Monday, January 19, 2015

BREAST FEEDING— Needs More Awareness (Homeopathic Treatment of Agalactia)

With in-depth analysis with homeopathic treatment of Agalactia- no/less breast milk--

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If there is something incalculably important as regards your baby’s health, it’s breastfeeding. Nowadays we read pamphlets about the importance of breastfeeding but when it comes to practical application of the same, we as doctors are coming across more and more cases of low breast milk supply. In a single day in our clinic yesterday, I encountered 3 such cases; felt it’s essential to write in depth about this issue, as it’s certainly in the interest of our future generations.

It does not need much to understand that breast milk is the complete food for the babies. NOTHING can replace breast milk. More importantly, no mammal in this entire world feeds its offspring on others’ milk. It’s only human who unnecessarily uses his freedom to choose in wrong manner.

Here are some of the reasons why a mother MUST breastfeed—

** Benefits to the baby—

1)    Assures baby’s health, immunity, growth and development
2)    Averts problems like childhood obesity
3)    Resistance to infections and allergies is far better in breastfed children than in bottle fed children.
4)    Ensures a very close bond between mother and child.
5)    Breastfed babies have comparatively fewer incidences of diarrheas and vomiting during teething
6)    Breastfed babies have better shaped dental framework (especially incisors)
7)    Reduced chances of adulthood diseases like hypertension, diabetes, arthritis etc.
8)    Breastfeeding has also shown to reduce ear infections in children because of which they need to be on antibiotics recurrently.
9)    Breastfed children have fewer dental cavities throughout their life
10) Fewer psychological, behavioural and emotional problems

** Benefits to the mother—

1)    A mother who breastfeeds her baby well is capable of reducing the fat gained during pregnancy faster (Breastfeeding releases a hormone in the mother (oxytocin) that causes the uterus to return to its normal size more quickly.)
2)    One of the most important benefits is – breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life and also have lower risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
3)    A stronger emotional bond with the baby!

Considering these huge benefits, any mother should definitely breastfeed the child. But why so many patients come to us saying they don’t have enough milk flow and therefore the child has to be fed with bottle?

Let’s face the fact that less breast milk is the biggest myth women try to tell themselves. It is not possible for a woman who has given birth normally or by Caesarean section, to produce less or no milk for her baby, unless there is some obvious physical / pathological reason.

Then why so many mothers complain of low milk supply? Are there any reasons? Yes, here they are –

Causes of Agalactia (No / Less Milk)

1)    Waiting too long to start breastfeeding is by far the commonest cause behind low milk production. A mother should start to feed her baby right after the birth!
2)    Breastfeeding with strict gaps in between- Many mothers tell us that they give strict gaps of at least 3-4 hours between two breastfeeding sessions. Not done! Breastfeed as often and as frequently as you can. Or we can say breastfeed as often as your baby needs. Your growing bundle of joy may need the milk every half an hour or 1 hourly or 2 hourly. When he / she cries for milk, feed them, at least for the first few months. That will surely work as a booster for the enhanced milk production.
3)    Unawareness of the proper feeding techniques—Though this is rare nowadays, considering the hospital staff taking ample care about the proper feeding technique to be taught to the new mom, it is still seen as one of the chief causes behind less breast milk. Proper holding of the baby, having a thin pillow on your lap, etc are some of the important tricks that will allow your baby to suckle properly, which in turn will enhance milk production.
4)    Some medicines like (over the counter) cold or flu medicines can reduce milk production. Also oral contraceptives should be avoided as far as possible, which also can have an adverse effect on establishing a good milk flow.

Sometimes there is an unnecessary concern that the baby is not getting enough milk. One has to understand when we can safely say that the baby is getting well nourished by his / her mother’s milk.

