The Story of Breastfeeding Meditation
By Kim Seidel
Those first few weeks of motherhood and breastfeeding can be a stressful time. The challenges of having a newborn can make breastfeeding difficult. Many mothers have found practicing guided meditations and visualizations with a CD to serve as a wonderful remedy for stress. The practice can enhance their breastfeeding experience and help them bond with their baby.
“To build a more enjoyable breastfeeding relationship with their babies, moms need to be physically and emotionally available to the baby breastfeeding.”
Juve discovered many benefits of listening to the calming meditation CD by Menelli, a certified clinical hypnotherapist and HypnoBirthing Educator in Carlsbad, Calif., and the author of Journey Into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth (White Heart Publishing, 2004). “It really helped me to forget about work and let me concentrate on my body,” she says. “I was hooked.”
Juve initially tried Menelli’s CD because she had developed mastitis, which made it extremely difficult and painful to nurse. “The CD helped me relax enough during nursing to have a ‘letdown,’ and made it more comfortable,” she says.
It was breastfeeding women with difficulties like Juve that Menelli hoped to help with her CD. As the instructor of HypnoBirthing classes, which teach pregnant women techniques for naturally safe, stress-free labors, Menelli was surprised how many of her past clients gave up breastfeeding. “They felt that they weren’t producing enough milk,” she says. “I knew that most of the time it is a perceived problem or just stress-related and not truly physical.” She also was intrigued with research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1989 that showed women could increase their milk supply while pumping. Menelli didn’t find any other products on the market like the CD she wanted to create. “I knew that women needed this,” she says.
Trusting Your Body
Menelli, the mother of a 2-year-old and twins on the way, gives tips to women interested in practicing guided meditations that encourage breastfeeding. “First, they need to trust their bodies,” she says. “That is the first comment that I get from both lactation consultants and moms … after listening to the CD, they realized that they didn’t trust their bodies before.” Second, mothers need to adjust their attitudes and thoughts when they’re breastfeeding. “This isn’t the time to think about all of the things you need to do,” Menelli says. “Doing so will increase stress, decrease milk supply possibly and take away from the experience of bonding with the baby.”
Menelli suggests thinking positive thoughts and using affirmations. These can be found on her nearly-hour-long CD featuring four tracks. One track plays soft music behind Menelli’s calming voice sharing thoughts for mothers, such as “I take joy in breastfeeding my baby” and “My milk flows easily.” In addition, Menelli suggests finding a quiet place for breastfeeding. Always keep the television set off. “Getting outside is ideal,” she says.
Within a peaceful setting, mothers can listen to a 12-minute guided meditation on the CD to help with relaxing and letting the milk flow. Both of the guided meditations and positive affirmation tracks are presented with and without music for a mother to choose from. “It helped me feel relaxed, and it helped me to have positive thoughts about nursing,” says Juve. “In fact, now I purchase the CD for all of my friends that are expecting.”
Bonding With Baby
“To build a more enjoyable breastfeeding relationship with their babies, moms need to be physically and emotionally available to the baby breastfeeding,” Menelli says. “Being distracted by thoughts of what needs to get done is not helpful to either the mom or the baby.” She offers the following tips for increasing the bond with Baby:
- Use the time breastfeeding your baby as a mental break. “You will benefit, as will your baby,” she says.
- Talk to your baby while breastfeeding him or her.
- “Stop watching the news while breastfeeding,” Menelli says. “All of the negative news will affect your body and mind.”
- Be careful of advice. Women having problems with breastfeeding often make the mistake of getting advice from too many friends, nurses and consultants. “It is so important to see a professional lactation consultant if there are any problems,” Menelli says. “Finding a highly experienced one and having her answer all of your questions will prevent a lot of frustration.”