I have been a practicing midwife for 16 years and a HypnoBirthing practitioner for the last 3 years. I am so passionate about trying to change the narrative around all things birth and motherhood.
What is HypnoBirthing?
So what has Hypnobirthing got to do with breastfeeding I hear you ask! Let’s start with what HypnoBirthing actually is. We can look to Marie Mongan, author and founder of HypnoBirthing, for the most straight-forward definition: “HypnoBirthing is a rewarding, relaxing, stress-free method of birthing based on the belief that all babies should come into the world in an atmosphere of gentility, calm and joy.” HypnoBirthing is based on the concept that the body always follows the lead of the mind. Get the mind right and you’ll be amazed at how your body will follow.
HypnoBirthing is based on the concept that the body always follows the lead of the mind. Get the mind right and you’ll be amazed at how your body will follow.
You can now come to understand how HypnoBirthing techniques might be helpful in your breastfeeding journey. In fact, the skills learned in HypnoBirthing are transferable to so many aspects of life, and especially in breastfeeding.
The role of Oxytocin
Successful breastfeeding is dependant on many factors and one of the main factors is that key ingredient; hormones! One of the main hormones needed is the same hormone needed for birth; oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as “the shy hormone” or “the love hormone”. In order for it to be produced a woman needs to feel loved, nurtured, protected, supported.
Oxytocin plays a major part in lactation because it triggers the “let down reflex” or “milk ejection reflex”. In HypnoBirthing we spend considerable time working on the production of oxytocin to help you have the most comfortable and empowering birth you can. So it makes complete sense to transfer these techniques to breastfeeding.
4 HypnoBirthing techniques for breastfeeding
1 – Education
Knowledge is power! Read, learn and prepare for your breastfeeding journey. Understanding your body and how it works can help you to grasp breastfeeding and align your expectations with the reality.
2 – Breathing & relaxation
Oxytocin is produced when you feel calm and relaxed. This allows the milk to flow and attachment of your baby happen with ease. If you are tense or emotionally stressed it can inhibit the letdown reflex, and impact on bonding. So prior to attaching baby it is important to try to relax your mind and body. Try using this breath; breathe in through your nose to the count of four, pause, and now breathe out through your nose to the count of eight, Pause. Repeat this 3-4 times. Now take your baby to the breast. This is called calm breathing.
3 – Visualisation
If you are finding breastfeeding difficult then visualisation can be a fantastic tool. Both in the lead up to the feed and whilst feeding take time to use the power of your mind to visualise. It can be whatever you want but remember, oxytocin is produced when you feel loved, secure, nurtured etc. So make sure your vision is in keeping with this feeling.
4 – Affirmations
This is your self-talk. The things you tell yourself on repeat. If this is featured around all of the “I can’t” statements you will soon believe that you can’t. We need to work on this and change this conversation in your head. Here are a couple of affirmations you could start using. Don’t be afraid to create your own. Draw them out, print them out, voice record them and bat that negative self talk away!
Try these daily affirmations
“My baby and I are on this breastfeeding journey together”
”My body is amazing. I can breastfeed my baby with ease”
I hope you found this useful. Just remember the power of your own mind. HypnoBirthing is based on the concept that the body always follows the lead of the mind. Get the mind right and you’ll be amazed at how your body will follow. Now let’s get that oxytocin flowing!