• Lactation Cymru

Mindful breastfeeding.

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

New babies are stressful, no doubt about it. Whether you're exclusively breastfeeding, or pumping, babies cry and your hormones are everywhere! We get into something called a fight, flight and freeze mode when we're stressed.

Being tense makes everything 10 times harder and 10 times more painful. But there is something we can do about it:

Sitting back, taking a deep breath and doing some mindfulness really does bring your stress levels down.

It brings you into the now and releases that wonderful oxytocin, the love hormone. Being a new parent means that you are clutching at time for yourself. Grabbing a couple of minutes just to sit still, breathe and listen to a meditation with light visualisation, can be the make or break of the day. Routinely giving yourself time can help alleviate stress and feelings of being overwhelmed - it can just make your life easier all round!

Being a new parent can easily overwhelm the best of us, and throw us into fight, flight or freeze mode. Exploring feelings and emotions, although it can be hard, in the long run it can help us cope and understand what's going on. Using mindset tools can change and build confidence and resilience in our belief in ourselves, as well as understanding our feelings and what's going on in our life.

Oxytocin can become really restricted. For example when we feel threatened, stressed, when our environment is bright, noisy or busy, when you're afraid or you're alone.

Restricting oxytocin can result in your letdown being compromised. Not ideal when you're breastfeeding or if you're pumping!

Feeling loved, being stroked, touched, smelling your baby and being in an environment that is welcoming, supportive, happy and quiet will support and encourage the oxytocin in your body. Becoming calmer and more relaxed in ourselves and initiating the rest and digest mode of our ancient brain, is much healthier for us - both mind and body.

Research shows, that just 10 minutes of relaxation each and every day can significantly improve our health. Just like everything else: the more we practice, the easier it gets, and the more efficient we become. 10 minutes that's all it takes! If you don't have 10 minutes, just stopping and doing some breathing exercises can help.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, feel the expansion of your ribcage, hold your breath for a couple of seconds and slowly breathe out and repeat.

If you have 10 minutes, find a quiet place to lie down and close your eyes. Just relaxing and listening to some kind of meditation or visualisation regularly will help you calm and connect with yourself and your baby.

So what are you waiting for? Stop. Breathe in your baby's smell, or feel your baby move. Relax. It's good for you!

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