Listen, we're just going to be honest here: breastfeeding is hard. Even under the best circumstances, it's hard! It's physically and emotionally demanding, and so many moms struggle in the beginning (and many struggle for even longer). There are just so many factors that can make it difficult. You can have supply issues. Your baby could have a latch issue. You may need to return to work sooner than you'd like and not enjoy pumping. Or maybe you're just not enjoying it, that happens, too! If there's a way to make it easier, we'll try it! If you've decided to breastfeed (and it is your decision, don't let anyone shame for how you feed your baby), you might benefit from the information from a recent study on breastfeeding. Researchers found that relaxation therapy may actually help breastfeeding moms and their babies.
It's hard to do anything when you're stressed out (or tired, or in pain, or just having a rough go of it). But it can be especially difficult to breastfeed when you're stressed! But Malaysian researchers may have uncovered some pretty useful information that can help. Researchers found that mothers who listened to relaxing recordings while nursing reported feeling less stressed.
As a result, they produced more milk with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than mothers who did not listen to the same relaxation-inducing audio. Additionally, the mother who listened to the audio reported that their babies slept longer, were eating more, and were actually gaining more weight than the group of babies whose mothers did not hear the audio.
It's such a simple thing, but this study seems to suggest that these types of relaxation techniques are extremely beneficial to breastfeeding mothers and their babies. They reduce maternal stress, improve the composition of the breast milk, and positively impact baby's sleep and growth patterns.
And it doesn't have to be relaxing audio, either! Breathing and meditation exercises and relaxing imagery can also help, and even just creating a relaxing space to breastfeed in can help reduce stress. It's not easy, but these little things can definitely make it easier.