When you become a Dream Mama you may find it difficult to make the time to continue your meditation practice you have carefully built up and maintained during your pregnancy. Fear not, we have a way you can transform your breastfeeding journey. Feeding your baby whether breastfeeding or bottle is something new mamas do approximately every one to three hours which naturally can feel draining. Instead of looking at it like this is something you need to do and perfect, you can reframe this thinking to see it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness, connect with your baby, slow down your mind, and tune into your body.
We introduce you to Mindful Breastfeeding.....
What is Mindful Breastfeeding?
Mindful Breastfeeding is the practice of breastfeeding using tools, techniques and lactation support to help parents to feed and connect with their baby in a relaxed, calm and fulfilling way. This is an approach which combines mindfulness with breastfeeding, as the name suggests. Mindful breastfeeding is a practice shared with your baby, it isn’t something one gets right immediately. The benefits have shown to help the parent and the baby. This can lead to more confident parents and more settled babies.
Nursing or feeding your Dream Baby can be one of the best ways to fit in a mindful moment.
When considering mindful breastfeeding, it is important to have a mindful approach. A few steps you can take to help create a mindful breastfeeding experience are:
Create a calm and quiet environment, that is not distracting. This will help to make the feeding experience peaceful by reducing the strain on the eyes and hearing. This allows you to be in the moment with your baby, focusing on your body and being in tune by just sitting for that moment.
Practice relaxation breaths. If you have practiced yoga or used the Dream Birth breathing techniques then this may be familiar to you. Try using the Calm Breath (breathing in for the count of 4 and out for the count of 8). This slow and controlled breathing is very relaxing and grounding. This can also help to control your thoughts and help to focus on nursing your baby alone, rather than other things which could be distracting your focus from feeding.
Listen to calming music. Check out our Spotify playlists which can assist with mindfulness. We recommend listing to Calm's music or search meditation music on YouTube which can help to provide a calming environment.
Using the power of your senses to explore contact with your Dream Baby as you feed is an important tool. Start by focussing on each sense – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell – for a few breaths. Really explore the detail of what you experience as it will be different on each feed.
Avoid covering the baby during feeding. Covering the baby will prevent you from being able to connect with them through seeing their actions. Feeding your baby openly and maintaining eye contact is one of the best tips for successful mindful breastfeeding.
Another way to tune into your baby is by sending love and kindness. You can do so by reciting a calming mantra in my mind or out loud:
I am loved. May you feel love. May we feel connected.
Try to enjoy breastfeeding and relax. Don’t feel pressured to breastfeed but rather just do it at your own pace and in tune with your baby. If you are struggling don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not everyone gets it first time and often support from others can be so beneficial. Talk to other mums and try to do what is best for you and your baby.
If you would like to learn more about breastfeeding here are some of our favourite expert resources :
La Leche League offers mother-to-mother support with breastfeeding.
Baby Café is a network of breastfeeding drop-in centres. Find your nearest drop-in by entering your postcode.
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain can help you find a lactation consultant near you.
Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) has information about feeding twins and triplets.
Bliss is a special-care baby charity that provides vital support and care to premature and sick babies across the UK.
KellyMom is a website with excellent tips and resources covering al things breastfeeding.
This post is written in collaboration with Dream Mama Dominique Thompson. Dominique is passionate about empowering mamas through sharing honest motherhood through her beautiful instagram. Thank you very much Dominique for sharing your experience with mindful breastfeeding.