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Can You Have Acupuncture While Breastfeeding?

From low milk supply to engorgement, new mothers face numerous breastfeeding challenges. These and other breastfeeding problems can negatively affect the baby’s nutrient intake.

Many lactating mothers use acupuncture to manage breastfeeding problems. Acupuncture can help with several breastfeeding issues, such as mastitis and insufficient lactation. It can also treat emotional difficulties that often come with breastfeeding.

When performed by an expert, acupuncture in El Cerrito is perfectly safe for lactating mothers.  It is 100% drug-free and unlike many other treatment modalities, does not have any major adverse effects. 

In TCM, lactation disorders fall into three categories:

  • Low milk supply
  • Milk not flowing
  • Mastitis

Low milk supply occurs when the mother’s body is unable to produce sufficient energy or body systems are unable to get enough blood flow to different body parts.

Milk not flowing or let-down problems occur when energy centers get blocked. This prevents milk from moving down the ducts and out of the nipple. It is not uncommon for a new mother to experience both these problems.

TCM practitioners believe that a woman’s menstrual blood that was earlier going to the placenta is converted into breast milk once her child is born. Energy is required to convert menstrual blood into milk. The bodies of women who lose a lot of blood during delivery are unable to produce the energy required for the process. This results in poor milk supply.

Exertion due to labor and sleep disorders can also affect the ability of a woman’s body to produce milk. Acupuncture can help address these problems. Acupuncture removes toxins from the body, stimulates circulation, and restores and balances Qi helping improve the functioning of different organs and glands. In addition to improving milk supply, acupuncture reduces anxiety and fatigue.

Another common lactation disorder is stagnation or blockage of energy in and around the breasts. Energy stagnation can prevent milk from flowing and lead to breast fullness, engorgement, pain, and distension. In many cases, stagnation leads to mastitis – an infection of the breast tissue. It results in redness, pain, swelling, and in some cases, fever and chills.

One of the most common causes of energy blockages is emotional distress. A woman who had a difficult pregnancy can experience a range of emotions. They may experience periods of anger and feel depressed or frustrated. They may get stressed and experience resentment. These emotions can block the flow of energy, resulting in energy blockages.

Acupuncture can address these and other problems that can cause energy stagnation and affect milk flow. It can be used as an adjunct to Western medicine to treat mastitis. Herbal prescriptions can be combined with antibiotics to heal energy blocks and reduce engorgement and inflammation. 

The Anchor Acupuncture & Wellness team consists of certified acupuncturists proudly serving El Cerrito. We are committed to helping our clients improve their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Call our office at (415) 855-3112.

Amanda Moler is a licensed acupuncturist and certified fertility acupuncturist (FABORM), serving San Francisco, CA.  Her educational background includes receiving a bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from Antioch College in 2001 and in 2010, her master’s degree from American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2008, she also attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, IL for education on acupuncture and oriental medicine. Asa Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, she has gained recognition for treating complex women fertility cases, providing guidance on painful side-effects of drugs, hormones, and maintaining the overall well-being of women. Follow Anchor Acupuncture and Amanda Moler on Facebook , Instagram, LinkedIn.