve given up on the potty session.

My top tip is to lay toilet roll over the potty or toilet seat before they sit on it. Use around three squares and leave them attached to each other so they drape slightly over the sides of the potty or toilet seat but are flat across the top part. Then when they sit they can feel the paper under their little bottoms.

Having something there seems to help them get over their potty poo phobia. It’s creating them the security the nappy has given them for the past few years. You should only need to do this a couple of times before they will happily perform without the paper.

What else can you do?

  • Increase fibre in their diet – wholemeal foods, Weetbix, porridge oats, beans, pulses, chickpeas and lentils. Add extra fluid and water to the diet to help the fibre work.
  • Pears and prunes help the gut.
  • Increase water intake.
  • Care with white refined foods, yoghurt, cheese, milk, white bread, bananas – all of these will constipate.
  • Chia seeds added to meals. Here’s a link to a recipe for Banana and Chia Delight and Divine Chocolate & Chia Dessert
  • Exercise helps the gut.
  • Use a gradual approach to using the potty or toilet. Week 1 nappy on for all poops. Week 2 nappy on sitting on potty or toilet. Week 3 nappy on but loosened. Week 4 nappy lining potty. Week 5 sat on potty with no nappy. Use reward system and labeled praise to imprint the learning.
  • Ignore poop accidents or non compliance.
  • Labelled praise for all successful poops on potty or toilet.
  • Using a footstool for the toilet helps reduce pressure on the anal sphincter and makes pooping easier.
  • Try a funky potty with voice recorded motivation and bells and whistles. Get your toddler to choose their own potty.
  • Use the iPad on the potty or toilet or drawing book and crayons.

When preschoolers poop in their pants, it’s usually a result of chronic constipation, says Fabian Gorodzinsky. This needs medical and behavioural psychology help. They’ve probably got faecal overflow as a result of severe constipation.

Laxatives and stool softeners are a necessity to stop the constipation. Use coloxyl, lactulose, Parachoc (parachoc.com.au), osmelax, polyethylene glycol, mineral oil, magnesium hydroxide, movicol. Here’s a link to read more from Medscape on Pediatric Constipation Medication: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/928185-medication

Some more helpful reading below

Toilet learning or toilet training?

What to do when your kid is afraid to go poo

Empty praise vs. labelled praise and effects on resilience in kids

Reflux medications may help your unsettled reflux baby

Reflux medications may help your unsettled reflux baby

There are many types of medication that help babies with reflux and it depends on the symptoms as to what and how much and how often your baby is prescribed them. Some of them will need adjusting for your baby’s weight gain, so important to check with your doctor about this. All the info in this blog is here to help you but does not replace the trained eye of a paediatrician or paediatric gastroenterologist or your GP.

https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/childhood-illnesses/ger/ger-what-it-what-do-faqs

Caution with traditional painkillers for babies and children – Paracetamol should be used in preference to Nurofen in babies and children with reflux if there is a history or higher likelihood of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers or asthma. Nurofen is more likely to upset your child’s tummy.

For more on reflux and your baby – read here

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/your-baby-and-reflux/

Proton pump inhibitors

These inhibit or stop stomach acid production e.g. Losec, Nexium, Somac, Zoton. 

PPI tablets are made up of small pellets covered in an enteric coating which helps the small pellets get through the stomach to start working. It is very important that they must not be chewed or crushed. It may be mixed in a  small amount of water, and then add it to a spoonful of pureed pear. Do not add to formula or breast milk as it stops the medication working.

PPI’s do not stop vomiting, this will still occur however it takes the pain factor away. Do not suddenly stop the PPI as the stomach may suddenly make a larger amount of acid, reduce it gradually. Many doctors prefer PPI’s to H2 blockers as they are more potent. Children and babies often need higher doses than an adult as they are metabolised much faster by children.

