1 min Health Check Quiz
Click this link to complete the quiz: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T6SBC99
Click this link to complete the quiz: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T6SBC99
Colic can be tricky. Hard to cope with. Hard to diagnose. And usually hard to alleviate. Some doctors say it’s from an immature digestive system, some say from overfeeding, and others say it’s simply the sign of an extra fussy baby. I don’t think it’s just one single cause for every baby.
.. Regardless, colic is defined by the rule of 3. Inconsolable crying for a total of 3 hours, 3 days per week for 3 weeks or more.. And it’s not fun for anyone.
Colic affects up to 28% of infants, causing considerable stress for parents and for their health care providers.2 Indeed, in the first 3 months of a baby’s life, crying is the No. 1 reason for pediatric visits.3 Parents often perceive—incorrectly—that the inconsolable crying is either a sign of serious illness or a result of poor parenting skills.4
I’ve seen many babies with colic in my 20 years of private practice, but it wasn’t until I had my own baby with colic that I really got to know the problem. And the potential solutions..
So here are my 10 tips for tackling Colic. It’s a strategy actually, because I’ve prioritised the steps in a particular order for good reasons:
1. Get support! Have time out. Even 5 minutes can help your state of mind. Get someone to help with bubs while you go outside, take a shower, go for a walk, etc..
2. Check that baby is getting sufficient milk. It can be confusing to be sure. The best indicator for this is wet and dirty nappies, and weight gain.. Wet nappies; 6+ in a 24 hr period from day 4. Urine should be pale and mild smelling. 3 – 4+ dirty nappies per day (from day 4). It’s not unusual for an older breastfed newborn to poo less, like once in 1-2 weeks. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is usually yellow and is loose (soft to watery), like pumpkin soup.
3. Check for reflux and silent reflux. Both can make babies cry. The simplest way is to do a Mylanta test. That is give 1/2 strength Mylanta for 3 days. If there’s a significant reduction in symptoms then reflux is at play. Then see a GP for a better treatment strategy. If there’s no change in symptoms.. see the next tip.
4. Place baby upright after feeding when possible. As often as possible. It can help them digest the milk.
5. Check if your baby has other symptoms as well, like a rash or odd-looking poos? Have your baby checked by your doctor in case there is anything medical that is causing your baby to be unsettled. It could be something as different as an ear or throat infection. But if not..
6. Most infant fussiness is normal for a young baby, and is not related to foods in Mum’s diet. If your baby is sensitive to something you are eating, you will most likely notice other symptoms in addition to fussiness, such as excessive spitting up or vomiting, colic, rash or persistent congestion. Fussiness that is not accompanied by other symptoms and calms with more frequent nursing is probably not food-related.
But if not or worsens with more nursing, look into an elimination diet. Some of the most likely suspects are cow’s milk products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, and peanuts. Irritating food compounds are also found in chocolate, spicy food, caffeine. It’s a good idea to check with a nutritionist or dietitian to make sure your covering your nutritional bases whilst breastfeeding. And yes it’s hard to go without some foods for a time. But it’s usually temporary. And worth if it makes baby more settled right?
7. If still no change, see a lactation consultant to check feeding/ tongue ties etc.
8. Try a Probiotic supplement. Recent studies suggest that low counts of intestinal lactobacilli may play a role in colic and have documented improved symptoms after treatment with Lactobacillus reuteri . BioGaia probiotic drops have been well researched. And effects were dramatic in breastfed infants but were insignificant in formula-fed infants.5
9. Consider whether it might even be just normal newborn baby behaviour, as your little one adjusts to life outside the womb? Are they much more settled if you hold them? Wear them? Sleep near them? This is very natural and often the case.
10. Try natural herbal or homeopathic remedies. There are many available. Most of them have similar ingredients though so if not working.. move on.
11. Try applying warmth on baby’s tummy. And/ or tummy massage. Especially if upsets seem related to bowel motion frequency. Or lack of.
With tummy massage, make sure it’s firm enough pressure to have an effect on the intestines. Baby will let you know if it’s too much pressure. Clockwise direction massage, the “I Love U” technique and paddle wheeling (over the descending colon) can all help and there’s some good videos on YouTube to demonstrate.
