The Honest Birth Company

importance of mindful breastfeeding

The importance of mindfulness in breastfeeding?

When I tell people that I am a Mindful Breastfeeding Practitioner I often get a puzzled look and a “whats that?” 

In short, I am trained to give breastfeeding support to those at the start of their breastfeeding journey as standard, but I also teach and incorporate vital calming skills that can support breastfeeding and enable mum to feel more connected and calm throughout the process. These tools really can be a god send especially in the 4th trimester when you’re finding your feet. 

Mindfulness has been practised for 1000s of years and in todays modern world, it is practised in healing. If we have been having a stressful time. Stress can have a detrimental effect on our mental health and our physical health. This is because when we are stressed our bodies instantly go into fight or flight syndrome. Our bodies release hormones when stressed which then triggers the fight or flight response.

This was brilliant for our ancestors who needed a boost of adrenaline to run away from the tiger. However, in todays modern world it doesn’t quite add up. We can feel threatened when we have to do something new, or when we have a deadline to meet. If we are feeling stress constantly it can be bad for our bodies. Unfortunately our bodies can not tell the difference between meeting a deadline and running away from a tiger, it feels threat and responds accordingly.

What does this have to do with breastfeeding or parenting?

When we breastfeed, we need our bodies to produce oxytocin. This enables the let down process. The more oxytocin is flowing, the more milk we can produce for our babies. and the greater the bonding experience.

Oxytocin is restricted when we feel stressed or our bodies are under threat. Whilst trying to breastfeed and work on the latch, its easy to become stressed when your baby wont latch and is crying because she/he is hungry. It becomes a viscous circle. If we practice mindfulness before a feed, clients often find latching their baby is easy and baby has a good feed. It is more enjoyable for both mum and baby. This is because you have reset your nervous system by relaxing your body, focusing on your breath and getting rid of any tension you may feel.  Your body is no longer feeling that threat but instead is feeling love, connection and joy.

What do I believe about this practice?

I truly and wholeheartedly believe that if every mother practiced mindfulness when breastfeeding, our breastfeeding rates here in the UK, would greatly increase. I’ve seen clients go from being unable to latch their baby and be in constant pain, to having the perfect latch and being happy to carry on breastfeeding. Ive also witnessed mothers unable to pump, then going on to fill two bottles of milk after one relaxation. These results are amazing and I am so humbled to be able to support families within my practice. 

To sign up to my 6 week Mindful Breastfeeding Course In Exeter click here. If you would like to sign up to the course then please do so here. Alternatively if you would like some one to one support using mindful breastfeeding techniques then please contact me to arrange an appointment.

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