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Your Hormones and Lactation Health: Understanding the Link

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Your Hormones and Lactation Health: Understanding the Link

Lactation — milk production — happens naturally after you deliver your baby, but that doesn’t mean it always goes smoothly. Your hormones play a big role, and if they’re out of whack, you may struggle to breastfeed. Here’s what you need to know.

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial things you can do for your newborn baby. It provides unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that meet your baby's needs perfectly. 

Two primary hormones — oxytocin and prolactin — control this vital lactation process.

Oxytocin facilitates milk release from the breast, while prolactin stimulates milk production. Together, these hormones ensure a steady supply of breast milk, ready for when your baby needs it, so maintaining their delicate balance is crucial.

When it comes to postpartum care and navigating lactation problems, we’ve got you covered. At Earthy Ruby in Cupertino, California, we care for new moms using holistic methods that nurture their bodies, minds, and spirits. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding and milk production, you may have a hormone imbalance. This guide answers some of the most common questions about the link between hormones and lactation.

Why hormonal imbalances occur

A hormonal imbalance can happen for various reasons, such as stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet, potentially leading to issues in milk production. 

For instance, stress can inhibit the release of oxytocin, disrupting your milk let-down reflex. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can affect prolactin levels, leading to reduced milk production.

Holistic approaches to lactation problems

While modern medicine offers several options for replacing and balancing hormones using synthetic supplements, our Earthy Ruby team believes there’s a better, healthier way.

We offer holistic approaches to lactation problems, including acupuncture and massage therapy.

Acupuncture for lactation

Acupuncture is a time-honored practice that has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of health issues. It’s a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which views the body as a complex network of energy pathways, or meridians. From this perspective, disease or imbalance is seen as a disruption of the body’s vital energy, or Qi.

The good news for new moms like you is that acupuncture can promote and support lactation by stimulating specific points on the body connected to hormonal regulation. Using acupuncture, our licensed experts can help rebalance the delicate interplay between oxytocin and prolactin and stimulate milk production and release.

Research has shown that acupuncture can stimulate the nervous system, leading to the release of hormones that can benefit lactation. Other studies show that acupuncture increases prolactin levels in breastfeeding mothers with low milk supply.

Massage therapy for lactation

Since stress, anxiety, or physical discomfort can interfere with prolactin and oxytocin production, thereby interfering with breastfeeding, addressing those issues may resolve your breastfeeding and lactation problems. 

Enter massage therapy. 

By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, massage therapy can optimize your endocrine system, supporting your production and release of milk.

Research has shown that massage therapy can increase levels of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for milk let-down. So, regular massage sessions could potentially enhance your milk supply and make breastfeeding more comfortable.

Breastfeeding is an intimate act of nurturing that offers immense health benefits to both mother and child. If you're experiencing lactation issues, call our friendly team at Earthy Ruby, or use our online scheduler to book an appointment with our postpartum specialists.