12. Try Acupressure, especially on the points Liver 3:
and Stomach 36
13. Try Chinese Herbal Medicine, especially Bao He Wan granules. Available through your local Chinese Medicine Herbalist. There is no quality research to support this use however.
14. Hang in there! Most cases of colic stop at 3-4 months old. Soon your baby will be older and you’ll be through it!
Written by Dr. Elaine Hickman, B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)
Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China. She has over 20 years experience in treating many health problems. Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable. Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion.
Taking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) can be used to detect ovulation¹. In Chinese Medicine practice there are many more uses and interpretations for this info. Which may help in your fertility journey ..
.. With or without other test results. Your BBT chart can give a picture of what needs to be improved; what acupuncture points to use, the supplements to recommend and the Chinese Herbs to potentially prescribe for you.
Your BBT chart shows me the quality of the menstrual cycle, allows me to assess your overall reproductive health, and identify any hormonal imbalances or other issues in the menstrual cycle.
The apps (Fertility Friend is the best!) used to record the temperatures are often inaccurate in their guess at ovulation timing². For me, there is more to it than which day did you ovulate? More importantly, whether you ovulated and if not, why not³.
The Follicular and Luteal Phase length and temperature can tell me if there is something else going on. Why this woman is struggling to ovulate and how can I help? Does she need a boost of energy so that her body can release the egg easily and maintain a pregnancy? Is there an underlying infection? Is the thyroid failing to communicate with the ovaries? Is there a hormonal imbalance that needs to be corrected? Does she appear to have polycystic ovaries? Why isn’t she falling pregnant? I can get all this from your temperature charts³.
The process of taking your temperature can take a while to get used to. However, the data gathered can assist your fertility journey.
It is important to take your temperature every day, at the same time, before moving, after a minimum of 4 hours solid sleep and recording this.
Written by Dr. Kate Howden
Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience integrated into her Chinese Medicine knowledge and practice. She takes a holistic approach to client care with dietary and lifestyle advice incorporated into her sessions and loves seeing people feeling better and embracing life.
Kate has a passion for women’s health including supporting women through their fertility journey, pregnancy, labour, and motherhood. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face.
Kate has lots of fun playing netball regularly, loves bush walking and having a good laugh.
1 Su, H-W, Yi, Y-C, Wei, T-Y, Chang, T-C & Cheng, C-M 2017, ‘Detection of ovulation, a review of currently available methods’, Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 238-246.
2 Johnson, S, Marriott, L & Zinaman, M 2018, ‘Can apps and calendar methods predict ovulation with accuracy?’, Current Medical Research and Opinion, Vol. 34, No. 9, pp. 1587-1594.
3 Wolfe, K 2014, ‘The Fertile Life Method. The Fertile Life: Fertility is Your Natural State’, Dr Kirsten Wolfe.
Have a niggling health issue? Not sure how to tackle it? Nothing worked so far?
We understand. We see people in that boat every day. Some have tried everything and feel frustrated that they’re still not better.. So we’re used to helping people navigate this.
One of the best things about Chinese Medicine is that we can assess your basic state of health without fancy equipment or expensive tests. We can give you and idea of what is going on and what may help.
No BS. No “you need to come weekly for a year” spiel..
.. Just an educated assessment. And good advice.
Another great thing about Chinese Medicine is that if it’s going to work, it’ll work fast. 4-6 sessions at the most. And by work, we mean noticing a significant change in your symptoms. Your practitioner can elaborate on this once they’ve seen you.
So… let our practitioners assess your health the Traditional Chinese Medicine way. 15 minutes is all it takes for our skilled practitioners to get an overall picture of what your main health problems are. Put us to the test. No medical history required, just let us take your pulse & look at your tongue. Your practitioner can then amaze you with their accuracy and give you advice. Simple & inexpensive…
Only $17* Until 30th July 2019 only!
Click here to book (select Chinese Medicine then 15min assessment) or call us on 03 9486 5966
* Not available with any other offer or discount. For new patients only.
Most of you may have heard that exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. That breastfeeding reduces the chance of SIDS. That it promotes long lasting health affects in mother and baby..