Losec can be made into a suspension to make it easier to give though many parents of reflux babies say it is not as effective as a crushed tablet. The suspension is obtained from a compounding chemist and can come in flavours such as banana, butterscotch and strawberry. If it is made with bicarb, it can last as little as 10-14 days before it stops being effective (and may make baby very windy); and if made with cellulose gel, it can be as much as 45 days if stored in the refrigerator.

If your baby is also prescribed an H2 blocker administer them at separate times in the day, 4 hours apart. H2 blockers can sometimes stop a PPI from working effectively.

H2 blockers

These medicines block stomach acid production: e.g. Zantac (Ranitidine), Pepcid, Tagamet, Prilosec. These acid blockers can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, yet can last for up to 8 hours. They are usually given twice a day. If reflux awakens your baby give a dose one hour before bedtime. H2 blockers commonly lose their effectiveness and even within a week from starting them.

http://www.parents.com/baby/care/gas/best-remedies-for-gas-reflux/

Antacids or acid blockers

These neutralize stomach acids e.g. Mylanta, Maalox, Gastrogel. Given three or four times a day with each feed (dosage is prescribed by a baby paediatrician or GP and is commonly 1ml before each feed). They start working rapidly but the neutralizing effect lasts only a couple of hours or less. Mylanta Original Formulation is suitable for use in children from one month of age.

Alginates & thickening agents

These reduce regurgitation by thickening the contents of the stomach e.g. Infant Gaviscon (NOT liquid Gaviscon – completely different medications).

There are also feed thickeners that can be added to infant formula or expressed breast milk or are already present in the infant formula e.g. Karicare AR, Aptamil feed thickener, There are a variety of thickeners available. For example, there are commercial milk thickeners, rice cereal, ‘cornflour’ (made from corn or wheat) or bean gum. These aim to make feeds heavier, to try to keep them down in the stomach and not rise back up the oesophagus and spit up.

Caution if using thickeners with Infant Gaviscon. Infant Gaviscon should not be used with other thickening agents or thickened formula as it can make the stomach contents too thick.

Are feed thickeners beneficial?

Some parents will say they are, however, there is no research to back up these claims. According to Australia’s, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), thickening of feeds “has some benefit in decreasing the amount regurgitated, but is not effective in decreasing the number of episodes of GOR [gastro-oesophageal reflux] or acid exposure, and so has no real place in the management of complicated GOR.”

Thickeners can reduce how often a baby vomits, but not alter how often his stomach contents rise into his oesophagus. There are increased gut problems with thickeners so they can cause the actual thing that they are meant to be helping e.g. colic, constipation, cramping, diarrhoea and coughing. NHMRC indicates that feed thickeners have some adverse effects, such as increasing the length of time it takes for feeds to pass through the stomach and even increasing reflux. They are contraindicated in premature babies as they can cause NEC (necrotising enterocolitis).

Adding feed thickeners to expressed breast milk can be problematic as live enzymes in the EBM breaks down the starches that make up many thickeners. Adding thickeners to EBM also changes the carbohydrate balance of the EBM. So feed thickeners are not really an answer to reflux as they cause more problems than they prevent.

Reflux babies do much better with breast milk than on any infant formula. Many reflux babies have cows milk protein sensitivity or allergy so giving formula can actually make the symptoms worse. Also, breast milk passes through the gut twice as fast as formula making it a much gentler option on a reflux babies gut.

Once babies get to 4 months plus introducing solids can really help reflux. Read more on this here.

Reflux and moving your baby onto solids

Baby sleep boy genderMotility medications

In reflux, the gut is more sluggish than usual so needs a little help to speed it up. These work by increasing muscle tone and tightening the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle, or increase the movement of muscle tone of the stomach and upper intestines, and increase stomach emptying. They are sometimes referred to as prokinetics. The most common ones currently used in order of frequency are Osmolax, bethanechol, metoclopramide, cisapride.

And hopefully, soon this is where you will be … sleep and peace.

