I receive a considerable number of inquiries about my care from both public and professionals. Here is what can entail in my Chinese Medicine Based Weaning Support Session(s).
Important Note: Weaning is a natural process and not a disease or pathological, so the support should remain as such. However, it can lead to challenging situations for some people. Key is education and empowerment for prevention, and timely professional intervention for troubling symptoms when needed.
Here are some basic elements:
Evaluation of overall picture of feeding and the lactating person’s health (physical and emotional)
Further investigation of what is leading to the decision to wean if they express it as challenging Too much obstacles and discouraged to continue? Medical reasons? Back to work? Baby is “old enough” and “it’s time”?
Goal Setting If obstacles are making them want to wean, the first step is to present solutions to the obstacles. If the decision to wean is final, then set realistic goals and what path is good for their circumstances. Most common ones are: - Prevent/Reduce inflammation - Prevent mastitis - Manage discomfort - Reduce milk making activities - Support baseline health
Then we implement the course of actions from any of the following (not necessarily all of them).
Set Expectations Weaning will not happen overnight Reviewing the average timeline of weaning process
Parent-Baby Relationship Nursing = nurturing and nutritive How to maintain nutrients to the baby? How can we support the child’s emotions and needs and bonding?
Knowledge/Education/Empowerment How is milk made? What influences the milk production? What is weaning? What is involution? How does it happen? What can we do to influence these components “naturally”? Acknowledgement & Validation Acknowledge their work as a parent and the decision of weaning Be supportive/validate their completion after a long challenging journey Emotional Support Weaning can create a lot of stress and bring a lot of emotions to the parent Hydrotherapy When to use what, and how Modified Breast Massage Instruction Review specific ways to care breasts while weaning Hint; NO VIGOROUS massage
Modified Hand-Expression or Pumping Instruction Implement a modified Hand-expression to alleviate discomfort which would look very different from the one outside the weaning phase. So does pumping sessions. Proper instruction and discussing “why” is key Self-Acupressure To address constitution and breast health
Other means of symptom management with professional intervention If the parent has underlying imbalances or needs medical professional support (ie. low immunity, chronic inflammation in the breasts, prone to infection, higher stress etc), following treatment can be also implemented. Weaning Tea Several tea options are discussed. A kind of tea that is known to reduce prolactin (milk making hormone) in Chinese Medicine can be introduced. Tea can be taken throughout the weaning process.
Lactation Massage Normally provided on day 3 and day 21 of the weaning process but this varies from person to person. The techniques and intention of massage are quite different from maintenance phase or for blocked ducts.
Acupuncture for Constitutional & Symptom Support There is an anecdotal set of acupuncture points that are known to support weaning when used in a combination. Also to support constitution and further prevent mastitis, support immunity, local inflammation, and reduce discomfort etc. Herbal Medicine for Constitutional & Symptom Support Strong concoction or tincture can be prescribed when the person is prone to infection/inflammation, significantly abundant supply, or any constitutional imbalances are present that would need further intervention, a custom herbal medicine can be provided to further assist the person. Topical herbal medicine (cream/plaster) can be provided to help manage discomfort, reduce/prevent inflammation, and milk production when needed. And more...
The number of sessions required varies from person to person. It can be a one time thing, or require one or two follow-ups or more if there are complications and need a close monitoring and treatment/intervention. Akari