4 Common Breastfeeding Challenges and Alternative Therapies to Try

4 Common Breastfeeding Challenges and Alternative Therapies to Try

Jan 27 , 2021


Megan McDonough

While no two breastfeeding journeys are the same, there are definitely some common challenges many of us share. Whether it’s experiencing nipple pain, milk blisters or blocked ducts or struggling with your mood and overall mental health, we’ve rounded up four alternative methods to try. 

From acupuncture to craniosacral therapy, there are more solutions than you think! 

Craniosacral therapy (CST) for better breastfeeding

Craniosacral Therapy (CST for short) is not as talked about as more traditional methods, but many moms turn to this system of techniques for better breastfeeding. CST focuses on the soft tissue structures surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Craniosacral Therapy tools and techniques involve light-touch massage that puts light pressure to relax both the brain and the body. 

If you think your infant might benefit from Craniosacral Therapy, an introductory session or consultation is a good first step. During these sessions, your specialist will access the soft-tissue manipulation of your baby’s mouth and on the head, spine and pelvis. Very little pressure is needed for an evaluation, since an infant’s connective tissue is so soft. 

Ways CST can improve breastfeeding: 

  • Helps bring your baby’s tongue out over the gum line
  • Reduces tension in your baby’s neck
  • Relaxes their jaw so that they can open their mouths more comfortably
  • Increases their range of motion of the tongue and haw
  • Eases tension inside your baby’s mouth (balances out suction that is too strong or too weak)

    Chiropractic care for breast and nipple pain

    In a previous post, we covered how to heal blocked ducts, milk blisters and nipple blisters. Working with a lactation consultant or counselor, taking ibuprofen and wearing breast shields are a few ways to alleviate the pain you are feeling. 

    However, sometimes the problem is not what you think the problem is, and that’s when consulting a chiropractor is a good next step. While it might not seem like the most intuitive choice, there are many women who swear by it. 

    For one, when it comes to the body as a whole, chiropractors are kind of like detectives. They are skilled to identify not only where there is a problem, but why there is a problem. Symptoms like nipple pain help them dig deeper to target the problem and help the body attain balance. Here are a few examples: 

    Sharp pain when you deeply inhale 

    Sharp pain that worsens with deep breathing might feel like breast pain when it is actually inflammation of deeper tissues due to a misalignment in the area where one of the ribs attaches to the sternum. When this happens, your lungs can’t properly expand when you breathe. 

    Pain on the sides of your breasts

    If you’re feeling consistent pain on both sides of your breasts, you may also notice constipation. A chiropractor might determine that in the area just south of your breasts (aka your intestines), your body isn’t detoxifying as it should. What happens when toxins aren’t expelled through the digestive tract is that they are reabsorbed and stored in fatty tissue. That accumulation then creates inflammation. 

    Nearly-constant breast achiness 

    Breast ashiness coupled with dry skin on your hands and shins could be due to a diet that lacks healthy fats. While it’s generally a good idea to avoid unhealthy fats (fried food, for example), healthy fats help build healthy cell walls whereas a lack of these fats may lead to inflammation. 

    Acupuncture for mental health and milk supply

    As acupuncture becomes more mainstream in the Western world, many moms are turning to this 2,000 years-old ancient technique for everything from balancing hormones and supporting the endocrine system to aiding in mental health and increasing milk supply. 

    Emotional Regulation

    Hormones act as messengers in the body, sending information about sleep regulation, reproduction, emotional health and energy levels. So, when there’s a hormonal imbalance, a lot of body systems can be affected. Cue energy dips, reduced libido, infertility, irregular periods and mood swings. 

    By activating certain points in the body through acupuncture, these systems are brought back into balance. A balanced system supports our mood, motivation and overall outlook on life. 

    Milk flow

    Through a Chinese medicine lens, the root cause of all breastfeeding problems is a lack of blood, usually due to some sort of blockage in the acupuncture channels. The goal is to restore harmony within the body, as well as blood flow. 

    According to Cap Wellness Center, there are a few points you can stimulate 2-3 times per day to help with the let-down process and increase milk supply: 

    • SI 1: This point is on the outside corner of the pinky nail and helps improve mammillary filling, increase lactation, and prolactin levels. Great for low milk supply.
    • GB 21: Located at the highest point on the shoulder, midway between the spine and the shoulder. Stimulation of this point helps promote the milk “let down” reflex.

      We’d say the most empowering part of acupuncture is that unlike many medicines, acupuncture works to redirect energy in the body (qi) so that it can heal itself.

      Breast massage for increased milk supply

      Of course, don’t forget that breast massage is a great tip for producing more milk. The Lilu Massage Bra Gen 2 features Massage Cushions that mimic massage motions recommended by lactation experts, while the Rechargeable Controller turns the massage on/off and adjusts massage levels. A full battery lasts for 2 hours of pumping.

      Lilu is a Women’s Health company building tech-enabled devices to empower new moms. Our first product, the Lilu Massage Bra, mimics compression massage, so you can empty your breasts fully to establish, increase and maintain your milk supply. Pump up to 50% more milk each session, all while going hands-free.
      Lilu Massage Bra with flanges

      Lilu Massage Bra

      Related Posts

      What does science say about pumping and dumping?
      What does science say about pumping and dumping?
      You may be surprised, and excited to hear the science about drinking (in moderation) while breastfeed. “Just pump and du
      Read More
      What do you really need on your baby registry? 
      What do you really need on your baby registry? 
      How to register for successful parenting One of the first questions we ask ourselves once we find out we are expecting a
      Read More


      • Elina Brooks

        I’m glad you informed us that craniosacral therapy can help moms improve breastfeeding since the specialist will access the soft-tissue manipulation of the baby’s mouth and on the head, spine, and pelvis to increase their range of motion of the tongue and haw. It seems like my sister has a hard time breastfeeding her baby, so she wants to find ways to help since it has been recommended by the doctor to stick to breastfeeding for the time being. I’ll have to recommend craniosacral therapy to her once I find a specialist she can approach about it soon. https://www.leveragesoulandsound.com/copy-of-sound-therapy

      Leave a comment

      Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

      The Massage Bra Every Mom Needs, Almost Sold Out!

      The Massage Bra Every Mom Needs, Almost Sold Out!

      Introducing the revolutionary Lilu Lactation Massager Bra - designed to make your pumping sessions more efficient and comfortable than ever before. With our lactation massage cushions, you can experience the benefits of hands-on compression motions recommended by lactation experts, without using your hands. Our bra holds the cushions securely in place, massaging both breasts while you pump, helping to increase milk flow and maintain your milk supply.

      Learn More

      The Massage Bra Every Mom Needs, Almost Sold Out!

      Level up production (30-55%+ increased milk production)
      View Product