Reflections on Breastfeeding – How Connected to our Babies are we?

I breastfed both my children. It was a choice I made before both were born, something that felt right for me. I knew I wanted to support them as naturally as I could concerning their immune system, building a relationship with them and cradling them. I did not know what this looked like in reality before they were born, I had no preparation for it.

Over the months of pregnancy I began to observe and become used to my breasts being something other than attractive appendages. They began to swell, feel tender, look different and feel different. I began to get a sense that my breasts had a different purpose other than being craftily placed in a bra for maximum cleavage and impact, but this was very new to me and I had not realised how much being observant of my body and so connecting to it, would alter how I felt about myself and life.

On the day of the birth of my first child, my breasts began to swell exponentially. I had thought breast-feeding was natural, so breast-feeding would happen naturally. And yet I found myself confronted by a breast the size and texture of an under ripe melon and a delicate petite head of a new born baby and I wasn’t sure how to bring these two objects together. After a few attempts and adjustments in position, over the first few days of her life, we found a way to work it out together and she latched on and so our relationship with breastfeeding began.

I found that the initial stages of breast-feeding demands that we are still, we are completely absorbed and present in the process and latching of the baby with mother, we don’t get up and move around, we often marvel at the miracle before us. However, I had not considered how willing I would be to remain absolutely present and surrendered to the act of breast-feeding once I got savvy with the breast-feeding holds and latch. Or whether I would find many ways to distract myself and busy myself.

In the first few weeks after the birth, our family was held in the most amazing stillness, and moments of the experience were expansive and timeless. Becoming acquainted with the divine package of love that was delivered to us was a miracle to behold, our daughter’s delicateness and sensitivity was stunning, the depth of warmth in her eyes had me gazing at them again and again, a wonder to behold.

And yet a few weeks in, I had already begun to get used to picking rice out of her hair while I was trying to eat my dinner, watching TV, reading a book, even getting up and cleaning the house, being on the phone, chatting to people and generally doing all sorts of activities while I was offering my daughter nourishment.

I judge no woman for going into the act of multi-tasking, as I do not judge myself. Most, if not all of us have done it and we all have told ourselves and each other that it is to be admired in the female sex, and yet what does the choice of trying to spin many plates in life offer us and those we are with?

I would suggest it cheats us of many amazing confirming and supportive experiences, to complete one task with care, to stop and bring all our attention to the subject and or person at hand, to connect fully with the person we are with, to deeply connect with how we feel, to feel stillness, to allow ourselves to truly feel what is required in that moment, instead of rushing off to the next thing. In being ever busy and distracted we lose the moment, we overwhelm ourselves and we bury the opportunity to feel our natural stillness.

samantha-davidson-2016
Samantha Davidson 2016

And with my daughter, there were many times when I was deeply connected with her, and I did not always seek to do another activity when we were breast-feeding.

But, and again without judgment, it is an interesting subject to look at … what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?

What do I reflect to my child when I cannot allow time to be with them, with no distractions? We know children learn through reflection, so does she learn that we are too busy to connect?

How open does she remain in the relationship when she is not met for who she is, and her mother is distracted looking at a screen or a book?

When I did allow time to breastfeed with no distractions, settled, still, warm and comfortable, I could feel how being this still, present and aware was rare for me. The moments I allowed myself to surrender rather than race to the next thing were a precious lesson in life.

I began to understand more fully that connection with others is what life is about, not what I do or say. It is how we are with each other that matters.

Will our children as they grow up, feel truly nurtured through a deep connection, feeling completely seen, being met as an equal and being appreciated for who they really are because when we are with them we are completely 100% with them?

Breast-feeding is a wonderful activity to participate and share in, but we are not less as mothers for choosing not to, or not physically being able to do it. True nurturing of another is through connection and meeting them for who they are.

Are we willing as women to offer ourselves the foundation that supports this connection and connect with our own natural stillness and essence first?

by Samantha Davidson, Business Owner, Massage Therapist, Complementary Health Practitioner, Presenter and Mother, UK.

