There is a lot of information out there about latch ons, let downs, breast pumps, soreness, positioning and more…but how many articles on nursing prepare us as mothers to nurse our babies from more than a body perspective? What about readying our minds and our souls?
I was excited to nurse my baby…for the nutrition I knew it would offer…for the bonding and the closeness. I was hopeful nursing would work out without all the horror stories I had heard and read about including thrush, pain, chapped and sore nipples. My husband and I went to Bradley Method Birthing classes, held baby dolls in the cradle and the football hold…and I even attended a La Le Che League meeting or two. But when you come right down to it though, nothing I had read or heard prepared me for the absolute blessing nursing would be for me in my new life as mother.
The rush of warmth and love it sent through my body every time our little ones went to nurse (9-13 times a day at the beginning…) was an absolute Godsend. There were times I thought I could not move another muscle or stay awake another minute…and then I would nurse the baby…and that feeling would spread through my body. I could smell her breath on me…see her sweet eyes looking up into mine, feel her little fingers on my chest and the warmth of her swaddled body against mine. Things were ok. I could just sit and breathe and be still with my little angel. I could forget my sleepless-crabby-self and all the stressors of my day and just be.
If you are or will be nursing soon, try this on for size. Nursing is more than a physical experience. Ready yourself for the emotional and spiritual experience it will be for you and your family as well. If there was ever a time to practice mindfulness, breath work or meditation…nursing is it. Assisted by mother nature and all the blessed nursing hormones that cause relaxation and bliss. Be here now. Breathe. Practice sending love from your heart to your baby. Drink in the moment. Embrace your own body. Embrace the ritual of nursing…as old as time. Feel yourself united in love with the countless generations of women through the ages that have engaged in this very same loving act with their babies. Celebrate your connectedness, to yourself as “mother”, to all women as “sister”, but mostly to your baby as “love”. Nurse your baby body, mind and soul. It’s a trip worth taking if you can. And if you can’t or didn’t or won’t…that’s OK. You can bottle feed your baby from much the same place. It’s body, mind and soul after all…not just body. The hormones may be a little different, but the love will be the same.
Suzanne, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers life coaching as Zen Mommy Coach.