Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breastfeeding, Tea & Me

 MP900448139 **I LOVE tea. I drink tea for many reasons, primarily I drink for wellness and health and the feeling of wellness. I drink tea for nutrition and minerals. A good cup of tea at the right time certainly lifts my spirits. I drink several cups of tea a day…and I also breastfeed.

I've gotten side-glances and raised eyebrows when others learn this information. Herbs and breastfeeding are a no-no after all, doctors and all sorts of medical websites warn against such. They warn of dire consequences to the babe and mother. They constantly state that certain herbs have not been researched, therefore, breastfeeding moms should stay away from such herbs, after all better safe than sorry, right? It’s better to stay completely way from certain herbs/teas, than to risk harm because there is no knowledge of them. The answer that garners a pat on the head would be, “YES, absolutely!” Naturally we all want to viewed as though we are fit to parent.

…But when you think about it…this do or die “principle” of medical experts is continually violated by their own standards. After all…doesn’t pharmaceutical drugs and various prescribed medication carry some sort of risk and side effects? Which, more often than not, out weigh the benefit of the drug itself? By this principle, we should ALL avoid prescribed medication. How much more so when the risks of the drugs are KNOWN?
I honestly believe that if herbs were accepted by the medical community as a valid way of healing and health there would be much less prescribed meds. And if there are less prescribed meds then, less money for the pharmaceutical companies bottom line. With their “sponsorships” of sorts on websites like WebMD (BNet) How can we trust the medical experts “opinion” on herbs and their impact on breast milk?

I refused to believe, as a nursing mother I was only limited to drinking green tea. I decided to do my research on informational sites that were catered to the in depth knowledge of herbs of all kinds. To go straight to the “horse’s mouth” so-to-speak for the unbiased truth. Getting information about herbs from a herbalist  and sites catered to the understanding of herbs, is unquestionably better than getting a sponsored diagnosis from a doctor.  In stating this, let me be clear, there ARE herbs that are unsuitable for pregnant, nursing moms and children.  Sage, in large quantities, for example can reduce your milk supply. Earth Mama Angel Baby has a good Ebook that can serve as a basic guideline.

Every time I encountered a tea I was curious about, I would go on a “tea” date.  I would find out all about it and once I determined it was a match for me, I would court it…until another herb attracted my attention. This way I was able to build my knowledge of teas and my experience of it. With that I could determine what tea I needed for what ever purpose it would serve me.

Caffeine in tea is misunderstood and is overrated as a potentially  harmful substance. For one, caffeine does not decrease milk supply, Secondly, caffeine  in tea is much less than coffee. Black tea typically contains the most amount of caffeine of teas. It contains half the amount of one cup of coffee. Green  & white teas are even lower than black tea. Considering the recommended limit of caffeinated coffee is two cups a day,  a nursing mom can easily have several cups of  tea a day.  KellyMom.com has wonderful information on caffeine and how it relates to breast milk. The beautiful thing about breastfeeding is the bond we moms have with our babes, with this we can determine when is enough, or too much.

Personally speaking, when it comes to caffeine, it is vital to distinguish between synthetic and naturally occurring caffeine. I avoid synthetic caffeine at all costs. I avoid anything synthetic of all types be it caffeine, hormones or formula (as opposed to breast milk).  It is clear to me that nature is a superpower at creating and providing  health and wellness we need to not only survive, but THRIVE. And attempts to duplicate this power is pathetically fraudulent in the evidence of it’s side effects.

In the end, breastfeeding moms shouldn’t miss out on vital nutrients, minerals and antioxidants that  some herbs have to offer. For example Rooibos tea is wonderful. Perfect for breastfeeding moms and their babes.  It contains no caffeine and is anti-spasmodic which can be a balm for colicky babes. It has 50 percent more antioxidants than green tea, and hosts minerals such as Iron and Magnesium (and more!). Drinking several cups of Rooibos a day can certainly have a positive effect on your being. Here are some sites to get you started on your tea dates:

www.learn-about-tea.com
www.teabenefits.com
www.herbwisdom.com
www.herbnet.com

When you are ready for courtship, buy your tea/herb organic whenever you can and fair-trade certified. If you  buy tea that combines a variety of herbs together. Read the ingredient list. And try to avoid teas that are artificially flavored, they usually leave an unpleasant aftertaste, at least for me it does. Better yet, buy it in bulk, it’s cheaper in the sense that you get more for your money and it’s wholesomeness (free of artificial flavoring) is guaranteed . This way you can brew a pot of tea to have available to drink through out the day.

**Disclaimer – This blog in no way professes to treat, cure or diagnose. The content in this post and blog are offered on an informational basis only. 

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