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Learning to Love myself through my Breasts – Breast Feeding and Trusting the Stillness within … Luz returns to her connection with her breasts and learns that “putting the ‘woman’ in me first will support me and so the baby”

Sara talks Breast Health and Breast Care  beyond function

 

325 thoughts on “Reflections on Breastfeeding – How Connected to our Babies are we?

  1. “What truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?” So well said Samantha we can really get caught up our heads which can tell us that we should and shouldn’t be doing when the language of the heart is so much more powerful.

  2. “what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship” excellent question to ask when society are very quick to judge whether you are breast feeding or not – this seems the more supportive question to ask.

  3. ‘…what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?’ This is such a wise observation, Samantha. I was breast fed as a baby which, by all accounts, should have provided a loving and honouring connection however my memory of being breast fed is that the taste was bitter and there was very much a lack of connection.

  4. Pregnancy naturally offers women an opportunity to connect to their stillness and the delicate women that is within, as it signals the body to prepare for a baby This is why so many women look radiant in their first months of pregnancy, but this can often wane as the pressures of everyday life take them out of the stillness and into the motion of multitasking and juggling family work and relationships.

  5. I so appreciate reading this today.. that any activity can be and feel amazing when we are connected to our own bodies and our natural sense of space and stillness, from within.

  6. Loved re-reading this and reflecting on how challenging I can still find embracing my innate stillness but how beautiful these moments are and how confirming it is for me and others when I allow myself to ‘go there’.

  7. It is like with everything in life that we tend to make it about what we can do so much that we leave behind the quality of how we are doing it or with whom we are around.

    1. Yes it is so easy to get caught up in the quantity of what we do rather than appreciating the quality of what we deliver in all areas of our lives.

  8. It’s quite telling of our society that when we are offered an opportunity to be still and present when a child is born we love it and surrender to it for a while but then get back to ‘normal life’ of multitasking and being busy, and the baby has to fit in with that. Perhaps if we all knew that stillness is our true nature, instead of a moment in our week when we meditate or seek nature, we would cherish what the new baby brings for their and our lifetime.

    1. Yes, to know that stillness is innate, within us and where we can live from everyday, that really does change how we approach life. The pregnancies and birth of both my children, offered me the space to feel this stillness and depth in my everyday, however me becoming aware that it was in there within me to feel everyday, and nurturing this knowing, this has made it a substantial part to life.

  9. There is a lot of pressure for women to connect with their children, to bond and to secure their relationship. And I can see how this can at times create a huge tension in women who worry that they are not doing it properly and so have feelings of failure, which is simply not true and really, every woman could be supported to be her own sweet loving self and to know that this is enough and that her children will thrive on such love.

    1. I love this, really felt how we impose our ideas on relationships in the way we try and ‘secure things’ rather than just being our selves in relationships, and yes the power of understanding if we can learn to embrace and love our selves, that is all a child needs from a parent and role model.

  10. Breast feeding a baby when you are still and seeing into each other’s eyes is to deeply connect to the trust of the child and to yourself as offering a shared nurturing.

  11. An interesting question to ponder on, ‘what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?’

  12. I am planning on breastfeeding my baby when he is born, so reading this blog is a beautiful reminder of how important it is to be with the baby when they are feeding and in fact all the time. Connection is so important, and they feel every inch of it.

    1. I totally agree Natalliya it is the quality of our connection, that is the vital ingredient necessary for the evolution of all our relationships.

  13. Having babies is just where it gets highlighted that connection is the essence of life, and if we don’t have that then we surely can’t get it from anyone else. Realise this and you can short circuit the merry go round of hopes and desires that so many of us get marooned on.

    1. Beautiful observation, yes the babies are born and they look at us, to connect, they are energy radars and if anything is disharmonious, boom they let us know. We teach our babies very young that connection is not what most of us do in society, but rather that we seek to get attention and acknowledgement. Connection asks nothing of us, we have space to be, saying I love you from our hearts, feels completely different from saying I love you from our demands and needs, so what is it that we are offering our babies and what are they learning in their delicate sensitive states of being?

