When you nourish your baby with focused attention, and connect deeply with them, your maternal brain lights up, strengthening the pathways that guide your mother’s instinct. Feeding can be a very intense experience. You may worry: ‘Is my baby getting enough food? Am I doing it correctly?’ As you tune into your baby you will learn to know when that is, and it will become a sixth sense. A cascade of things happen in your body and your brain that assess how much milk is needed, what type of milk, and when it’s needed. This connecting and syncing is called ‘limbic regulation’.
Relaxation techniques can reduce tension in your body, increasing milk flow, and improving latch.
EXERCISE: THE BIGGER PICTURE
When we get stressed about something, sometimes we ‘catastrophise’. This exercise can help you realise that you and your baby will be okay, leaving you feeling so much lighter and more able to relax into feeding.
- Write down your three main concerns around feeding.
- Now, ask yourself these questions in response to each of your concerns:
- ‘If it were to happen what are the challenges I would face?’
- ‘How would I tackle those challenges?’
- ‘What would I say to someone in that situation with the knowledge I have?’
Now let those concerns go with this simple letting go exercise:
Hold your left arm out in front of you, holding your hand closed. Imagine those concerns in the palm of your left hand. Now take a deep breath and open your hand; blow those concerns off your hand. Notice the warmth and lightness of your breath on the palm of your hand. Imagine those concerns floating away like feathers being carried away on the wind, getting smaller and smaller, until they have disappeared.
Simple hypnosis visualisations help you relax, and enjoy calm connection. These two are my favourites.
Your special place
Close your eyes and bring into your mind your special place. It may be somewhere that you have been before, that is familiar to you, or it can be completely made up. As you bring that place into your mind be aware of what you can see, feel and hear. Imagine it as if you are really there. Notice how your shoulders soften and relax. Enjoy this moment of relaxation and calm!
The milk dial
Before you sit down, roll your shoulders back three times or do a quick stretch. Just allow your arms and chest to loosen.
- Imagine a dial in your head. Give it a colour and a shape.
- The highest setting is the strongest flow. The lowest setting is the most gentle and slow.
- Notice where that dial is set right now.
- Adjust the dial to where you want it to be.
- Remember you can always adjust it while you are feeding.
READ Mindful Mamma by Sophie Fletcher (Vermilion)