Anxiety to the point of panic attacks have been a part of my life for nearly a decade now. When it was at its worst, I turned to medication briefly until I realized that covering up the situation wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I wanted to solve the issue and I didn’t want to do it with a pill.
That is when I started looking for more natural ways to ease the near-constant constricting of my chest.
It was also around the time that I met a professor in college who would soon change my life. She introduced me to so many things, passion for my career, life and the Buddhist practice… specifically meditation.
While I was pregnant, I took a Yoga and Birth class that taught me how to meditate while bonding with the little girl inside of me. I tried to meditate every evening while I was pregnant and I truly feel it brought me closer to my little pirate.
When Roree was born, the world turned upside down, but now that the chaos has passed and the dust has settled, I’ve found it is time to continue my meditation.
Only… how? I feel like every second of my day belongs to that pensive little girl with the smoldering blue eyes.
Then I put two and two together.
Why can’t I meditate while breastfeeding? It’s already a soothing experience in itself considering all the happy hormones flowing freely.
And if Roree is even a tiny percentage as sensitive to the emotional atmosphere as I am, this could very well have a soothing affect on her as well.
It has been a little over a month and I can’t even begin to tell you the serenity Breastfeeding Meditation has brought to me and I want to share it with you.
Truly, you can do this meditation whether you are breastfeeding or not. I choose to do it as I nurse Roree to sleep in the evening (7:30pm) as this is now her longest nursing session (30mins – 1 hour). You can do this in any position. I do it in the side-lying nursing position.
If you are bottle feeding, that is fine. If you don’t feed your child or baby as they go to sleep, just lay your hand on their chest as you rock them to sleep and do this meditation.
– A Guide to Breastfeeding Meditation –
First, I focus on my breathing to calm the inevitable whirlwind of thoughts from the day and to-do list for tomorrow.
I use a form of yogic breath: breathe in as deeply as you can, filling your lungs to their fullest, then slowly breathe out until your lungs are completely empty. Do this from your chest, as if you are filling it up from your belly button to your throat.
I repeat this a few times until I feel my mind has settled a bit.
Then, I bring my breath to a shallower pace until it feels normal.
Eventually, I bring my consciousness to the most prominent point of contact between Roree and I, my breast and her mouth. I focus on that point. The sensation, the sound, until there is nothing but that bond.
If your mind wanders, just calmly accept that it has and bring it back. Do this throughout the entire meditation.
Slowly I move to whatever other contact there is between us. Sometimes it is her hand grabbing my shirt, sometimes it is her foot against my thigh, sometimes it is my hand resting on her hip.
Then, I gradually move inward. I focus on the middle of my chest and sink deeper until I can picture my heart slowly beating. I imagine the blood flowing through my veins and I follow it. To the top of my head, down my neck, through my arms to the tips of my fingers and back, down my torso, down my legs, to my toes and follow it back to my heart.
Calmly, I emerge. I travel across my chest back to the point of contact where Roree is nursing. This time I picture as clearly as I can the nourishment I’m giving to her. I stay there for awhile, picturing it as the life force it is. Making her healthy and strong.
Then I give her more. Through that connection, I send her love, contentment, positivity, serenity.
When the nursing session is over, I begin to come back to breath. I start breathing deeply again, yogic breath, filling my lungs and emptying them out completely. Bring it back to regular breath and slowly open my eyes.
The sense of renewal is incredible.
Of course, as we all know, there could very likely be the occasional interruption.
– Here is a troubleshooting guide to Breastfeeding Mediation –
1. If baby unlatches and doesn’t want to latch again (she falls asleep) just rest your hand on her chest until you are finished with the meditation.
2. If baby is restless at first, try to simply accept it and continue with the meditation. You’ll be surprised how quickly it fades to the background and how your calm and acceptance will also soothe her.
3. If you don’t nurse or feed your baby to sleep, simply add this to your night routine. While rocking baby to sleep or after a story.
Do you have any other issues? Ask in the comments and I’ll help as best as I can!
I strongly recommend meditating with baby even while she is in your belly. Keep that bond strong, use it during labor and every day afterward.
I plan on meditating with Roree as she grows older as well. Even if it has to be reduced to 5 minutes a night, it is still something we can share and hopefully it will benefit her as it has benefitted me.