Breastfeeding and Stress

Some studies show that a defective let-down reflex is also connected to stress. Breastfeeding in itself is calming. The hormones Prolactin and Oxytocin are released during breastfeeding, which gives a mother the feeling of tranquillity.

mother and baby
Mother kissing her baby

How do you relax during breastfeeding and combat breastfeeding boredom?

Breastfeeding stress reduction is key, as your milk supply depends mostly on your mood.

When a mother is anxious, her breast milk supply usually decreases dramatically. Some studies show that a defective let-down reflex is also connected to stress.

Breastfeeding in itself is calming. The hormones Prolactin and Oxytocin are released during breastfeeding, which gives a mother a feeling of tranquility. Did you know that breastfeeding has been proven to reduce the incidence of postpartum depression?

So now, let's look at ways to control breastfeeding stress and make life easier for you and your baby.

How to Decrease Stress While Breastfeeding

  • Sometimes it helps to feel your baby's skin against your own, cuddle with him/her or sing to your baby; this will help with milk flow and will also help you both relax.
  • Have a snack before breastfeeding your baby. You must care for yourself first before seeing to your baby's needs. Mothers who are dehydrated and who do not eat healthily are more prone to anxiety. Whole grains, vegetables, and proteins are good snacks to have while breastfeeding.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. There should be a special, comfortable place where you breastfeed your baby, where it is calm and peaceful.
  • A warm shower can calm you and will also assist with milk flow.
  • Sometimes, getting yourself busy with something else during breastfeeding can help you relax.
  • If you and your baby are not comfortable while breastfeeding, you will both feel reasonably stressed out afterward, physically and emotionally. Find the most comfortable position for both of you.
  • You can take safe herbs to calm yourself and your baby.
  • Getting at least eight hours of sleep per day will decrease stress tremendously.
  • Stay active and get those endorphins pumping! Endorphins released while exercising will create a feeling of well-being.
  • Deep breathing, meditation, and massage therapy can help with relaxation.
  • Talk to your family and friends. Let them know how you’re feeling. Or write down your thoughts.
  • Get yourself a hobby; find something that you enjoy doing.
  • Some mothers may consider using CBD.
breastfeeding stress
Photo by Jenna Norman / Unsplash

Boredom and Breastfeeding

Let's face it breastfeeding can become tedious. It doesn’t matter how much you love breastfeeding or have looked forward to nursing, breastfeeding may become like a chore on some days… feeling like this is normal!

Breastfeeding can become a full-time job; sometimes, you might feel like all you ever do is breastfeed. It’s okay to want some time to yourself. You deserve it!

You can use a breastfeeding sling to free your hands during breastfeeding or lie down while you breastfeed and watch a movie.

Once you and your baby get accustomed to nursing, it becomes easier to sit and breastfeed without holding your baby, especially when your baby starts holding on to the breast by him/herself.

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Decrease Stress Levels While Breastfeeding

Read: Reading while lying down is really easy; this is an obvious choice, but most people do not consider it. Reading can make time go by quickly. If you don’t like reading, you can always get yourself an audiobook.

Listen to music: This can be enjoyable for both you and your baby.

Plan ahead: Make a shopping list or plan for your next holiday.

Eat: Keep this special time for some healthy snacks like fruit or nuts.

Watch television: watch a good movie or your favorite program.

• Take up a hobby like learning how to write a novel.

Pray: Sometimes, our lives are so busy that we hardly ever get time to pray for our children and husbands.

Groom baby: Cut your baby’s nails, clean your baby’s ears and nose, etc.

• Phone family or friends that you have not contacted in a while.

• You could chat with your older children or play board games with them.

Ha, I've Actually Forgotten About How Boring It Can Become at Times...

by Elsabe, South Africa

It was funny to read this and think, "Hey, that's what I experienced and did! " Even though I've never bottle fed, I can imagine that women who might have bottle fed a first baby and then breastfed the second may feel like it's too much.

My own cousin couldn't breastfeed her first, the baby was premature, and she had a tough pregnancy. So when her second came, she said she wanted to try breastfeeding. Think she only did it for a month, and I was so happy, and one day when I asked her how it was going, she said she stopped breastfeeding because it takes too long!! I was so shocked!!

To me, it's way more effort and energy to first prepare bottles, sterilize them, have a screaming baby who wants their feed NOW, and you first have to wait for the water to boil, and when the power is off, you have a problem, and the list goes on.

Breastfeeding, you pop out the boob, put it in his/her mouth, and that's it. Close up your bra afterward, no fuss, no work! Hehe! But yes, everyone is different, so what I consider effort, you might not.