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Updated: May 11, 2022

The Connection between breastfeeding and breathing.

Breastfeeding and breathing are far more connected than you think. The best way to truly relax is through deep controlled slow breathing exercises. When you are Breastfeeding and you feel extremely tense you milk can be restricted. It can be very stressful at the beginning of breastfeeding and during the process of breastfeeding your child.

Once you can connect the relaxation feeling of exhaling slowly it can help you calm your nervous system and you will use it and repeat it over and over through the breastfeeding and parenting process. Slowing down your exhale is the best advice to find calm and reduce tension, especially in high pressured or tense situations. When we are stressed, tense, scared or in pain, we often hold our breath. This leads to an immediate increase in our heart rate and has other negative physiological effects.. stiff neck, headaches, sleep disruption, upset stomach ect. When your heart rate quickens, your muscles contract and then you find yourself and your body in quite an uncomfortable state.

Breastfeeding tension can occur when you are feeling stressed , tired or overwhelmed and then the snowball effect starts.

When tension is present while breastfeeding it can lead to problems with latching, babies become unsettled and often mothers end up with a sore neck, back, or with headaches and it may even delay the let down or the milk ejection.

Tension in breastfeeding can present as:

*Tense or uneven shoulders (one higher than the other)

* Difficult/ Uncomfortable Positioning- mothers attempting to bring the breast to the baby, rather than the baby to the breast so they twist and injure their backs.

*Pain- Headaches or neck pain as mothers try to watch the latch from a twisted position.

*Anxiety- anticipation of pain before the baby has latched.

So, here is the best information you can receive when you’re scared, nervous or worried, or already even in pain: Create an extended exhale. Consciously make the choice to slowly extend your exhale. Breathing has been used for centuries; it is the first thing you do when you are born and the last action before you pass. It is our life force/ chi and our most important source of energy. It has been used in meditation, yoga and religious practice for thousands of years. Breathing out consciously slower will allow you to breathe in well too. Using the breath to stabilize your mind body and soul. Being in the moment, in your own body, with your mind and attached to your spirit.

This will also help later on in the chaos of managing screaming babies, busy toddlers, never ending bedtime routines, teenagers and marriage issues ect. Slowly Breathe out. Choose to respond instead of react to aid in less additional tension. Bring as much calm as you can to the moment by slowing down your breath. This slows down your heart or pulse and then your busy mind slows down. It is all connected. Your breath is your control over your tension. Also remember your nose is for breathing your mouth is for eating.

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