Nursing has been quite the adventure and honestly when I first started I didn't think I would make it. When I had my first baby she was in the hospital for quite some time so I was pumping and I had a very hard getting my milk to come in. I had terrible PPD and after heavily supplementing with formula, I ended up giving up on nursing and pumping at about 3.5 -4 months in. This time around I was determined to nurse. Not only is it amazing nutrition and immune support for baby, but it also helps Mama with PPD.
Let me start (as I do every one of my blogs) with a quick anecdote which I hppe will give at least one mama some hope after reading. ( I am purposefully leaving out the hospital and nursing names because I do not believe that it was their fault specifically, but more so a lack of education all around)
When I gave birth, I had a C-section at 34 weeks, which meant my LO was going to have a bit of a NICU stay. When your baby is in the NICU, the doctors and nurses have very strict protocols they have to follow when it comes to food (as with most things) that are kind of unattainable for most mothers. I was expected to pump 40 ml per feeding (every
3 hours) from the beginning on top of nursing every 3 hours. I was only aloud to nurse for 10 minutes at a time and then was told I had to stop because I was going to exhaust and starve my child if I nursed her for any longer, and had to bottle feed her pumped milk. The lactation consultant came to take a look and said that baby was nursing just fine and that my milk had come in great so that there should be no issues with nursing, however the NICU nurses were all pretty determined that nursing was NOT what was best for my baby. At one point I had a nurse who would not even wait for me 2 minutes to make the trek down from the maternity ward to the NICU so I could at least try to nurse. All in all the experience was awful. I felt like I wasn't going to be able to nurse, that nursing was the wrong choice and I was full of anxiety and sadness. When I got home I talked to the La Leche Group leader in my area who gave me so much helpful insight, comfort and support.
Now while you are in the hospital under the doctors care there isn't much you can do about the protocols in place, nor is there much you can do if you are dealing with a particularly difficult nurse other than to surround yourself with supportive family and friends, but if you find your still having a hard time one thing you can do is to contact your local La Leche League leader or a IBLC to see if they can come see you in the hospital for a consult and to help support you.
After coming home from the hospital and speaking with the La Leche leader I realized that I had pumped myself into an over supply and actually had to work hard to bring my supply back down because my oversupply was making it hard for my little one to nurse properly. My letdowns were forceful which would choke her up a bit. Plus the fact that I had so much milk meant that she was getting fore milk and then getting full before she could get any hind milk. This is a problem because hind milk is the fattier milk which is the more filling milk. Also too much fore milk can make baby gassy and bloated as well as hungry again much sooner. This all meant that I was nursing every 20-30 minutes and she was super gassy and fussy most of the time.
So I am hoping that in reading this if you run into a similar situation, do not get discouraged, and do your best not to be the reason you over produce. If you have any questions about your supply or you are nervous for any reason contact an IBLC or your La Leche league leader to help you find one.
**Before I get started letting you all know what I took, let me start with a quick disclosure notice, because essential oils in general, and the products I am about to mention are not FDA regulated. So, let me confirm that I am not a doctor, or a chemist, or a prenatal specialist of any kind. No one is paying me to write what I am writing, and none of these facts have been checked by the FDA. What I will do is provide links to articles and additional material so that you can do your own research. The information given in this post is not meant to take the place of doctor treatment or recommendations and I always recommend that you ask your doctor before trying anything new. Essential oils, just like many other things can interfere with medications and treatments and should not be used without your doctors’ consent.**
STEP 1: The first thing I did was make sure that what I was using was legit. – Most therapeutic or essential oils out there are total BS because essential oils do not fall into a category that is FDA regulated. So, I did my research and was pleased to find that not only were the oils I was using as pure as pure could get... but that was only step 1. I do want to mention for those of you reading this that you will see me mention using some of these essential oils internally and depending on what companies you use this is probably not a possibility. If you are interested in using the same company and products as are listed throughout this blog, I can help you with a free consultation; I’ll leave my contact at the bottom of this post.
Another thing I did was to find myself a midwife who work in a practice in a hospital who was familiar with doterra essential oils and was comfortable assisting me from a medical standpoint.
Step 2: was to find out what I absolutely could not take which surprisingly there’s not nearly as much that you will find is going to be bad for you or baby while nursing.
