WARNING! This post is more than a quick fact. It is a bit lengthy in description but please trust me when I say it is worth it. It is about connection.
Baby’s First food.
Books will give you a weight your baby should be for a certain age, This is a guideline and should not be used as a measurement meant to follow ounce by ounce . People come in all different sizes. Let me say this a different way: Babies come in all different sizes. Babies = People.
If your baby is nursing only from a drug free mother who eats healthy food and they are looking really big compared to others babies or compared to what the book says your baby should be. Your baby is healthy. Period. Do not cut back on it’s feedings. Do not introduce foods to slim the baby down, Your baby is healthy, they are just being a normal human being. Relax.
Likewise if you baby is small compared to the other babies, please don’t jump to the conclusion that you body is not making enough milk for the little one. Don’t start investigating formulas and solid food yet. The same rule applies above.
Do recognize if your babies is dehydrated or not keeping foods down to the point they are not receiving proper hydration and nourishment. Use your motherly judgement on this. Lots of babies are spit up babies but keep plenty down, they are just little gobblers and don’t know when to stop so their body is getting rid of what they do not need.
There are times when a baby’s body is not doing well due to one reason or another and you need a little help from an outside educated source. Is you baby feverish? Is your baby not latching on properly due to Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue tie or lip tie? Is the soft spot sunken? Does the skin stick up when you gently pinch it? Not many wet diapers? The last three being signs of dehydration. These are all signs outside help is needed. Seek it.
The human race wants to survive and since nature designed us to feed our babies via the breast, you would be surprised how well the whole system works. Barring all the unwarranted fear that our society has created, mothers love to nurse. And the great news is that your baby loves nursing too. We just need to get women back on board. The best tool I can recommend is this one word.
Relax the mind, relax the arm that holds your baby, relax all the people around you after your baby is born, relax your breath. Babies pick up on nervousness.
Some of you may be saying, easier said than done. I get this. I am afraid of dogs. When I first see them running toward me with hair raised on their neck, my nerves raise. I’m sure the dog see’s this erratic energy field of fear surrounding me. I’ve been told they do and for no other reason then fear, I really do believe they sense it. Now here’s the tricky part, how exactly do I get rid of this fear? Well there are ways to trick a dog that you are not afraid: body posture, loud voice, breathe, never can remember if I’m suppose to look them straight in the eye or not so the last rule is important…always carry a big stick .
There are ways to relax around your baby also (please don’t carry a big stick). Understand that your baby is not fine china, neither is your baby an unbreakable dish; more like your everyday dish set. Hold you baby in many positions, get use to holding her/him. Explore them, look over every nook and cranny. Move their tiny arms and legs up and down. Let them cry for a few seconds if they happen on it. Let them explore their voice. When they are newborn, the cry is really the only voice they have. If it is awkward to get them to latch on don’t freak out if they even cry themselves to sleep. Freaking out is the opposite of relaxing. So hold your baby and focus for a bit on your breath and the breath of your wee one. Feel the energy of your bodies when crying, when just chilling and when sleeping. Notice your breath during each of these cycles. Notice you body tension. Breathe into any area you feel might be holding tight. Tell it to relax. This body part may listen to you or it may not. If not, visualize the muscles letting go but don’t be attached to how they are actually reacting. The same lessons we learned to get us through labor actually help get us through mothering. Learn them and practice them often, they are most effective when you actually use them. (I’m not being sarcastic, I’m being practical and real.)
Here are a few other helpful tools:
Drink lots of water, try to get a gallon a day down. Use a straw to get it down quicker, have it next to you all the time. Do not sit unless the water is there. Start your morning with water and lemon, or hot tea and lemon. The lemon is a very gentle cleanser keeping your immune system working.
Yoga every day. Yes that right, even if it is just a posture or two. Find ways to incorporate it into your everyday life. Do a forward bend while gently swinging your baby close to the ground, do plank pose and spinal twist while playing peek-a-boo. Think differently about your practice. The days of an hour long continuous session are not so much an option anymore for most. Don’t abandon your exercise, just shift it to fit into your new life. You are with the baby almost 24/7 so why not take advantage of this time and create a healthier mind and body that in turn creates a more peaceful relationship with all.
Visualize milk flowing, the power of the mind can work for you.
Have books you have read and trust available when questions arise. My recommendations are “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding”, “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League, “The Nursing Mother’s Companion Guide” by Huggins.
Quickly, see a Hypnotherapist. They help us undo conditioning that is harmful to us, really almost instantly.
Pay for a massage, have them come to the house if you can. It is preferred if someone could watch the baby for quiet time so you can totally let go. If not still better to get the massage then not. Prepare yourself for the massage before you go so you can take full advantage of this short hour. Do deep breathing while driving there. Tell yourself this is your hour and do not spend it talking non stop. The massage therapist should be let in on this so they can honor the silence. Allow your mind to go to a place of no activity. I know you don’t get much adult conversation, but do not use this time for socializing. If you do deep breathing here and there and focus on the muscles releasing where ever the therapist are touching, you will get so much more out of this. Close your eyes while getting the massage, trust. Even better, when you release each muscle visualize a color with that area. What ever comes to you. See the color turn into an oil and use that oil color to mentally release.
Have you seen how you have been holding your body when the baby cries, when you sleep and try to nurse if you are co-sleeping, when you are carrying your baby? This is your hour to allow your body to reverse stress and release muscles allowing them to move back into normal positions.
Have happy thoughts while you and your baby are connecting, These days of nursing are so short, soon they will be over never to return again, The oxytocin that is released and the feeling of nurturing that comes from this rush of hormones only happens while you nurse. Try to be aware of this flow of sensation that comes, this is a special tonic that nature prepared so that nurturing, mothering, bonding can occur.
Nature prepared us with this perfect beautiful tonic. Breastfeeding. Now see if your milk does not flow better.Bio for Jeanie Williamson ~~~ I do not have a PhD in infant nutrition, I am much more informed than this. I am a mother that has a passion to learn with a purpose for why this is important. I have clocked in enough hours I could have 4 PhD’s but who’s counting. Oh yeah, society seems to be counting. I may not study under the auspices of a state approved college. I went to the College of Real Life, my professors were my children and my midwife and the midwives with whom I studied, other mothers. Mothering Magazine was my most valued text-book along with Spiritual Midwifery, Special Delivery, Inner Light-Inner Beauty, Learning all the time, Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Continuum Concept and other great resources. My clocked in hours were ever minute I was awake. My outside credit school hours were Childbirth Education Teacher Certification workshops I took and then retook due to sponsoring them, the Midwifery Assistant courses, the infant massage course and Hypnobirthing Childbirth Education certification courses I took, along with all the classes I taught over the last 30 years. My most prestigious professors have been the newborns I have been blessed to welcome into the world along side the mothers that honored me to be with them.