This time I decided to write about breastfeeding, from my experience of practicing yoga and as a mother of 2 babies. On the benefits of this discipline and how you can help demystify many limiting beliefs or excuses to think why many mothers cannot breastfeed.
When my second baby was born, for seven months in the bath house in a labor less than 20 minutes, my husband immediately placed the baby on my breast and she began to suckle without any problem. Seeing how small and helpless it was understood for her, how amazing it is the nature and survival instinct, how a baby so small could have that sucking reflex so fabulous. Reflecting that later would save her life with so many contingencies and difficulties were presented during the first months.
This was one of the most difficult moments of my life as I had a 13-month old baby and a premature infant who was hospitalized 4 times in the first month along with other difficulties such as the insurance did not want to take over clinic fees. The fact is that I was involved in a situation that obviously kept me in a state of constant stress which caused my milk production to almost nil. I spent hours glued to the breast pump and still only managed to get one ounce or less. That I generated more stress, because I knew that milk was vital to my little baby and what would help you get ahead. So it was decided to take three deep breaths and started doing some sun salutations in the hospital room next to the incubator where my baby was in phototherapy. Once I finished my Yoga practice, I felt much more relaxed and I felt much calmer and found more faith in me. At that moment I began to feel my breasts are beginning to fill with milk, and that’s when I realized it did not matter if the world was falling apart, my only job was to be quiet, produce milk and breastfeed my baby so she could be healthy.
How Yoga can Help in Breastfeeding?
The practice of Yoga brings many benefits to the body and one of them is the toning and strengthening of muscles, so doing certain postures can strengthen the muscles of the back, chest and arms involved in breastfeeding. We also can help the uterus and all the organs back into place and size much faster to eliminate unnecessary liquid retention and relax the neck and back muscles that are strained by poor posture to breastfeed and holding the baby weight.
Another benefit we get is to increase milk production when it is scarce, since our body while under stress, instinctively prepares for a state of emergency to react fleeing or fighting. This will activate certain coping mechanisms in the body in which are involved the nervous and endocrine systems. The body stores energy reserves to produce adrenaline and other substances such as testosterone which inhibits the production of prolactin which is the hormone that triggers mammary glands for milk production. Explaining it in a simpler words, we can assume it based on early humans as we are talking about a purely instinctive survival system; if the woman of the age of the caves had to run with the baby in her arms so they would not attack any animal, body energy reserves used to run and not to produce milk. That is what has changed the circumstances of life, instinct and body’s responses to stress are the same.
By practicing the asanas and enter a state of Yoga or inner peace to free ourselves from the stresses in the body and silence the internal dialogue is what produces the worries and stress, the body’s energy is restored and the endocrine system begins to function normally and secrete the necessary quantities of oxytocin and prolactin for there to be the production and secretion of milk through the nipple.
So the belief of “I cannot breastfeed because I cannot get milk” is not true and has a very simple solution in form of yoga.