However, most of us Mums aren’t achieving this 6 month breastfeeding milestone. Not usually through lack of effort. Lack of information and support more likely. It’s OK of course if you choose not to..
.. Whatever the reason, here are the top 11 things I found most helpful in my breastfeeding journey.. (emphasis here on my journey. Based on my experience. Many other mothers have different experiences and advice).
1. Learn how. Study the dance steps before you try to dance. Read about breastfeeding while you’re pregnant. I found the Australian Breastfeeding Association to be a great resource. Easy to understand info. Most early breastfeeding issues stem from incorrect position. Of mother and baby. So study and practice those positions. Make sure that you’re in a comfortable position before you start feeding.
2. Understand that your baby then needs to learn the dance steps and how to do the dance with you. Be patient. Have faith that it’ll come together.
3. If it isn’t working out for either of you, reach out to a lactation consultant. They are the best qualified to help you. Some midwifes and maternal health nurses will give you good advice, but some will not. And it can be difficult to sort the conflicting advice, especially when you’re tired or fragile. Talk to the most qualified re breastfeeding. And trust your instincts.
4. Don’t believe the breastfeeding hurts mantra. Yes in the first few weeks there can be tenderness for a moment at the start of each feed. Apart from that, If position is correct, latching is correct, then breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. I bought nipple cream as recommended but never needed to use it. Nipple biting can hurt, sure, but that usually comes later 😉 In my experience 95% of the time, breastfeeding doesn’t hurt.
5. Learn about the amazing feedback loop your baby & your breasts are in. Learn about the benefits of breastfeeding. Educate your support people so that they can better support you.
6. Have support. Take it when it’s offered. Ask for it. Especially in the first few months when your establishing your milk supply. As much as possible focus on looking after & feeding your baby. Ask your partner or friends to bring you food & water, to fetch you a cushion, to help you be comfortable feeding.
7. Co-sleep or bed share if safe & possible. Yes I know clinicians & government departments don’t recommend bed sharing in this country these days. But if you read the research, like I did, (links below) you’ll see that if done safely, bed sharing can actually benefit the health of both mother and child. Safe bed sharing is also linked with higher rates of breastfeeding. Which alone reduces the incidence of SIDS.
“One Australian study found that 80% of babies spent some time co-sleeping in the first 6 months of life.8 We simply don’t talk about it. The fact is that new “babies need to be fed during the night and many new mothers fall asleep while feeding their baby. Co-sleeping helps to minimise disruption to sleep for both a mother and her baby.
Breastfeeding and co-sleeping mutually support each other. The convenience of co-sleeping for breastfeeding at night is the reason parents most commonly give for choosing to co-sleep.9 Mothers who bed-share with their baby tend to breastfeed longer and maintain exclusive breastfeeding longer than those who do not co-sleep.10–12“
I didn’t plan to bed share BTW. I bought one of those co-sleepers that you can attach to the side of your bed. Set it all up before the birth. Our daughter however, had other ideas. Even in the hospital, she would not settle to sleep unless she was right bedside me, skin to skin. So in the bed she came. It makes night feeds a breeze. Neither of us needs to fully wake up for her to feed. And waking up to a smiling baby is a lovely experience:).
8. Learn to hand express
Super handy for expressing colostrum, or milk. Boosting milk supply. Working out a blocked milk duct. Here’s a how to video. There are quite a few other videos on Youtube also.
Express colostrum. Otherwise known as liquid gold for your baby. Nutritional and medicinal.
I started at week 36 as recommended by my midwife. Within minutes I had uterine contractions. Freaked out and stopped as I didn’t want the baby to arrive early! So I waited until I was ready, about 39 weeks. And expressed every day until she arrived, finally at 41w+6 ! Here’s some more info about Antenatal expression of colostrum.
9. If you plan on going back to work in the first 6 months or would like your baby to be able to take a bottle of expressed breastmilk, which can be a great thing, then get a double electric breast pump. And a hands-free bra like the Arden bra. Makes it heaps easier!
And teach them to take a bottle in the first 4 months, ideally soon after you’ve both mastered breastfeeding. But not before that mastery.
