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Embracing motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life, but it can also be a challenging period. It may be very stressful initially when a mother is struggling to learn to breastfeed and look after her baby. During that time, most mothers are full of self-doubt and confusion. Hence, any relaxation tool or guided meditation at this time can help the mother to cope up with the new role and provide a moment of peace and self-care.
A mother trying to breastfeed may feel exhausted and depressed. Stress can affect breastfeeding and can cause added guilt. Meditation reduces negative feelings while increasing patience and reducing stress and anxiety. Relaxation tools help mothers to manage her emotions better. Since early motherhood is the time often filled with conflicting messages and overload of information, it also helps mothers to sift through which information and guidance is helpful for her and which not.
“The key hormone responsible for the flow of milk from breast is oxytocin. It is a chemical released from the brain and also creates feelings of love and safety. This hormone gets affected by the mother’s emotions and stress. During the time of stress, the sympathetic nervous system gets activated and stress hormone cortisol levels rise. Brain reduces the production of oxytocin which can impact the letdown of breast milk. Meditation helps the mother to have a perfect balance of hormones which have a positive effect on lactation,” Dr Sangeeta Rani, Sr. CMO (SAG), HOD Pediatrics and Lactation Consultant, Guru Gobind Singh Government Hospital, New Delhi, told HealthShots.
For those caught unaware, several studies have shown that mothers who use relaxation tools, may pump out significantly higher amounts of milk with higher fat content than those who do not use it. Expressing or pumping out breast milk is a pleasant experience for them.
Additionally, connecting with her inner self through meditation helps the mother to deal with the stress and to gain confidence in her abilities and capacities. “Babies also benefit from the flow of feel-good hormones and be more relaxed. This, in turn, helps both mother and baby with learning how to breastfeed,” Dr Rani added.
Follow these simple steps:
1. Find a cozy and quiet spot where you can have your space and won’t be disturbed.
2. Close your eyes and focus your attention. Breathe in, and when you release your breath, think of it as tension leaving your body.
3. As you breathe in and out, try to let go of any wandering thoughts and control your emotions.
4. No matter how many distractions or responsibilities you have, do not tiptoe back to those thoughts, otherwise you will not be able to practise mindful meditation.
5. For maximum rewards, repeat meditation at least twice a day for twenty minutes each.