You might also consider baby massage

Massage is great for removing toxins from lymph fluid and improves circulation. Using the correct strokes and oils, massage can improve babies’ physical health. It can relieve minor ailments and help promote a healthy digestive system, easing colic, gastro-oesophageal reflux and constipation.

Below are videos with techniques and further info you might find helpful.

How to manage wind/gas and colic in your newborn baby

Trailer for my eBook with embedded video – Baby Massage: The Magic of Touch

Reflux & Baby Sleep Training – Carly & Levi 6 months

Reflux & Baby Sleep Training – Carly & Levi 6 months

I was getting maybe 2 hours of broken sleep a night and that of course affected my oldest son. I didn't have the time or the energy to put into him as a mum. And it affected my marriage. I felt like I was letting everybody down. And I felt like I was letting Levi down because I didn't know why I couldn't parent him the way I thought I should've been able to. Click to watch Carly share more of her story …

Posted by Nurture Parenting on Thursday, May 26, 2016

Baby Massage, the magic of touch ~ eBook & embedded instructional video

 

 

 

10 foods to increase your breastmilk supply

10 foods to increase your breastmilk supply

The very best and most efficient way of ramping up your milk supply is to feed, feed and feed some more. It really is a supply and demand cycle. The more you feed or nurse the more milk your breasts will produce. However, there may be times you just need a little more help, such a times of illness or feeling extra tired when your baby is going through a growth spurt. Your baby is better than any other method of helping your body make more milk. The stimulation of the nerves with breastfeeding, as well as the removal of milk give a signal to your body to ramp up production.

How to increase your breast milk supply

Galactagogues are a natural food product or herb that can help increase milk supply. Here is my top list of foods that give your boobs a natural milk boost. But like any medication natural remedies can interact with medicines and there are cautions and warnings with each of these. We look at herbs as being natural and whilst they are, they are also medicines. I’ve put a link under each food to WebMD so you can read more if you’d like to.

Alfalfa 

Alfalfa is an oestrogen inducing food and impacts the pituitary gland to make more milk. You can add it to salads or sprinkle on sandwiches or take in capsule form. Caution though for those mums who have lupus, SLE and autoimmune disease as eating the seeds can trigger a disease flare. There are two case reports of SLE patients experiencing disease flare after taking alfalfa seed products long-term.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-19-alfalfa.aspx?activeingredientid=19

Brewers Yeast and Lactation Cookies

There is lots of anecdotal information about the positive effects of taking brewers yeast in lactation cookies to increase milk supply.  Brewer’s yeast contains phytoestrogens – which may be the root of its success as a galactagogue. Caution and probably avoid however with Crohn’s disease and sensitivity to yeast and recurrent candida or thrush infections.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-715-Brewers+Yeast+BREWER%27S+YEAST.aspx?activeIngredientId=715&activeIngredientName=Brewers+Yeast+(BREWER%27S+YEAST)&source=2

Dandelion

Used as a skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic. Chinese as well as Native American medicine used dandelion to promote postpartum recovery and help build milk supply. You can use the leaves in a salad with other greens or make dandelion tea. Caution however for those mums taking diuretics, do not use. Also, some people are sensitive or allergic to the ragweed group of plants so test a small amount first or avoid altogether if you have lots of food allergies or sensitivities.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-706-DANDELION.aspx?activeIngredientId=706&activeIngredientName=DANDELION&source=2

Fennel 

Taken as a vegetable or the seeds, fennel has a phyto-oestrogen effect on increasing milk supply. Fennel is often used as a tonic and calms the stomach. Taken by the mum it can also decrease colic in her baby when breastfeeding. Caution however in taking over the recommended dose as it can have the opposite effect and decrease milk supply.

