What’s one of the best things you can do for your baby? Get a top-of-the-range pram or learn how to wrap your baby like a Japanese art piece? No – it’s to enjoy deep relaxation with your baby…
I was recently interviewed by the fabulous Pinky McKay on her podcast, Tits Up (all puns intended!). Pinky is amazing – she is a mum of five, has countless grandchildren and has managed to fit in writing a library of the most amazing parenting books.
Her ethos is to parent from the heart – a philosophy that definitely resonates with me.
Pinky and I met around twenty years ago – and her hair was the same vivid pink as it is today! We were both members of Infant Massage Australia (I’m still a signed up member!) and we just hit it off immediately.
I loved her refreshing attitude and great sense of humour. Fast forward twenty years and Pinky is still helping new mums care for their babies and navigate the transition into motherhood.
And I went on her podcast to talk about the value of Guided Relaxation for new mums.
To be honest, I think there is value in relaxation (of the deep, restorative variety) for everyone – but I must admit it is extra important for mums-to-be and new mums who will very rarely get an entire night’s sleep in one go… in fact, you might have to fast forward until your child is a teenager and then of course you are kept awake waiting for them to come home or slamming doors as they “quietly” go to bed in the early hours… oh the joys.
Which is why Guided Relaxation is essential! And if you’re still unsure then check out this study from Malaysia which found that mothers who had relaxation therapy as part of their parenting support may feel less stressed and have bubs that sleep and eat more than mums who don’t have this extra assistance.
This study admittedly small scale as studies go – looked at 64 new mums who given traditional help with breastfeeding (such as information guides, guides on support groups and lactation consultants), but 33 of the mums were also given access to audio relaxations which included deep breathing practices and positive affirmations.
The mums who listened to the relaxation therapy while breastfeeding their bubs appeared to have less stress than the mums who didn’t get the audio recordings. (According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
Furthermore, after two weeks the mums with the audio relaxations had lower levels of the hormone cortisol (related to stress) in their breastmilk. And at this point, the babies in this group were sleeping an average of 82 minutes longer each day than their counterparts in the group without access to the audio relaxations.
And then after three months the bubs in the relaxed group had ingested an average of 227 grams more breastmilk each day than the babies in the control group.
The study group concluded that any kind of method that offered deep relaxation would be helpful for new mums and that further studies are needed. My personal experience of raising three children (all breastfed for varying times) definitely proved to me that the times when I relaxed I found it much easier to feed my babies than the occasions when I felt on edge or anxious.
So, it comes down to the age old advice that less is more. You don’t need to be rushing around chasing the latest baby gadget, you just need to take a lovely, long, slow breath and RELAX. And don’t be fooled, just because it seems like you aren’t doing very much, rest assured (literally) that you are being the best possible mother you can be. Guilt-free. Just beautifully nourishing relaxation. ENJOY!
And if you don’t know where to start, then please check out my guided Relaxation audiobook – where I have around 12 hours of guided relaxations and breathing practices for you to listen to while you feed. And although that might seem like a lot of hours – as any new mums knows – your newborn will feed around eight hours out of every 24 hours for the first three months…! That’s a lot of relaxation time!