I recently had the wonderful experience of helping a friend who had just given birth recently. She was having trouble producing enough milk, but was determined to breastfeed. Does Chinese medicine have a solution for lactation problems? Of course it does!
There are specific acupuncture points that help increase milk production. One of them is in the centre of the chest, but another one is near the tip of the pinky (the smallest finger). The pinky doesn’t really make sense, unless you know something about the Small Intestine channel or meridian, which runs from the tip of the pinky up the arm, then a deep pathway goes down through the chest and into the small intestine. Therefore, needling the point on the pinky has an influence on lactation.
My friend was also making sure she was eating well – new mums need food that builds blood and promotes qi. Broth is excellent. Adzuki beans is also a wonderful aid to help with milk production.
The good news is that 3 weeks after giving birth, mum’s making enough milk and baby is more settled. In the UK, most people still think of acupuncture in terms of muscular-skeletal issues. I love the reaction that this story gets, people are so surprised to hear about acupuncture and breastfeeding. Alas, Chinese medicine still doesn’t have an answer to new babies who don’t sleep through the night!