10. Don’t give up. There are bound to be breastfeeding hurdles to overcome. Ask for advice. Do what you can. Persevere. In the first 6 months of my baby’s life, I’ve had to move house & had a parent diagnosed with a terminal illness. Both reduced my milk supply. So I had to prioritise breastfeeding; expressing, resting & working to build it back up.
11. Keep going if possible, even if you need to supplement with formula, which I’ve had to do at times. Every drop of breast milk benefits your baby. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Breastfeed as much as you can manage.
Written by Dr Elaine Hickman
B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)
Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China. She has over 20 years experience in treating many health problems. Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable. Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion. She brings extra understanding and knowledge to the table having been through infertility herself.
Dr. Elaine Hickman consults at Freedom Chinese Medicine on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays.
Call 03 9486 5966 or click to book online.
Ball, H.L 2003, Breastfeeding, bed sharing and infant sleep. Birth. 30(3): 181-188.
Blair, P.S., Heron, J., Fleming, P.H 2010, Relationship between bed sharing and breastfeeding: Longitudinal, population-based analysis Pediatrics 126(5): e1119-e1126.
McCoy, R.C., Hunt, C.E., Lesko, S.M., Vezina, R., Corwin, M.J., Willinger, M., Hoffman, H.J., Mitchell, A.A 2004, Frequency of bed sharing and its relationship to breastfeeding Dev Behav Pediatr. 2004, 25(3),141-114.
Qi Gong (pronounced chee goong), is a health practice that has stood the test of time. Many fads come and go, but like Yoga, Qi Gong has been practiced for thousands of years. Originally in China.
Qi Gong involves movements, postures, breathing methods and has meditative aspects. There are many different types of Qi Gong, each having a specific benefit. But what are the main benefits of Qi Gong? Why has it been practiced for so long?
Personally, I’ve found the main benefit of Qi Gong to be increased energy levels. Significantly. Tangibly. And within 24 hours of practicing it.
While teaching Qi Gong in the last decade, the most common benefit that students report is improved sleep. Even after their first one hour class.
Benefits of Qi Gong:
Much more research about the benefits of Qi Gong has been done in recent years. Such as:
Why don't you try it and feel the benefits for yourself? The benefits can come very quickly.
We have regular Qi Gong classes and workshops at Freedom Chinese Medicine in Ivanhoe, Melbourne. Click here to read more about them.
Wishing you improved health and that you can reap the benefits that Qi Gong can bring.
I love that once you know some simple Qi Gong exercises, you can practice it anywhere, anytime, for no cost. It’s a skill that can keep on giving..
Written by Dr. Elaine Hickman
Acupuncturist at Freedom Chinese Medicine
Herbal tea is so delicious and has the added benefits of helping many conditions. In Chinese Medicine we use lots of different ingredients to make up teas that can then treat specific problems. I drink herbal teas daily and feel so much better for it.
Green Tea is fantastic for people who feel the heat and want to cool down. It can calm agitation, relieve nervousness and headaches. But if you experience any nausea, avoid this tea.
Ginger is great at helping nausea and stomach upsets. Just slice a couple of pieces of fresh ginger, put them into a mug and add boiling water. Voila! An instant anti-nausea fix. It is a very warming tea and works well when you have chills or a cough with white phlegm.
We stock Ginger Root Tea here at Freedom Chinese Medicine, it is great for helping with menstrual issues, cold hands and feet.
Peppermint Tea is a helpful digestive, it is great for having after a meal, especially if you have a stomach ache.
Additionally, it is cooling so this is the tea to drink on hot days. It can also be useful for when you have a cold with a fever, cough, sore throat, headache, irritability and premenstrual bloating and pain. Once cooled the tea bags can be placed over the eyes to relieve redness as well.
Fennel is also helpful for digestion, just put some fennel seeds in with your mint tea and you can get relief from bloating, indigestion, flatulence and vomiting.
Licorice root tea tastes amazing and has a natural sweetness to it, so if you crave sweets, sugar or chocolate, then a cup of licorice tea is fantastic for stopping you reaching for the unhealthy snacks.
It can help ease a dry cough and helps fight fatigue too. If you experience high blood pressure this tea is best avoided.
A great combination for helping your periods flow easily is rose and goji berry. Put 2-3 rose buds (these can be found at Asian groceries) and about 7 goji berries into a tea pot, steep for 10 minutes and drink throughout the day, just keep topping up the water in the pot. Drink this before your period to help with pain and to improve your mood.
