August 1, 2019

 You Matter More than the Milk in your Breast

Ashley Causey-Golden

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

I greet this week not about writing how to breastfeed or making the argument why it is beneficial for you and your baby or even how to sustain your breastfeeding.  Amidst all the helpful information, I wanted to start this breastfeeding week with a gentle reminder that you matter. Yes…you regardless of where you are in your breastfeeding journey. For this week, I want our conversation to be grounded in your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual health in terms of breastfeeding. You being present physically and emotionally for your child is enough. You are enough. So now that we got that cleared up, let’s talk about you and your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health around breastfeeding.

Your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health is important to keep in mind during your breastfeeding journey because breastfeeding is hard. As you grow in trusting your body and learning what feels right for you and your baby, I wanted to share a few tips to help nourish and nurture you.

1.       Affirmations

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In my last posting, I shared about the benefits of affirmations for birth but breastfeeding should be no different. Incorporating affirmations for breastfeeding can be part of your ritual to ground you during your breastfeeding journey. The power of affirmations can also help you stay aligned to listening to yourself and recognizing that you know what’s best for your baby. Keep affirmations where you can see them every day. Great places can be keeping them on your refrigerator, near where your nurse, and where you sleep.

2.       Breastfeeding Stations

Creating a breastfeeding station in different areas around your house is another way to increase your mental and physical well-being. Breastfeeding can leave you immobile and having crucial items such as hydrating liquids like water, coconut water, almond milk and nutrient dense snacks such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, boiled eggs or cheese. Buying items like coconut water, almonds, or pumpkin seeds in bulk can save you a little money and time. Companies like boxed offers free shipping and 15% off your first order and Amazon Pantry checks off the savings and convenience boxes too. Lifeanchored blog has a comprehensive list about building your breastfeeding essential basket. Lani provides a list of 12 items that can improve your well-being as you are feeding your baby.

Answering too many questions about what you need? This could also be a task that a loved one, support person, or older children can help you with creating.


3.       Find your Tribe


Finding community around motherhood and breastfeeding can support your emotional health. Motherhood can be isolating and you are not alone if that is your truth but finding a group that aligns to your needs and values can also be a challenge as you manage motherhood. Motherly curated a list of 10 mom tribes across the U.S. that are worth exploring! 

4.       Feed your Spirit

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Spiritual health is about nurturing your soul, the inner you. That can be through meditation, which can be an added boost during breastfeeding sessions, taking strolls in nature, or building community through religion. Learning about the power of crystals, herbs (but be mindful for some herbs will decrease your milk supply, such as peppermint) or complementary/alternative medicine can also be a step towards feeding your spirit as you navigate your breastfeeding journey. As you are taking steps to nurture your spiritual self, please be mindful of the origins of the resources that you are using—crystals, yoga, meditation, etc.. If there is no reference or honoring of the origin, then the resource most likely is participating in cultural appropriation. Your healing should never be at the cost of another person’s culture or identity.

Focusing on you is vital during your motherhood journey because you cannot give what you don’t have. Being able to be present with your family starts with being present with yourself and nurturing you. As you read the tidal wave of tips and tricks about breastfeeding and its products to purchase, remember that you alone is enough. By nourishing your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual self, you will realize how much your body has to say.

Peace and blessings to you and your journey!