I’ve been breastfeeding Jonah for 14 months now. It’s so cosy and convenient and we love it, but it hasn’t always been easy. We struggled to get him latched on in the first few days and we were advised in hospital to use nipple shields.
The shields worked really well and we were able to feed. Yet Jonah lost over 10% of his body weight within the first week. He was very fussy right after feeds, and he cried a lot in the night. Worried and doubting, we supplemented with two 4oz bottles of formula a day to help him gain weight quickly, and satisfy his hunger.
And gain weight he did! This allowed us to be discharged from hospital as his weight gain was ample.
Did he seem any more satisfied? Not really. In hindsight, I believe Jonah’s fussiness was normal newborn behaviour. So we went on supplementing for 5 weeks, then we gradually decreased the formula, and I pumped to increase my supply. We were back to exclusive breastfeeding, which was just what I wanted.
Eventually, at about four months, we weaned off the nipple shields, too. Jonah decided he didn’t like them and fussed and fussed until I removed them. Oh the pain! My boobs weren’t used to his latch without the shield protecting them.
Which brings me to this review of Weleda’s beautifully comforting nursing oil. Nipple creams and balms are helpful, and I used them in the very early days of nursing. But I really wanted something that would work with massage, as my boobs ached. I also occasionally got a milk blister or a blocked duct that would need massage and heat to work away. Weleda nursing oil is fantastic for this!
Weleda says that “massage with the oil cares for breasts, stimulates skin blood circulation and warms breast tissue”.
They don’t claim that their nursing oil increases milk supply. They do say that the herbs in the formula “are traditionally used during breastfeeding to support healthy lactation and stimulate free milk flow”.
Yet the formula does contain galactagogues (substances that increase milk supply), which have been used by nursing mothers to support their milk production.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t rely on galactagogues to increase your milk supply. The most natural and reliable way to increase milk supply is through increasing the frequency and/or duration of feeds/pumps.
Let’s have a look at the beneficial ingredients:
Fennel is a phytoestrogenic herb used by women to increase milk supply. What’s great about fennel is that research backs up its traditional use. It can be applied topically as an essential oil, or consumed. Fennel can also help to relieve colic in breastfed infants. Read this wonderful article for more info on how breastfeeding mothers’ can use fennel.
Caraway is used by breastfeeding women as a lactation aid and to treat colic, however there are no studies to validate its anecdotal benefits.
Marjoram is an anti-inflammatory lactogenic herb with a history of use in supporting healthy milk supply. Again there’s no evidence to show it increases milk production.
Sweet almond oil
An easily absorbed carrier oil that moisturises the skin without being too heavy – great when the next breastfeeding session isn’t too far away.
How to use Weleda nursing oil
In the early days, I did find timing my massage session using Weleda nursing oil quite hard, as it’s supposed to be used after a feed. I found that if baby was cluster feeding, there might not be much time till the next feed! But the smell of the herbs in Weleda nursing oil does seem to wear off quite quickly.
To use the oil, I warm a little in my hands, then massage it into my breasts using small circular clockwise motions, working around the breast clockwise. Weleda provide a leaflet in the packaging to show you how to massage the breast in the best way.
Enjoy the warm sweet herbal fragrance!
Along with massage, I sometimes use a warm cloth with the oil on it as a compress over my entire breast. It is so good for tired boobs!
How Weleda nursing oil works for me
It increases the speed of my let down. The combination of massage and using Weleda nursing oil increases the speed of my let down reflex which means less work for Jonah. In fact, he is probably a bit surprised he has to do so little work to make milk flow!
Pamper factor! Great for self care as it helps me to feel comforted and cared for. I feel very pampered after massaging with this oil. My boobs work very hard!
Fixes blockages. The oil helps shift lumpy bits and blocked ducts. Lots of heat and massage for the win!
Increases milk supply? The herbs in Weleda nursing oil are traditionally used to support breastfeeding, but it’s not intended to increase milk supply. So who knows? I can’t say whether it does as there’s no reliable way to know.
Regular massage is necessary to keep up the benefits. I try to massage once a day.
I would recommend Weleda nursing oil if you like the idea of using breast massage with oil, or have blocked milk ducts to be worked out. It quickens let down, warms the breasts, feels wonderfully comforting, and is a great way to practise self care.
Have you tried breast massage? What natural oils do you use? Let me know in the comments!