…Contemplating the Core Elements of a Modern Breastfeeding Lifestyle
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Breastfeeding: Caution Bumps Ahead

Most experts agree that it usually takes a minimum of 3 weeks to change a pattern.  When this principle is applied to a  breastfeeding relationship, thankfully, the baby takes much less time to adopt a new behavior.  However, the same cannot always be said about the mom and her support team who must orchestrate that shift…Expect Bumps Ahead.

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Behavior modification requires consistency. The first order of business should be to ensure that the baby is drinking breastmilk and preferably via direct breastfeeding.  It is not the frequency, but rather the quality of the feedings which will set up comfortable digestive rhythms.  The focus needs to be on optimizing the latch rather than on watching the clock.

Babies are sensational human beings.  They share our dislike of change.  Their mothers are the thinking partners in the breastfeeding relationship.  Because the babies are not privy to the long range plan, they do much better when little steps are taken toward any goal.  I encourage  moms to go slowly when making adjustments.  Too often rushing ahead leads to frustration and often the adults end up taking steps backward to a previous comfort zone.

This can be a real challenge for a mom who has gotten out of synch with her breastfeeding baby.  The longer a problem persists, the more worn down she will feel.  The key is to patiently work within a framework that capitalizes on each of their strengths and capabilities.  Breastfeeding is a skill that can be learned and taught to the baby.  Managing breastfeeding well relies on a fundamental of a great latch and creating rhythmic feeding patterns that sustain growth and mutual comfort.

Did you encounter speed bumps on your breastfeeding journey?  What tips, tricks or approaches helped you to stay the course?

August 29, 2010   No Comments

Breastfeeding Status Update: It’s Complicated

Breastfeeding is just like most modern relationships, sometimes it is difficult to define.

More often than not, the romantic ideal of a blissful nursing couple is threatened by the addition of pumps and bottles. These artifacts alter the experience greatly for both the mother and her baby. She is likely to feel overwhelmed.

Breastfeeding Status: It’s complicated.

Tongue-in-cheek, my green logo above and query are inspired by Facebook.   The irony is that it has, on several occasions, banned breastfeeding photos.

What is your Breastfeeding Status?

Do you exclusively breastfeed your baby?  Do you breastfeed, then pump, then feed a bottle of your expressed milk?  Do you breastfeed, then offer a formula chaser? Do you pump exclusively?

Ideally breastfeeding should be a relationship with your baby, not the pump.   Couple therapists typically recommend banning the computer and television in the bedroom in order to foster greater intimacy.  In the same vein, focusing on direct breastfeeding will enhance both bonding and the milk supply.

There is a time and place for the gadgets, but in the bloom of new love or breastfeeding it is best that the focus be on the partner.  Being in the moment and keeping things simple can help lay down the most solid foundation for long term success.

It is all about making positive, conscious breastfeeding connections and upgrading your status to: In Relationship with your breastfeeding baby.

August 26, 2010   8 Comments

Conscious Breastfeeding: Being in The Moment

Maggie left a comment on the post/podcast The Law of Simplicity sharing her journey of becoming a breastfeeding mother.  She has been relishing the simplicity, but also expressed most eloquently her experience of …

“Being in the Moment”…a key fundamental of the Conscious Breastfeeding approach.

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Indeed, at almost every prenatal class that I teach, there are expectant mothers who are concerned about weaning before they have even begun breastfeeding. Having heard the “rules” and stories from other mothers, they are anxious about entering into an intense breastfeeding relationship which will to take up much of their waking day. They are looking for an exit strategy before they have even seen how their own experience will unfold.

Too often in the early days of breastfeeding mothers will fret that they cannot maintain the initial patterns “forever”. I remind them that their breastfeeding relationship will evolve. It is dynamic. Being pro-active rather than reactive, it will be optimized over time. This does not happen in the past or future but rather very much in the present…taking in the details of each Conscious Breastfeeding Connection.

I have been thinking about this idea of “Being in the Moment”

…this “Being in the Moment” with your breastfeeding baby. The intention and attention, the hallmarks of Conscious Breastfeeding, allow each time you breastfeed to be special. It is different from the one done a few hours earlier and will be different from the next.

Being present, in the moment, is mindfulness and is a simple, yet powerful form of meditation. Just notice the rhythmic jaw movements of your baby. The breathing and swallowing are synchronized and at the same time there is complete stillness in the rest of his or her body. The cadence of breastfeeding is like the pulse of a beating heart. Allow your awareness to follow this rhythm of your baby’s breastfeeding. Observe the patterns. Be in the moment. You are meditating without effort. The calm that descends upon you will be restorative and connects you to yourself and your baby on a very deep level.

Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book, Wherever You Go There You Are  Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life says, “I like to think of mindfulness simply as the art of Conscious Living.”

What better way to begin than in the sublime moments you share with your baby as a Conscious Breastfeeding mother?

August 26, 2010   No Comments

The Tao of Conscious Breastfeeding

The ba gua above is often used to depict the Tao and its pursuit.  This lactation consultant sees a breastfeeding baby in its center.  In reality, it is the yin-yang symbol which represents the duality of opposites, male and female energies, inherent in the natural order of the universe.

According to wikipedia, the word Tao is most often defined as a path or way, but can also be defined as to guide or lead.  Thus it perfectly describes the ongoing process of how a new mother learns to breastfeed and teaches it to her baby…the Tao of Conscious Breastfeeding.

There are several basic learning styles: audio, visual and kinesthetic.  To climb the conscious competence ladder and gain mastery of the skill of breastfeeding will take differing amounts of time for each nursing couple.  Finding the right combination of learning styles will help them to reach competence much faster.

Babies are sensational beings. They learn through repetition. They are hard-wired at birth with basic reflexes which assist them to adapt and thrive outside the womb. They draw conclusions on a primal level from what happens when they do certain things; if it is associated with a pleasing outcome they will repeat the action to get the same result.  It is quite Pavlovian.  Over time they begin to gravitate toward a learning style that may be preferred as they mature.

Adults have the ability to analyze more information and understand more complex causal relationships. They are capable of establishing new neural pathways at any time by intentionally repeating new behaviors which will replace those that no longer serve them.

A Chinese Proverb reminds us:

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand

What is your learning style?  How has it impacted your breastfeeding journey?

As a Conscious Breastfeeding mother, you will be teaching your baby to breastfeed and ultimately establish rhythms in all areas of his/her life.  You can draw on these insights to assist your child to develop the muscles of learning which he/she will be using throughout life.

The Tao of Conscious Breastfeeding is a truly foundational experience.

August 25, 2010   No Comments