August is National Breastfeeding Month!
From August 1-7, we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week!
In honor of these occasions, we will be providing information with you on breastfeeding benefits, tips, myths, and how our Balanced Health test results can be of benefit!
The Benefits of Breastfeeding. Should Everyone Breastfeed?
Breastfeeding provides a multitude of measurable benefits for both mothers and babies. At the same time, there are instances where formula feeding is the safer option. In this article, we’ll examine both angles. Remember, there is no shame in formula feeding. The goal is to have the baby on a healthy and appropriate diet so they may thrive.
- Baby is receiving a species-specific diet that contains growth factors, hormones, leukocytes, and immunoglobulin A for optimal infant development. Studies show that 1 in 8 low-income mothers water down their formula to make it last longer, resulting in nutritional deficiencies and the potential for water intoxication
- White blood cells in breastmilk help to kill harmful microbes in the infant
- Provides mother with improved insulin and glucose responses
- Breastfed babies are 68% likely to reject an organ donation from their mother, while formula-fed babies are 97% likely to reject a maternal organ donation
- May lessen the adverse effects of smoking during pregnancy when it comes to cognitive development. Smoking cigarettes is the primary exposure route of the heavy metal cadmium to humans. For more information on bioenergetically testing for heavy metals, click here
- Nursing a baby for a year or more correlates with a 15% decreased risk in developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease both pre- and post-menopause
How Does the Body Produce Breastmilk?
Breastmilk is established in the body through hormones. Nerves from vertebrae T1-T5 convey sensations from the breast to the pituitary gland. Hormones travel from the pituitary in the brain to the breast via bloodstream. The hormone prolactin triggers the production of lactose in the mammary cells of the breasts.
Lactose is essential for milk production because it provides the driving osmotic force behind the fluid formulation of milk. In other words, lactose draws water to the mammary cells to turn the components of breastmilk into its fluid form. The hormones oxytocin allows milk to flow out of the breast. The hormones oxytocin and prolactin are released by the posterior pituitary gland in response to suckling.
You may have heard of the term “colostrum,” which is the first milk produced after birth. Colostrum is produced under the influence of placental delivery, which rapidly drops progesterone levels. Biological males who produce breastmilk do not have the ability to create colostrum.
Wait, men can produce breastmilk?
Compared to milk from a biological female, male breastmilk has similar levels of lactose, more protein, more albumin, more sodium, more IgA antibodies, more vitamin K, and more chloride. Men also have the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, which are responsible for the creation and ejection of breastmilk.
With that being said, if you are a male who is lactating, consider having your hormone levels checked, as unintentional male lactation is a concern. It often stems from an unbalanced pituitary gland, where oxytocin and prolactin are produced. Here at Balanced Health, we scan for bioenergetic imbalances of the pituitary as a part of our Full Scan. Learn more about the scan and view a sample report by clicking here.
Busting Common Breastfeeding Myths: The Truth
- Natural breast size is NOT related to milk production volume
- A drug or herb that is safe during pregnancy MAY NOT be safe during lactation, as the placenta and the milk cell membranes filter differently.
- Increasing your water intake does NOT increase your milk production; however, staying hydrated may give you the energy to breastfeed more often, which can help keep your production regular
- Breastfeeding does NOT lead to significant weight loss. Clinical studies show that those who breastfeed lose an average of only 3 pounds more over 6 months than those who do not breastfeed
- Resting does NOT increase milk supply
- Malnourishment does NOT influence milk production, though the quality of the milk compared to a nourished mother may be compromised
If you feel your breastmilk supply is low…
There are things you can do to help. In some cases, lifestyle changes can make all of the difference! Consider the following:
- Oxytocin can be released via conditional response to smelling, hearing, or looking at your baby. You may find greater success in pumping or hand expressing your milk while looking at a picture of your baby, smelling their recently worn clothing or blankets, and listening to a recording of your baby crying
- Prolactin production is dependent on nipple stimulation, while oxytocin is dependent on nipple stretching and breast massage. Massaging your breasts while pumping or nursing and taking time to massage the breasts and stretch the nipples outside of pumping and nursing can naturally increase these hormone levels. This is especially important if you have inverted nipples
- Stop the use of all nicotine-containing products
- Clinical studies show that babies nurse an average of over 6 minutes longer when the mother is taking a garlic supplement. Longer nursing sessions may help to increase or steady milk supply
- Avoid the use of nipple shields if you can. Shields prevent the nipples from receiving nerve stimulation, which results in lower oxytocin release
- In one clinical study, the use of guided imagery was shown to increase breastmilk output. Those using guided imagery via a 20 minute audio recording of progressive relaxation and imaging milk flow produced an average of 90.1 mL of milk, while the control group produced 55.4 mL
- Consider testing through Balanced Health. Our Full Scan tests for bioenergetic imbalances in TSH, T3, T4, insulin, progesterone, iron, pituitary and thyroid glands, and other areas that may be influencing your milk production
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or currently nursing, learning what imbalances resonate with you can provide you with the knowledge you need to make positive lifestyle changes for the benefit of your health AND your little one!
We also offer personal consultations from our expert practitioners who go over the results of any scan with you one on one to get the most out of your scan results and provide the benefits of breastfeeding for you!