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  • Writer's pictureRosemary Scott

What is Mindful Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding, whilst natural, can be challenging. Whether you've breastfed before or not, learning to breastfeed a newborn whilst recovering from birth and adjusting to parenthood is hard work. However, with the right tools and support it can also be extremely rewarding. There's nothing like that feeling when you and baby are working as a team and you realise you're doing it!

In my experience, breastfeeding is as much about mindset as birth. Just like birth, the emotions you feel affect the hormones that surge and therefore affect your milk production. It can take a month to six weeks for your mature milk supply to settle and that's when all that hard work in the early days pays off.

Did you know that the love hormone Oxytocin is responsible for your milk let down reflex?

Like birth, you need to create a calm environment in which you feel relaxed and safe whilst learning to breastfeed to encourage Oxytocin to flow.

This can be a challenge in busy households with older siblings or even if you're receiving medical attention in hospital. Breathing techniques and listening to relaxing music or guided relaxation tracks can be practical ways to stimulate Oxytocin and help you enjoy breastfeeding.

There is growing evidence for the positive impact of relaxation on breastfeeding.

A 1987 study found that mother’s who listen to relaxation music express 63% more milk than those in a control group when using a breast pump.

A research study published in 2008 asked women to breastfeed in a relaxation room created for the study during their hospital stay. Of those who did, all said they were able to relax and settle their baby in this room and it positively enhanced their breastfeeding experience - they would all recommend it. It helped with their anxiety around breastfeeding and they felt it gave them some ‘time out’ even whilst breastfeeding.

Another study in 2019 that was just published last summer (2020) looked at the effect of a mother listening to relaxation scripts on breastmilk intake of their baby and it's composition, in particular cortisol levels which is known to transfer through breastmilk. Cortisol levels were down and mum’s oxytocin levels were up. In fact their babies had a higher weight gain and body mass increase at 12 weeks old than women who hadn’t used relaxation. And an unexpected result was that these baby’s slept an extra 82 minutes a day on average!

As a Mindful Breastfeeding Practitioner I use mindfulness-based tools and techniques alongside lactation support, to support parents to breastfeed in a way that works for them and their baby - creating strong early connections and a more relaxed, calm and fulfilling early parenting experience.

If you'd like to learn more about how I can support you with your infant feeding journey or prepare for breastfeeding antenatally, do get in touch:

Watch my Free Breastfeeding Masterclass for more information on how to breastfeed, including a demonstration on how to hand express colostrum and breastfeeding positions.

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