How breathwork can support breasfeeding
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How Breathwork Can Support Breasfeeding

By Claudine Cino

Breathwork can offer so many benefits for breastfeeding mothers.  There is a huge connection between the two.  It  can help improve overall well-being, reduce stress, and enhance the breastfeeding experience.  Let’s face it,  breastfeeding can be physically and emotionally demanding, and stress can negatively impact  the overall breastfeeding experience. 

Breathwork techniques, such as deep inhalations  and  long slow  exhalations, are convenient tools that  can help reduce stress levels, promoting relaxation and a more positive breastfeeding experience.  You might be feeling anxious and stressed around your ability to feed this new little being.  Your body will release stress hormones which inhibit oxytocin, the hormone that  signals “let down” which is what lets  your milk  flow freely.  Deeper breath means more oxygen in the blood, lower cortisol, more oxytocin and more milk!

Often when  we are stressed and anxious  we  hold our breath.  This causes muscle tension and poor posture. Your  baby can feel unsettled and have difficulty latching on.  This creates a cycle of fear and even frustration around  nursing.  Focus on the breath and connecting with your baby  for a few moments before attempting to feed.  This can  ease tension allowing your body to relax and move more naturally allowing your baby  latch easier.  

You may also be  feeling pain or discomfort when nursing, especially early on. I remember feeling anxious around the pain of my milk letting down at the beginning.  Taking some focused, deep slow breaths can help release natural pain relieving endorphins and shift your attention  away from the unpleasant sensations by bringing your attention to your  breath and baby.

How breathwork can support breasfeeding

Pregnancy and the postpartum period can also bring about a range of emotions.  You just gave birth, a huge physical and emotional event!  You’re  dealing with lack of sleep and the physical and emotional changes that come with having a new little person to care for.  Breathwork can help you manage mood swings, anxiety, and other emotional challenges that may arise during this time. 

It's important to note that every breastfeeding journey is unique, and what works for one mother may not work for you, but having a foundation of intentional, mindful breath will be a huge help. It’s one of the simplest ways to restore balance to your mind and body.  You can start just by bringing awareness to your breath.  Just noticing it and not changing it.  Are you holding your breath?  Is your inhale shallow? Are you holding tension in the jaw?  Take a deep inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth completely emptying the lungs. Now breathe in through the nose for a count of 2, hold for a count of 2, and exhale for a count of 4.  Relax the jaw, relax the shoulders. Go through this sequence  a few times before beginning to nurse your baby.    If you feel tensions arise during feeding,  bring you attention back to your breath.   Use  this breath  throughout the day as well. You more naturally fall into it, the more you practice it.  And remember to be as gentle with yourself as you are with your baby!

Claudine Cino is an alum of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.  She is a supporter of new families in Florida, US.

IG @claudine.cino

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Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.

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