18 Ways to Look & Feel Healthier

HappyAs the days begin to get warmer and longer we all want to look and feel our best for summer. Some of us may want to get lighter body too. At this time of year we naturally feel the need to swap our warm cosy clothing for lighter, brighter items. This is also the time to be swapping the warm comforting foods like thick soups, casseroles, bread and pasta for much lighter meals. Such as fresh salads with lightly cooked fish, chicken and meats. And to also enjoy the abundance of delicious summer fruits.

Here are 18 Tips on Looking and Feeling Healthy for the Summer Months:

1. Include fresh raw salad vegetables with every meal

2. Add nuts and seeds to salads for an extra protein boost

3. Add beans and legumes to salads to make them more hearty and healthy

4. Steam or poach fish and chicken and lightly cook red meats

5. Steam or lightly cook greens such as spinach and Asian greens with some garlic and drizzle with lemon juice

6. Eat your fill of fresh vegetables – they will not cause weight gain – in fact the additional fibre in vegetables will help you lose weight by increasing the excretion of built up toxins in your system and improve your gut health

Vegetables

7. Enjoy the seasonal summer fruits – a wide variety of fruits are available throughout the summer months – make the most of them

8. If you are worried about the sugar content of fruit, include tart fruits such as lemons, limes, pineapple, grapefruits, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries and granny smith apples in your diet – these foods are naturally lower in sugars than the sweeter fruits

9. Tart fruits are also beneficial to the liver and gallbladder and the most detoxifying of fruits

10. Add fruit to natural yoghurt with some added chia or nuts and seeds for crunch as a yummy desert – the protein in the yoghurt will help balance the sugar from the fruit

11. Throw all kinds of fruits and vegetables into your smoothie – a mix of both will balance out the sugar and add many more nutrients to your diet

12. Remember that we don’t need to eat bread with every meal – or even every day

13. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume – enjoy a wine or beer if you like to – just not every day

Liquid Food14. Move more – aim for at least a 20-30 minute walk most days of the week – the more you move the better you will feel – both physically and emotionally

15. As the days get longer a 30 minute walk after dinner will help the digestion of your meal

16. Get some sunshine to increase your Vitamin D levels after winter – aim for 15-20 minutes sun exposure on your arms or chest every day if possible – avoid the hottest part of the day and be careful not to get burnt

17. Vitamin D will help you feel good emotionally and aids the absorption of nutrients such as calcium

18. Drink lots and lots of water to keep hydrated and help detoxify your system – your body will thank you for it and your skin will look great

At Freedom Chinese Medicine we don’t follow a one size fits all approach. We tailor an individualised health plan to you, in achievable steps so you can get more well and stay that way. And we will be honest with you, setting realistic health goals that you can achieve and maintain with your current state of health & lifestyle.

Please give us a call on 03 9486 5966 to book in for a pre summer consult  if you would like some additional help with feeling great this summer..

Silly Season Survival Tips

Dr. Elaine’s top tips for stress relief

It’s that time of year when life can seem to speed up, get much busier. Do you feel more stressed this time of year? Here’s 8 things that you can do to help.

First, accept it; there is no need to fight with stress. It can be used as a creative energy. Accept the feeling, it is perfectly okay. Stress is simply an indication that the body is getting ready to fight with the situation. Enjoy the challenge! There is no need to be worried. Work it out, use the energy that is coming up: walk up and down, go for a run, go for a long walk. Plan what you want to do, what the mind wants to do. Rather than trying to relax, which is sometimes not possible. In fact if you have worked through the stress totally you will come to relaxation automatically; you can go on only so far, then the body automatically relaxes.

cat with hat

If you are overwhelmed, having trouble focusing on what you need to do to next to work through the stress, try these:

1. Stop & breathe, even for 30 seconds. Stop what you’re doing, focus on your breath, elongate your breath out, ideally make it twice as long as your breath in. Breathe through your nose if you can. This one of the quickest ways to decrease your sympathetic (excitatory) nervous system activity.

2. Be present. Focus on one thing at a time and give it your full focus. Let yourself be immersed in this one task, letting go of the feeling that you need to quickly rush through it, that you need to get on to the next task. There will always be a next task — the nature of task lists is that they’re neverending. So let those other tasks come later.

3. Make space between appointments. Rushing is a common stress trigger so minimise rushing by allowing space between appointments. Allow time for the unexpected to come up, as it often does. Be a master of your time, not a slave to it.

4. Laugh. It’s one of the quickest ways to get those happy chemicals flowing. And it’s fun. Take 5 mins to watch a funny video. Ask the person next to you to tell you a joke. Try laughing at yourself or the ridiculously busy day you have planned. It can be liberating:)

5. Rest if you’re tired. Ah so simple but we often find this one challenging. “But I’ve got so much to do” says our programming. The simple truth is that you’ll be able to complete any task much more efficiently after you’ve had even a 5 minute rest.

6. Take a brief walk. When things are getting stressful, take two-three minutes to take a walk and clear your mind. A short walk does wonders.

