Natural induction and milk production

When being pregnant we are almost completely in the doctors hands regarding how and when we need tests, blood works, medicine. In other words, we often choose to just do as the doctor says, perhaps because we haven't been in this situation before and we hear and read a lot about all the terrible things that can happen to us or baby during pregnancy.

But truth is, most pregnant women go through pregnancy without any problems and most have a natural birth. It is however becoming even more and more common to treat pregnant ladies as sick or being close to sick by ordering and recommending tests and treatments that may not be warranted. All this said, you still need to listen to you doctor, as he/she knows about all the signs and symptoms that may indicate something being terrible wrong with either you or bub. That is why you need to inform yourself about possible risks and benefits from each examination and possible interventions you are offered. Because you DO have something to say in the matter. If you don't understand what your doctor is saying or why you need a flu shot or some test, ASK! And also let them know, that you will go home and read a bit more about it before deciding. Some doctors have a really good scare story like my doctor, but I was lucky enough to not let me bully into doing something that I didn't want to do. And I think my doctor and I came to some sort of understanding, even though we didn't agree on multiple things, but it was too close to birth to change to another doctor, and I just got this one as I had recently moved to town.

Because of my "age" and previous history, my doctor seemed very set on the idea, that I should have an elective C-section, which I did not want. Then he wanted me to be induced at week 38, but due to his vacation, it would be in week 37. I did not want that as well, as I believe bub should stay where he was until he was ready to face the world or there was indications of him being in distress, which of cause would cause me to change my mind immediately and get him out. However, my doctor insisted on treating me to a "voluntary" C-section if contractions didn't start by week 40. I managed to convince my female obstetrician (who lucky for me was in charge of a possible C-section) to leave bub in there for a bit longer if everything was fine.

Therefore, I researched the internet and asked people about wife tales regarding natural induction. There wasn't a simple answer, and I think the gist of it all is, that you can only help the body along if it is ready to be helped. But I tried the whole list  and ended up not being ready at week 37 or week 38 which was my doctors "due date". Big surprise there ;-)

My efforts may however, have resulted in me having the first contraction precisely on my estimated due-date (this was my second baby, which according to the medical profession and many second time moms, usually will be about 2 weeks earlier that your due date). My bub was NOT ready until he was baked enough and properly. If it was the utilization of the below list of natural induction "remedies" that did it or nature? I will never know.

 

NATURAL INDUCTION:

By 34 weeks, start drinking raspberry leaf tea.

By 37 weeks, start taking Evening Primrose oil

By 40 weeks;

  • Use acupressure on ankle (4 finger width up from protruding ankle bone on inside of leg. Press 1 minute, relax 1 minute, press 1 minute etc). Press on the sore point on the web between thumb and "mummy finger"
  • Eat bananas for potassium
  • The herb basil stimulates blood to the uterus
  • Bounce on an exercise ball with legs wide apart. Bounce high.
  • Fast pace walking
  • 6 dates a day.
  • Kneeling with bum up in the air lying on elbows.
  • The herb "mother wort", which is effective for creating contractions.
  • Eat fresh pineapple
  • Do a few squats a day
  • Eat Labour cookies (see below for recipe.

 

Labour Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 spoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup egg whites

Mix the butter and sugar in another bowl and add molasses and egg whites.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and add them slowly to the wet ingredients while stirring.

Place little balls of cookie dough on baking paper and bake them 8-10 minutes at 175 degree Celcius (350 degree F).

 

When baby is finally out, and you are ready to nurse him/her, there may be only little milk to offer in the beginning. Some midwifes suggests you try to express before giving birth. Aka, you try to squeeze a few drops of milk out of your nipples. For me that didn't work, so again I searched wide and far to figure out how to increase the milk production.

 

MILK PRODUCTION:

There are lots of good and bad advice out there, but I will try to collect the GOOD advice for you here. Milk production varies from person to person, and also depends on a various range of factors. For instance, labour induction can seriously affect your milk production, while it won't affect it for others.

A good idea to increase milk flow is to have baby suckle immediately when born. So straight to mummy's chest for a drink with cord intact and all. All the cleaning up, weighing and checking can wait if baby is not in any health danger. Make sure you request this on your birth wish list (help and guidance to make a birth wish list is in the course!). The skin on skin contact between mom and bub straight after birth is also one of the high scoring milk production factors. If mom is not able to hold baby right after birth, dad is a great second best! So off with the shirt dad and give your new love some cuddles.

Some women still struggle with having enough milk, and this is where the next step is introduced. You (or someone else if you have just given birth) can whip up some lactation/nursing cookies (see recipe below) before you start with modern medicine to increase milk flow. Why not give it a try, right? The important thing no matter what you try is, to keep breast feeding and maybe even pump out as often as possible. It is the basic principle of supply and demand - the supply increases as demand increases!

 

Nursing cookies:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 spoons flaxseed flour (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 spoons water
  • 1 spoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 spoons Brewer's yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalaya salt (fine)
  • 1 1/2 cup oats

In a bowl, mix flaxseed flour and water and leave it a few minutes.

In another bowl, whisk butter with sugar and when well mixed, add eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flaxseed and water mixture.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients except for the oats, and mix well.

Add the oats and the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

With a big spoon, make dough balls and put them on baking paper. Give them a little pres down so they flatten a little.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 170 degrees C (or 340 degrees K)

 

So now you have some of the advice accessible from experience and a bit of research I have done. If you STILL struggle with breastfeeding, it's OK to supply with formula if you haven't started doing so already, to keep baby happy. Some women just don't have enough for the baby, and you know what? In today's day, that does NOT matter, as the baby formula you can buy in most countries are of really good quality.

I hope you have the birth you dream of.