…Contemplating the Core Elements of a Modern Breastfeeding Lifestyle
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Conscious Breastfeeding Connections: A 21 Day Productivity Challenge

March 7. 2012 is World IBCLC Day

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I have decided to join Connie Ragen Green’s 21 Day Productivity Challenge leading up to this occasion. It will give me an opportunity to review how I can better serve and foster conscious breastfeeding connections here on the blog and through The Breastfeeding Salon.

Teaching prenatal classes and coaching mothers after they have begun to breastfeed has been my passion for more than a quarter century. Sadly, breastfeeding remains a challenge for many modern moms, despite the ever increasing number of lactation consultants. Ironically, for many of these new mothers, their “productivity” is often at issue.

It takes approximately 21 days to install a new habit or change a mindset. Thus, I am doing this challenge with high hopes for my online/offline business makeover. What makes it even more powerful for me is the awareness that this is the same timeline during which a pregnant woman makes her transformation to becoming a breastfeeding mom.

I invite you to join me on this journey of growth and change and be here to celebrate with me and my fellow IBCLC’s in early March.

February 16, 2012   No Comments

Conscious Breastfeeding is Integrative Nutrition

Geneen Roth, author of ‘Women, Food and God‘ recently featured on Oprah has a philosophy about food that is very much aligned with Conscious Breastfeeding. She has been teaching here in NYC at Integrative Nutrition and describes why this is a good fit in the video below.

A comment thread to my post: Breastfeeding Relationship Status Update: It’s Complicated made me reflect upon these very points.   Breastmilk technically is a food. The natural delivery system is breastfeeding.  In modern times, the relationship inherent in breastfeeding has taken a backseat to it as a nutritional commodity.  An integrative nutrition view blends these two, the  relationship to mother and spirit with the quintessential food for human babies.

Ms. Roth speaks of  “Looking at food as a way of exploring the health and happiness of our entire lives.”  This is my view of Conscious Breastfeeding.  It is feeding with intention and attention; being fully in the moment and as a consequence developing a very powerful. intimate relationship with your baby that informs every aspect of his/her developing life.

Breastmilk  is the conduit for this energy exchange.  Thus, even when apart from the baby, the expressed milk maintains the connection literally and figuratively.  It is quite understandable that food is often equated with love, especially in breastfeeding circles.

Both integrative nutrition and conscious breastfeeding take a holistic view of  mind, body and spirit in relationship to the experience of eating.  Balancing the sum of these parts can help us to set the tone for health and well-being in our lives.

What do you think?

August 30, 2010   No Comments

Breastfeeding: The Long and Winding Road

I often compare breastfeeding to a journey that a mother takes with her new baby. That is why I call it the Tao of Conscious Breastfeeding.  It can be a long and winding road.  My goal is to help moms to find their bearings and enjoy themselves along the “Way”.

The shortest distance  between two points is a straight line.  When it comes to breastfeeding the closest to this would be latching on during the first hour after birth.  Ideally the connection would be deep and pain-free for the mom.  A synchronicity between the breasts and baby would develop and foster a comfortable pattern of feeding that could be further optimized over time.

Unfortunately few moms get to take this path. The majority are faced with roadblocks to reaching their goals.  Some detours will point them to breastfeeding success, while others point them toward weaning.

The thing to remember is that with a road map you can usually find your way.

Plug the following points into your GPS:

  1. It’s all about the latch.
  2. Babies learn through feelings and repetition.
  3. Pumps are never as good as your baby when latched well.
  4. Supply is related to your baby, not a machine.
  5. Managing pumping is not the same as managing breastfeeding.
  6. Breastfeeding is the natural extension of pregnancy.
  7. Breastfeeding is the biological norm for mammals.
  8. You can get to your destination easier and faster with a tour guide (LC).
  9. Lighten your load. Less is more and gets you farther down the road.
  10. Breastfeeding is natural, but it is also a skill that can be mastered!

Success does leave clues.  What  helped or hindered you as you moved on down the road toward empowered Conscious Breastfeeding?

August 28, 2010   No Comments

Conscious Breastfeeding: Honoring Your Rhythms

Dedicated to Liz-a special mom in my practice.  She will be honoring her rhythms with her baby this weekend and reestablishing their conscious breastfeeding relationship.

Your input… thoughts and questions are invited.

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A wonderful summer…it is now when most of us allow ourselves to relax and spend more time outside in nature.  Typically it is when we plan our holidays and look forward to getting away.  Travelling requires us to make subtle or not so subtle adjustments in our daily routine.  We may be completely out of our comfort zone trying new foods and activities or doing similar things in different surroundings.  We may find that our digestion and sleep are altered…

I am reminded of one of my many trips to Japan.  It is a long plane ride and a half a day time difference which poses a big challenge of jet lag.  On my third trip, I decided to just go straight to bed on arrival so that I would wake up with the dawn and be in fine fettle.  Although it was not yet dark outside, I tucked myself in and fell into a deep sleep.  Suddenly I was awakened by what I thought was a bad dream.  I thought I was in my NYC apartment with someone trying to break down the door.  I soon realized that I was not in the States, but in a business man hotel in Tokyo.  The noise I had attributed to robbers was the clanging of the steel door and the shaking of my bed.  Still disoriented I jumped out of bed to try and look out the window.  This was my first and hopefully last earthquake… thankfully it was  very short, although it seemed a lot longer as it was happening.  I later learned that one should avoid windows and doors on such an occasion.

Segueing from my earthquake moment…Giving birth is intense and can also be a bit disorientating.  Typically there will be a disruption in the diet, sleep and many other changes going on in a mother’s body that will precede meeting her new baby or babies.  Having co-existed as one unit, she must now get to know her baby as a separate and unique individual.

For babies it is an even bigger shock… to be suddenly thrust out into a new world.  They have been in relative darkness for 9 months and have been experiencing gentle, steady motion throughout their time in the womb.  Mother’s heartbeat and body are intimately known to them.  Now they are on their own.

-As Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance notes…”Restoring a sense of rhythm to our lives is crucial to discovering Wholeness.”

This is echoed by the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda, Ltd., the first school for Ayurveda education in the USA  established in 1981, which recommends that…

… cultivating inner awareness and reclaiming our connections to nature’s rhythms (cyclical, daily, seasonal, lunar, and solar), carries the potential for self-healing and profound peace.

In other words… the Wise Earth (Sadhana) path of practice is embracing the integration of body, mind and spirit through nature’s nourishers of Food, Breath and Sound.  Each of these is integral to our existence:  we literally cannot function without breath; we are immersed in the sound of our mother’s heartbeat and rhythms from the moment of conception; we are dependent for sustenance and growth on the bounty of nature’s food…which of course includes breastfeeding.

So take time to rest, eat plenty of fresh whole foods and get outside often with your baby.  Wearing your baby will gently transition them into our world.  The gentle motion of walking with them close to your heart is comforting and grounding; it will help your baby to relax and will create natural intervals between their feedings.  Exposure to the light stimulates their pineal gland and establishes circadian rhythms that will set your baby up for healthy sleeping patterns.

Honoring our rhythms throughout life and especially during this important life passage is imperative…and fundamental for you becoming a Conscious Breastfeeding mom.

August 27, 2010   1 Comment

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