7. Let go. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks, work out What you can delegate or simply drop it for now. Ask yourself~does it really matter right now?

8. Drop the sugar. Seriously. Sugar is a stimulant, will send your blood sugar high which will soon come back down, this can affect our mood and stress response.

You can also come in for a relaxing Acupuncture, Massage or Qi Gong Class 🙂 Don’t have time? Even calling into our clinic is a relaxing experience, come for 5 minutes, sit down & enjoy a cup of tea. Pick up some calming herbal remedies. Do your Christmas shopping at the same time! Yes, we have gift vouchers, lovely herbal teas, bath salts, organic skin care products and detox patches which make wonderful gifts.

12 tips to promote an Overdue Labour.. Naturally

Having a reluctant labour? That is.. a baby that’s taking their sweet time to arrive? Medico’s talking about induction dates? It can be a stressful time. I understand, I’ve been there 🙂  Now looking back, I think of it as a lovely time.

There are so many things one can do to enjoy this time & help promote labour. Here are my top 12 tips:

 

  • Cook and freeze healthy meals and snacks. You’ll need them soon. Lots of food. Food that’s convenient, highly nutritious, middle of the night snack friendly. I even bought an extra (2nd hand) freezer for a few months:) Then sold it at the same price!

  • Express and freeze colostrum. Otherwise known as liquid gold for your baby. Nutritional and medicinal. Really helpful for those few days after the birth until your milk comes in and feeding is established. Learning how to hand express is also a handy skill to have. And expressing can encourage labour!

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.

  • Go for long walks. Stress relieving and labour encouraging. Include some steps if you can. The hip movement/ position can encourage optimal baby position.
  • Go swimming and do exercises to encourage optimal baby position. As baby’s position is key to your child-birthing experience. And now you have (relatively more) time to do it. Check out spinningbabies.com for exercises.
  • Have sex! It can encourage labour and your recommended not to do it for a period of time soon. So.. make the most of it now:)
  • Eat out! It won’t be as easy or relaxing to do soon. With one (additional perhaps) big distraction. So now’s the opportunity:)

 

  • Eat spicy food. If you like to 🙂  Is recommended to encourage labour. And it’s not recommended during early breastfeeding. So now is the perfect time to hit the chilli.

 

 

  • Have Acupuncture to naturally encourage labour. Research shows that Acupuncture may help to encourage labour by ripening the cervix. However more research is needed. Click this link to read more..
  • Take herbal medicine. There is a herbal formula that has been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine to encourage labour.  There is no quality research to support this use however.  The herb mix contains 6 plants, such as licorice root, ginger, red dates and orange peel.  It’s called Ping Wei San and is available at Freedom Chinese Medicine in Ivanhoe.

 

  • Learn about breastfeeding.  Now is the best time if you haven’t already, even if you’ve done it before. Most Mum’s need memory joggers. Read my Top 11 Breastfeeding Tips here.

 

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 Gynaecology, Fertility, Obstetrics, Family Medicine, Wellness promotion and Mental Health.

Elaine is available

Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
Call (03) 9486 5966

Acupressure for Labour Induction

How to do Acupressure:

  • Use deep firm pressure to massage every point.
  • Usually acupressure points are more sensitive than surrounding area.
  • The points are bilateral (the same on both sides of body).
  • Apply the acupressure for as little or as long as you like.
  • You do not need to massage all active points included below. Some active points produce stronger effect than others. You may choose to limit the exercise to massaging these high potency points only.
  • You can repeat active points massage as often as you want. There is no limit on number of exercises per day.
  • When applying deep pressure the active point is expected hurt initially. In this case reduce the pressure to a “comfortably” painful level and persist with massaging the active point. Increase the pressure as the initial painful sensation begins to subside. Continue the massage until a feeling is produced
  • When massaging acupressure points sit comfortably or lie down, close your eyes and breath deeply.
  • It is not necessary to massage points on your own, you can ask somebody else to massage your active points.

 

Which Acupressure points to Induce Labour?:

Colon 4

Point Colon 4 is located between thumb and index finger, in the centre of fleshy part of webbing. Apply firm deep pressure. It’s usually tender.

 

 

 

Spleen 6

Located 3 finger-breadths up from inner ankle bone, as indicated in the picture..

 

 

Gall Bladder 21

 

Located at mid-point on top of shoulder muscle:

 

 

 

 

Urinary Bladder 31 & 32     

Urinary Bladder points 31 and 32 are found in the

 

1st & 2nd depression in sacrum (bony plate at base of spine)

 

 

 

Esoteric & Advanced Energy Healing

Esoteric means something that is not readily known, as a mystery or hidden. The energy fields of the body can be referred to as Esoteric.

Esoteric & Advanced Energy Healing can raise the vibration of our state of being. It can help to quiet the mind, to develop Inner Stillness, and to strengthen your Higher Heart Centre.