  14. “Breast-feeding is a wonderful activity to participate and share in, but we are not less as mothers for choosing not to, or not physically being able to do it.” Love this Samantha in your article – you just blow all those harmful consciousness that we can have about breast feeding right out of the water.

  15. I’m about to have my second child, and what I really get a sense of from this sharing is the responsibility I have as a mother in how I am living and the quality with which I support my children. The breast milk i produce is a direct result of how i am living, and that is what they are drinking, so there is a direct call for me to look at me first.

  16. Some lovely reflections on your breastfeeding and how they relate to life, ‘I began to understand more fully that connection with others is what life is about, not what I do or say. It is how we are with each other that matters.’

  17. “Will our children as they grow up, feel truly nurtured through a deep connection, feeling completely seen, being met as an equal and being appreciated for who they really are because when we are with them we are completely 100% with them?” that is it, it is not the doing but in the quality of being 100% with those we are connected to.

  18. There is nothing more beautiful to observe than a mother’s connection with a child through any stages of development. Breastfeeding like many is an opportunity to recognise the impact this has on the depth of relationship we can offer.

  19. “what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?” This is such an important point. The nourishing and nurturing of an infant calls for stillness and deep loving connection as a principal part of their care. A bottle fed baby nurtured with love by a man will flourish.

  20. Samantha, you provide a great example of how beneficial even a short time without tension and spent in stillness.

  21. ” it is an interesting subject to look at … what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?” this question is a complete game changer Samantha and one that every mother would benefit from asking and reflecting on.

  22. On multi-tasking.. is it that we love it because we feel so good about ticking things off a list and getting things done.. are we invested more in the outcome and high of getting things done? I’m finding multi-tasking leaves me feeling a bit greyed out and disconnected, whereas doing one thing, with care and quality, leaves me feeling much more fulfilled and connected to a natural stillness. There’s no rush, just space, rather than the hardness, numbness and drive that I end up with when I rush or try to do too many things at the same time. I’m realising my body’s limits and it’s actually quite a beautiful process to have to surrender to it, instead of constantly overriding it.

  23. “I judge no woman for going into the act of multi-tasking, as I do not judge myself. Most, if not all of us have done it and we all have told ourselves and each other that it is to be admired in the female sex, and yet what does the choice of trying to spin many plates in life offer us and those we are with? So true Samantha and when we have a young baby in our arms they can feel if we are fully present with them or not and I feel this will affect the health and vitality of the baby.

  24. A beautiful reminder of our natural stillness and how powerful this is not only for us but for our children too. A lovely moment to share our stillness with others and how being present can truly behold, connect and cherish each and everyone of us.

  25. Being aware of the miracle before us when we have babies is awesome, but how about expanding that and appreciating our older children and adults in the same way. Who we are in essence does not alter as we grow, within we are the miracle of grace, love and that we are when we are born. Every one of us equally so…

  26. “True nurturing of another is through connection and meeting them for who they are”. I agree Samantha if we do not meet and connect with another in the space where they are at in their lives, true nurturing will not be part of the equation.

    1. Breastfeeding can be amazing, but equally so can every activity if we make quality and connection our priority. Nurturing is something that we often don’t consider, it is a choice to enrich and commit to our relationships, which can only allow them to flourish.

  27. ‘In being ever busy and distracted we lose the moment, we overwhelm ourselves and we bury the opportunity to feel our natural stillness.’
    It has been my own choice for a long time to be busy all the time. To not stop and feel what I was actually feeling inside and certainly not connect to stillness inside. Like a dog chasing it’s own tale. Beautiful to step out of that and allow more awareness of what there is being communicated to us.

  28. It is so cool to unravel some of the judgment and imposition around breast feeding and to talk about the quality with which we do things rather than the what it is we are doing. The breast or bottle question becomes insignificant when we consider that it is connection, being met, consistency and stillness that really nourish us.

