BREASTFEEDING TIP: Relax
I have way too many breastfeeding tips to put them into just one blog. So over the coming weeks, I will break them down for you. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be this big mystery, but because the last century somehow managed to put men in charge of our earliest mothering experiences, breastfeeding mothers are left in the dark about it until the moment is upon them and they are left to figure it all out at once.
So let’s start by agreeing that breastfeeding is natural, and it’s not our faults that have been kept in the dark about it. All these unknowns as such a crucial time can create a great deal of stress for new moms.
If you are stressed, your milk will not “let down.” Without proper letdown it is impossible to feed your baby properly from your breast.
An example of this is when women have problems expressing their milk with a pump. They try to pump while at work where they are worried about how long they are taking. They are worried about someone walking in. They try to pump at home when they have somewhere to be and they are rushed.
So if you are having trouble breastfeeding the first thing you need to do is relax. Know that while many of your friends have claimed that it just didn’t work for them, you don’t have to fall into the same trap of feeling inadequate as they did.
You are NOT inadequate.
If necessary, visualize your muscles relaxing starting with your facial muscles and working down your body until you have relaxed your toes. Try listening to a CD of soothing ocean sounds or soft music meant for meditation. If that doesn’t work, listen to one of your favorite CDs from when you were young and carefree.
If you need privacy to relax, take it. If you feel it hurts the breastfeeding cause to leave the room in these first few weeks, think again. We don’t send troops to fight the enemy before they are trained. They’d get slaughtered. If your mother-in-law is requesting that you cover up, cthis moment may not be the best time to “fight for the cause.”
When we are anxious, we have an adrenaline rush. It’s the fight or flight response. If you choose to stay just to prove a point, your body won’t allow your milk to let down. Your body was created to recognize adrenaline as a sign that something is wrong. There’s no way your body will prepare to nurse when there could be a “wild animal” you are trying to need to get away from. It certainly won’t torture the child with the smell of free flowing milk when it’s not safe to feed either.
So, you can stand up for your beliefs later, in a couple of months, when you’ve got this all down good. In the meantime, if you can’t relax, excuse yourself to another room so that you will be free to work with your body rather than against it.