All three of these have the potential to decrease your milk supply. While everyone's experiences will differ when using oils, these are ones which have most often decreased supply in the majority of women. When these are diluted like wintergreen in the DeepBlue blend it should not effect your supply. Is taken as a small dose on a regular basis over a long period of time like peppermint in tri-ease throughout allergy season, it should not effect supply.
So now, let's talk oils for breastmilk:
Whether you pump, or nurse there are some oils that you are 100% going to need and some that your going to want on hand in case of emergency. So I wanted to share with you guys some of what I have found to really work well.
Upping Supply/Helping Milk Come In:
Clary Calm: so a lot of websites mentioned having clary sage, lavender, and geranium to help increase milk supply. So rather than using these all separately or blending them myself, I use Clary Calm. I have been rolling this on behind my ears after each pump. (The best place to apply is actually on the low abdomen over where your reproductive internal organs would be, or even directly to the boob if your pumping. -clary clam is not edible so dont apply to your breast if you are nursing) Clary Calm is known as doterras "Monthly Blend for Women" Its called this because it helps balance out hormones that get thrown out of whack during our cycles, menopause and even post child birth making this blend the perfect must have for any mom who's just had a baby and even more so if you plan to use your Boob juice in any way!
Fennel: Fennel is known for having the highest concentration of galactagogue which increases your milk supply. I used this oil in a blend called Milk Mama which is 2 drops fennel, 2 drops basil, in a 10 ml roller topped off with FCO applied around the breast(avoiding nipple) after every feeding or pumping session. This roller should only be used for 1 week because fennel has been linked to UTI infections if taken for an extended period of time.
Lavender: one of the most important things about nursing is to be relaxed. If you are stressed not only is your baby going to feel that and in turn become stressed and fussy making it extremely hard for them to latch, but your let down will not come as easily which will frustrate you and baby more and just make the entire situation more difficult than it has to be. Point here is to make sure you are relaxed when you are going to nurse. If you are having a particularly rough time try putting the baby down for a moment, and take a few deep breaths inhaling some lavender from your diffuser or from a drop in your hands, then pick up baby and soothe her before trying to nurse. the 2 of you being calm and relaxed will help you both through the nursing session.
doterra also has an entire line of oils designed to help you through certain emotions. Forgive, Peace and Console are 3 that I used quite often when I could figure out what specifically was stressing me out. Sometimes I was mad at myself for not being a "good enough mom" in which case I would use forgive and remind myself that I need to be less hard on myself and more forgiving, because I am a great mom and we all make mistakes. Sometimes the chaos of the world and my family and friends and the baby would just get to me in which case I needed a little Peace to help me settle. Sometimes I was a little sad about her chaotic birth, or my surgery, and Console would help me cry it out so I could get back to taking care of my baby.
Milk Mama Roller Bottle: 2 drops fennel 2 drops basil top off a 10 ml roller bottle with FCO. I use this roller on my chest after every time I pump. The blend smells actually pretty good - I was nervous about the fennel - and has been working wonders. Seriously if I forget to use it. I can immediately tell during my next pump.
Delaware Placenta Pills: Wendy did an amazing job talking me through the process, and helping me pick what was going to work best for what I needed. She also provided me with piece of mind in being fully certified and accredited. I got my pills in less than 48 hrs after my surgery and I was so happy with everything.
Motivation: this oil doesn’t actually help you produce any additional milk but let's not forget that mama needs a little help sometimes too. Nursing was exhausting for me as I assume it is for many women so I wanted to share
There are also oils that I personally did not use but that I have heard great things about when it comes to helping you milk come in such as: basil, cardamom, dill, geranium, and jasmine.
My favorite thing to do is just to put some breast milk on the nipple and let it air dry from there.
Frankincense, Lavender, Geranium, Roman chamomile, Myrrh, sandalwood, and Neroli are all great oils for your skin and so can bring relief to a cracked nipple. For best results dilute with coco nut oil and apply to your nipple after nursing. Then wipe it off before baby nurses again or you pump again to avoid getting the oils in your breast milk.
I did experiment with a fun little concoction:
1 cup (4oz) breastmilk
1 cup coconut oil
5 drops vitamin E oil
1 drop lavender eo
1 drop roman chamomile eo
1 drop copaiba eo
Clogged ducts/ mastitis:
Lavender, tea tree, patchouli, orange
Keep in mind that mastitis can happen if you have a lot of milk so if you are trying to produce extra to keep a storage supply, try cutting back on how much extra your doing since this could likely be the cause of your over supply and so, the cause of your clogged duct.