Elie Guevara
Four Sensory Ways to Make Breastfeeding a Mindfulness Moment
Breastfeeding your baby can feel like a magical moment but also be a source of anxiety all at the same time! For many new mothers, this fundamental bonding moment doesn't always come naturally, bringing frustration and sometimes a sense of inadequacy. A mother's mind can be filled with never-ending questions and thoughts as she embarks on this new journey: Am I holding the baby correctly? Is my baby latching-on properly? 


Mindfulness is all about letting go of thoughts that create anxiety and learning to focus your full attention on what is happening in the present moment, so that you can enjoy the experience free of any judgements. Learning to center your mind on your baby by engaging your senses during breastfeeding can help reduce stress-generating thoughts and make this special moment more enjoyable for both you and your baby. 


Here are four simple ways to engage your senses while breastfeeding and turn this experience into a mindfulness moment: 


Sight – Center your gaze on your baby. Intentionally look at your baby's hair, hands, facial expressions. If she makes eye contact with you, send her love through the gift of your smile.  If she closes her eyes, explore the details of her face, the color of her skin, the shape of her nails. Seeing how your baby changes and grows day after day is sure to bring you joy and help counter some anxiety. 


Sound – Let the subtle sounds of your surroundings engulf you in the present moment.  Can you hear your baby breathing? Can you close in on his cooing? Lend an ear to the space surrounding both of you and become aware of the nuances. Additionally, and if it helps, listening to soft music in the background can help you relax and take in the moment peacefully.


Touch – Find and stroke your baby's body, legs, and hands as you embrace her in your arms. Feel the baby's weight and follow her movements with your hands, appreciating the kicks, pulls, and soft contact.


Lastly, practice some breathing. Taking in deep and slow breaths helps promote the release of oxytocin, the "feel good" hormone, which can lessen your stress, allowing you transmit a sense of peace to your baby and enrich your experience.


As with anything, mindfulness (and breastfeeding!) takes practice. As you nurse your baby, try different approaches and give yourself some grace as you find the most serene way to bond through breastfeeding. Acknowledge the thoughts that come to your mind, but also practice releasing them quickly so they don't fill or interrupt this moment with judgement and criticisms.  Breastfeeding is a shared journey, and when you are calm and relaxed, your baby will be too.

We hope you find these techniques helpful!


Wishing you a happy and mindful day!