Here at Freedom Chinese Medicine we stock Dandelion Root Tea; this can be used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises, to increase urine production and as a laxative. It is also used as a blood tonic and digestive tonic1.
We also sell Raspberry Leaf tea to our pregnant clients. Raspberry Leaf is a uterine tonic, meaning that it can help promote a smoother labour.
We have a many delicious combinations of herbal tea here at Freedom Chinese Medicine. They have been formulated to help with specific conditions such as a Hayfever Relief Tea, Super Cooling Tea for headache, eye ache and inflammation, Balancing Tea (my favourite) to alleviate hay fever and calm irritability. The Calming Tea and Energy Boosting Teas are two brews that we could all have in our cupboards at different times throughout the year!
Come in and speak to one of us and find out which tea is best suited to you.
Written by Dr. Kate Howden
Acupuncturist at Freedom Chinese Medicine
Many thanks to Joanne @Creative Eye Photography for these delightful shots of our newborn..
A Note About BMI
However, BMI is not always the best measure of your overall health. It’s not even the best way to measure whether you’re carrying too much or too little fat on your body.
For example, an athlete may have a very high BMI, one that indicates being overweight. Despite having an “overweight” BMI, they may be very lean and fit. This is because muscle weighs more than fat.
Another example, you can have a normal BMI, but if you’re very muscular, you may have too little fat on your body. This can cause fertility problems.
Yet another possibility, your weight may be in the normal range, but you may carry more fat, and less muscle, than is healthy.
If you’re concerned about your weight (or lack of fat, or too much fat), talk to your doctor. They can do a full evaluation. This will give you much more information than BMI numbers alone.
Qi Gong Workshop ~ Frequently Asked Questions
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong is an ancient art, which is thought to have given birth to many of the Chinese sciences, such as Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbalism. The word Qi Gong simply translates as “Energy Work”. Qi Gong is a way to cultivate and circulate internal energy.
Qi Gong is similar to Yoga and Tai Chi in that it involves postures, movements, breathing and meditation for healing and health promotion. Qi Gong is unique in that it is more energy focused than most forms of Yoga, and does not involve holding difficult postures. Qi Gong science is the foundation from which Tai Chi was developed, the focus is on fundamental wellbeing and self-healing.
At last count, there were over 450 forms of Qi Gong being taught in China. It is generally said that it has five major schools, Medical, Martial arts, Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian. Another way Qi Gong is classified is into Active and Passive Qi Gong – the latter being mainly still postures emphasising meditation.
What style of Qi Gong will be taught in this workshop?
Medical Qi Gong will be taught and practiced in this workshop. It is a style of Qi Gong focused on self-healing, and is a Passive, stillness-orientated practice.
What will we be doing?
Learning and practising:
Who is the teacher?
Qi Gong is such a powerful practice, it is important to learn from somebody who thoroughly understands Qi Gong. Many claim to, but few actually do. Dr Elaine Hickman will be teaching this Qi Gong workshop. Elaine Hickman is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine who has specialised in Acupuncture for over 20 years. Elaine has been studying Qi Gong since 1994 and learnt Medical Qi Gong from Qi Gong master Dr. Bisong Guo, author of “Listen to Your Body”. Elaine practiced with Bisong intensely for five years, travelling to China on a Qi Gong study tour in 2006. Elaine is passionate about bringing you an authentic, empowering and enjoyable workshop so you can experience the amazingly relaxing and healing benefits of Medical Qi Gong.
How many people will there be in the workshop?
The workshops will have a maximum number of 10 participants to ensure high quality teaching and practice.
What do I need to wear?
Loose fitting comfortable clothing and shoes with socks.
What level of ability is required?
The ability to lie down, stand, sit and be quiet is all that is essentially required. The workshop is tailored to beginners, although the more experienced are welcome.
Are the workshops suitable for pregnant women?
Yes, the activities in the workshop are gentle. Please just advise your teacher.
What are the benefits of Qi Gong?
Regular Qi Gong practice:
Calms the mind
Connects you with your self
Facilitates emotional stability
Builds muscular strength