This ancient healing method emphasizes the awakening and expansion of our spiritual centre (not the same as religions).

Esoteric & Advanced Energy Healing enables the understanding of the vibrational frequencies of all that we do, think, feel and ingest becomes and shapes our multiple energy fields. It is important to discern the higher vibrations around us.

In traditional Meridian Therapy there is an understanding y that “Shen” is stored in the heart. The “Shen” of the heart lead to the pathways of various stages of awakening. To address the most fundamental level of imbalance, we go to the Heart. “Shen” can be translated as both Mind and Spirit. By aligning the various levels of the Heart, we will be strengthening the Spiritual Centre which assists in various levels of Awakening.

Esoteric Advanced Energy Healing is a technique of introducing our consciousness through spin or acupuncture points a New Encoding Pattern of sequenced sacred geometric patterns that allow, if the timing is right, the recipient to strengthen and access higher frequencies of expanded consciousness.

Esoteric Advanced Energy Healing
emphasizes Wellness versus merely addressing disease or physical imbalances.

Your Truth is not deduced from your Logic
Your Truth,
Your Knowing,
Is Felt in the Heart

Written by Sue Wellwood

Sue Wellwood specialises in a number of healing techniques that help bring balance and calmness to the body.

• Shiatsu & Oriental Therapies
• Remedial Massage
• Advanced Energy Healing
• Reiki
• Esoteric Healing
• Chi Nei Tsang (stomach massage)
• Cupping and Moxibustion
• Bach flower Remedies
• Essential Oil Energy Balancing
• Chakra Cleansing

Sue is available:

Wednesdays
Call (03) 9486 5966

 

References

Dr. Mikio Sankey www.esotericacupuncture.com
Barbara Brennan www.barbarabrennan.com

14 tips for Colic

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. Indeed, in the first 3 months of a baby’s life, crying is the No. 1 reason for pediatric visits.Parents often perceive—incorrectly—that the inconsolable crying is either a sign of serious illness or a result of poor parenting skills.

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:

Acupressure for migraine
Liver 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ren 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Stomach 36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Try Chinese Herbal Medicine, especially Bao He Wan granules. Available through your local Chinese Medicine Herbalist.

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 Gynaecology, Fertility, Obstetrics, Family Medicine, Wellness promotion and Mental Health.

Book Here

 

 

References

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-and-food-sensitivities

www.kellymom.com

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183958/

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/141/1/e20171811

 

 

Children, Acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine

I have found children to be especially responsive to Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

I have seen many children in the clinic with conditions such as eczema¹, sleeping issues², colds³, migraines 4, hay fever5, and asthma6.

The research on the clear benefits of acupuncture for these conditions is mixed, click on the numbered links above to review the evidence.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine does offer a natural approach to health care for kids and they usually love it!

The technique I use with children is gentle and painless. The needles are very small and fine and are rarely felt by the child. Needle free techniques can also be used if the child is afraid of needles. Such as laser acupuncture (pictured here..  

I have seen babies as young as a few weeks old through to teenagers with Chinese Medicine.

Unlike Western drugs that can have unwanted side effects, Acupuncture is well tolerated, and research articles recognise no fatal side effects, with the benefit of likely calming the child as well7.

There are some simple and easy techniques and acupressure points that you can take away, to use at home, and continue the beneficial effects of the treatment.

Acupuncture can be used for a wide range of conditions in kids8.

It is so lovely to see children leave the clinic happier and more comfortable. And of course, this means happier parents too!

 

 

Written by Dr. Kate Howden

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people feel better about themselves.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

Click here to book an appointment with Kate.  

 

References

8. Gold, JI, Nicolaou, CD, Belmont, KA, Katz, AR, Benaron, DM & Yu, W 2009, ‘Pediatric Acupuncture: A Review of Clinical Research’, Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 429-439.

7. Yang, C, Hao, Z, Zhang, LL & Guo, Q 2015, ‘Efficacy and safety of acupuncture in children: an overview of systematic reviews’, Pediatric Research, Vol. 78, pp. 112-119.

Why bother BBT charting?

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.

Need help taking or interpreting your BBT chart? Drop me a line, give me a call or book in for a face to face thorough session; I’d be happy to assist you.

Written by Dr. Kate Howden

Dr Kate Howden  Acupuncturist

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now also has years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people get better.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

 

References

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.

Chinese Pulse Diagnosis Special

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.

Dr. E’s Top 11 Breastfeeding Tips

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 Gynaecology, Fertility, Obstetrics, Family Medicine, Wellness promotion and Mental Health. She brings extra understanding and knowledge to the table having been through infertility herself for years (then conceived naturally at 40yo with a low AMH).

Dr. Elaine Hickman consults at Freedom Chinese Medicine on Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays.

Call 03 9486 5966 or click to book online.

References

https://rednose.org.au/downloads/Breastfeeding-Safe_Sleeping-Information_Statement_Nov_2017_WEB.pdf

https://cosleeping.nd.edu/

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-and-co-sleeping

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.

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