Have you ever checked e-mails while breastfeeding? Have you ever talked on the phone while breastfeeding? I’ve heard literally hundreds of stories about what moms do while naturally nourishing their little one. From watching television to writing their grocery list all the way to vacuuming or making dinner. It seems as though we spend such a large portion of our day breastfeeding that most of us make the choice to multi-task.
Just before writing this article I was at a park with my two boys and noticed a mom browsing her smart phone while breastfeeding her baby. Nothing wrong with that. Afterall, we’ve all done this. However, I do want to share a different option when it comes to breastfeeding; one that has been a peak for me in my motherhood journey. Perhaps this will inspire you to give it a try as well.
Once breastfeeding was established with my second boy we got into a nice rhythm and whenever I felt like it, but especially for the last feeding of day, I would choose to meditate while breastfeeding him. It put me (and him) in such a calm and pure state. It was always a moment of deep relaxation for me. It was as though we were one. There were times when I couldn’t distinguish what physical part was mine and which one was his. We were absolutely bounded and it was blissful!
There are many studies on the benefits of meditation. One of the main benefits is the natural increase in production of the life-enhancing hormone DHEA during meditation. Elevated levels of DHEA also imply decreased levels of cortisol and adrenaline. During pregnancy the elevation of the vivifying DHEA gets to the womb, child, and through lactation and breastfeeding, to the child after birth.
Here are a few practical tips if you want to give this a try:
- Get comfortable. Take a seated position on your favorite breastfeeding chair. Make sure your arms are well-supported and that baby is also in the ideal position. Use your breastfeeding cushion or use any other cushions to increase your comfort level. Your cushions may be placed behind you to support your back and under your arms to ensure you can be totally loose and relaxed.
- Close your eyes. When baby has begun to breastfeed and you are both comfortable, close your eyes. Meditation is simply accessing a deep state of relaxation beyond the busyness of the mind. It’s a journey inward by putting our attention inside rather than outside. With your eyes closed, put your attention on your breath. Take a few breaths and with your inhale repeat “so” and with your exhale repeat “hum”. “So hum” means “I am” and is simply a mantra that will bring you to your core self.
- Always bring your attention to the breath and the mantra. Whenever you notice that you are having a thought like “What will I make for dinner?” or “I need to call so and so” shift your attention back to the breath and the mantra. While practicing this simple meditation your mind will naturally declutter and you will feel more at ease, relaxed and happy.
- Enjoy this moment. This precious moment with baby while breastfeeding is so incrediblly beautiful. As you relax in the moment, you are strenghtening your bond with baby. Meditation generates a wonderful energy and you are creating a little cocoon of nurturing energy between the two of you. Be conscious of this moment and enjoy it. Even if you chose to simply put your attention on your breath and to not incorporate the mantra you will automatically reconnect to the present moment. In the present, all is well.
My wish for all mothers is that meditation becomes a regular part of their lives. With this practice we increase our awareness and begin to live life in a nourishing and expanded way. If you haven’t given it a try yet, meditation while breastfeeding may very well be the ideal time to start.