Here are the signs of proper baby’s nourishment on breast milk—

1)    Baby is waking for feeds
2)    Baby is settling between most feeds
3)    Passing yellow soft stools at least once a day
4)    By approximately 2 weeks, the baby is back to the birth weight. Thereafter the baby gains approximately 150 grams or more per week for the first three months of life
5)    The baby needs at least 4 to 6 nappy changes in 24 hours
If your baby shows these signs to a larger extent, do not worry. He is being nourished well on mother’s milk and does not need ANY external means of nourishment.

But in the polluted lifestyles that we live these days, there are still chances that the mothers are suffering from less breast milk for their babies. In such cases, our saviour Homeopathy plays the big role of re-establishing mother’s milk flow. Here’s how—

What is important while prescribing homeopathically for Agalactia (Lack of milk flow in mothers)—

1)    A proper history taking is of utmost important. While treating many such cases, we have seen that majority of women with low milk supply have some psychological / mental / emotional baggage. With the rightly chosen homeopathic remedy, if we are able to brush aside this causative factor, we can establish milk flow in the woman again.
2)    The physical attributes of the woman prior to delivery of the child and after the delivery are very important. Her bowel movements, urine output, water consumption, eating habits and mental picture need to be considered before we prescribe.
3)    Another important aspect is to study family history. In “Sycotic” family traits, often less milk flow has been observed. People with positive family history of diabetes, asthma, some allergic disorders, etc also suffer from such problems at times.
4)    Individualization- Like in every case, one has to be very cautious not to generalize your remedy for agalactia. Take the entire case properly, analyze the constitution, study the remedies, repertorize when necessary and only then prescribe for that PATIENT!

Homeopathic Remedies that Help in Mothers with Less Breast Milk—

Though a thorough case evaluation is necessary, some homeopathic remedies work exceedingly well in such mothers. Let’s see the drugs and their individual features in this regard –

1)    Agnus castus-
·         Post-partum sadness is one of the most important causative factors that leads to agalactia in Agnus mothers.
·         The woman just cannot be made happy.
·         She also suffers from hysterical palpitations.
·         She just hates sex while having totally relaxed genitals.
·         There is yellow leucorrhea.
·         She is so sad that feels she is going to die soon.

2)  Urtica urens-
·         The woman has swollen breasts with lack of milk
·         There is almost always a very excoriating leucorrhea and itching of private parts.
·         The diminished secretion of milk may be the bye product of suppressing urticarial or similar rashes during pregnancy
·         Patients with gout and/or uric acid diathesis
·         Women with rheumatic pains
·         Excessively swollen breasts but no secretion

3)  Lactuca virosa-
·         There is tightness of the chest with reduced milk secretion
·         One of the empirically used drugs for enhancing milk production.
·         Associated with absolute sleeplessness in the nursing mother
·         Dull circulatory system, leading to tremors, coldness of the extremities etc.
·         Restlessness

4)  Asafoetida-
·         Deficient milk with oversensitive breasts
·         Almost always associated with great flatulence and regurgitation of fluids
·         Associated with gurgling sounds in the abdomen which eventually are passed out with loud and difficult eructation
·         Can be due to suppressed eruptions during pregnancy, when associated with above mentioned stomach complaints

5)   Bryonia-
·         Stitching pains and tightness in breasts with sudden decrease of milk
·         Deficient milk in mother after a fit of anger
·         Breasts are so swollen and painful that the mother cannot walk without pain in breasts
·         Due to stagnation of milk, there might be infection of breasts, leading to fever

I need to stress that the above mentioned remedies are just some of the important ones. Especially in the cases with deficient breast milk, we have to identify the causative factor behind it (mental / emotional / physical) and later treat the lady.

For example, I have observed a case of Pulsatilla lady who could not nurse the baby after she came out of the bathroom. Suddenly there was reduced flow of milk. It was due to washing her legs after going to loo and leading to suppression of breast milk. Though rare, such observations are very crucial while finding the right remedy.

What is more important is educating the mothers about the necessity of breastfeeding. It is the right of the baby and one should never sabotage it for anything in the world!

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