People who are allergic to plants such as celery, carrot and mugwort are more likely to also be allergic to fennel. Fennel can also make skin extra sensitive to sunlight and make it easier to get a sunburn. Wear sunblock if you are light-skinned. Fennel might slow blood clotting. Taking fennel might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders. Caution and maybe avoid with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. Birth control pills, tamoxifen and ciproflaxin also interact with fennel so avoid taking fennel if you’re on any of these medications.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-311-FENNEL.aspx?activeIngredientId=311&activeIngredientName=FENNEL&source=2

Fenugreek

Mums who are breastfeeding sometimes use fenugreek to promote milk flow.  Fenugreek is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth to increase breast milk flow in the short term. Some research shows that taking 1725 mg of fenugreek three times daily for 21 days does not cause any side effects in infants. Caution and probably avoid with medications for diabetes, warfarin and blood clotting disorders.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-733-FENUGREEK.aspx?activeIngredientId=733&activeIngredientName=FENUGREEK&source=2

Garlic 

Garlic is used in many culinary dishes all over the world to improve flavour. It’s a recognised antibacterial and antimicrobial and may increase lactation. One study found that babies nursed more often and took more milk when mothers took a garlic supplement before nursing. So, the increased breast stimulation helped to increase milk supply. There are a lot of medications that interact with garlic including HIV drugs, birth control pills, anaesthetic drugs and all drugs that are broken down in the liver. See this link for all interactions.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-300-GARLIC.aspx?activeIngredientId=300&activeIngredientName=GARLIC&source=2

Nuts 

Nuts, particularly almonds contain serotonin, the neurotransmitter for promoting lactation. Nuts are high in protein, essential fatty acids and should form part of a mums diet. They can be eaten raw, chopped up and sautéed with garlic and olive oil over greens and in salads. Eating them when breastfeeding can help build up immunity against allergies for the baby.

Porridge oats 

Porridge oats have long been considered a lactation aid to make more milk. Some consider this an old wives tale but like most old wives tales there is truth in there. Porridge oats are low glycemic index and give energy to get you through your day. They are also high in tryptophan which helps increase serotonin the mood neurotransmitter and melatonin which helps with sleep. A lot of mums eat lactation cookies to boost their supply and I’ve heard lots of anecdotal evidence say that they work.

Sesame seeds 

Sesame seeds are high in calcium and are one of the best seeds for increasing milk supply. Look for large black sesame seeds or husked, light-coloured seeds. Eating the seeds crushed is important. Seeds still in their husk simply pass through the digestive tract undigested. Try tahini which is a sesame seed paste– in hummus or salad dressing, or as a spread on wholegrain crackers or spread on raw cucumber, capsicum, carrot and celery etc.

lactation tea Tea

All over the world mums take tea to increase lactation. Some of the teas may include one or many of the following ingredients: anise seed (thought to ‘bring down the milk’ in ancient Greece), black tea, fenugreek, alfalfa, blessed thistle, red raspberry leaf, marshmallow root, goat’s rue, and more.

Weleda does a really good breastfeeding tea and Herbs of Gold have a galactagogue Blessed Thistle and Nurture Parenting will be stocking these in their online store very soon.

Herbs of Gold breastfeed support contains blessed thistle. I’ve heard amazing things about it and increasing supply. The only caution is avoid using if you’re pregnant as it can cause miscarriage and avoid if you have Crohn’s disease and intestinal irritation. It can cause nausea, vomiting and an upset tummy in some people.
Also, caution with an allergy to ragweed and related plants: Blessed thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking blessed thistle.

Herbs of Goldhttp://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-94-blessed+thistle.aspx?activeIngredientId=94&activeIngredientName=blessed+thistle&source=1

http://www.weleda.com.au/nursing-tea-20-teabags-40g/

And it’s always a good idea to have lactation consultant and naturopath input or ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association). Nurture Parenting has both lactation counsellors and naturopaths that can help you with your lactation needs.

 

Some further reading and tips on breastfeeding below

How to increase your breast milk supply

Tips for breastfeeding success

Sore nipples and breast feeding