    1. I love this, Matilda, it makes so much sense ‘The breast or bottle question becomes insignificant when we consider that it is connection, being met, consistency and stillness that really nourish us.’

  29. I remember doing all sorts of things while breastfeeding my daughter and realize in hindsight I preferred giving the bottle also because I could feel the stillness more and connecting was easier.

  30. Stillness is. state of being, it involves a connection within and moving form there, life can still be active and vital, but we honour that we have a connection within and stillness within that is our foundation and where we move from, I feel it now and when I do not, I know there is something for me to look at. It is deeply supportive and offer a great clarity to come from this place and approach life in this way.

  31. Many women find it difficult to ‘just be’ with themselves and their baby when breastfeeding. And so multitask. I did so too at times. Learning to be with myself and enjoy the stillness is something I have found with the experience of Esoteric Yoga.

    1. True, Esoteric Yoga is fantastic to support us to connect and be with our natural stillness, and in a session you move in that stillness and this is something that I find very helpful, to practice being still in movement. It is like having a steady base and moving from that instead of everything being in motion. This feels unsettling and puts me into a drive and push when everything is in motion and I am not in connection with that base of stillness.

  32. Whether it is illness, pregnancy, breast feeding, as we mature, all of these change in our body, allow us the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with your relationship with our body. We often get stuck in a way of being with ourselves, which in many occasions is not supportive. I grew up and developed a relationship wth my breasts, which was not true, through experiences I had, breast feeding offered me a new angle to reflect on, to see how I have been with my breasts. There is something to learn in everything we experience, it is not about good or bad, it is about how we learn and evolve from our life.

  33. “True nurturing of another is through connection and meeting them for who they are”. I totally agree Samantha, connection with another is key to forging a loving relationship which will then evolve in a way which honours all concerned.

    1. Exactly, we tend to meet people and see what needs to change rather than meeting them for having everything they need with them, when we. meet someone for all that they are, we know they are complete already. We can nurture another, support them to blossom and grow and heal by holding them in the truth of who they are, observing what s not loving but not seeing them as that. A baby comes complete a package of love, connected, sensitive and open to love, do we support that through meeting them in full or do we put conditions on it? Are we as adults prepared to see and honour the level of grace, wisdom and tenderness our baby shares with us?

  34. Having been guilty of multitasking whilst breastfeeding my daughter on many occasions I can feel how I struggled with feeling the depth of stillness and connection when I was simply present with her and the activity and did not allow anything else to distract me. The gift of connection is so precious and very much needed by children -even more so in our so-called connected world where so many feel more isolated than ever.

    1. I feel it as very supportive to read of other women’s difficulty with being present and still in moments, because I realise I am not alone; that we all know it is a quality within us; that it is a quality that restores harmony and that this is an inspiring responsibility.

  35. ‘..what does the choice of trying to spin many plates in life offer us and those we are with?’ First we need to become aware of what in truth is happening when we are multitasking ( and as women getting recognition for this ability) how does it affect us and those around us and to start to be honest and feel the difference when we are connected and present in every moment with what we do. I remember so well the deep stillness, presence and space when I was breathfeeding my child or even just being with them and how trying to multitask would exhaust me and came from the belief and ideal that I only was a good mother when I could do all (and perfect) just like I did before I had the responsibility to raise a child. My children were my biggest teachers.

  36. I remember hearing about experiments that were done on a drop of water, a Scientist talked to the drop of water and the way the water changed and responded to that word was amazing. I do not think it a stretch to imagine that breast milk is affected by the energy of the mother but also the quality in which she chooses to breast feed. I hold no judgment to any mother, as I am a mother myself and I found breast feeding a challenge. What I learned from it all was that life is about quality of energy first, not being critical on ourselves and it doesn’t matter if your feeding your baby from the bottle or from the breast, it is the connection that nurtures them.

    1. I completely agree Sarah, and that goes for every relationship we have. The quality comes first through our connection with ourselves and then with the person…the difference this makes is monumental. We all know how fake it feels when we’re putting it on, and so we know when the connection is true also.

  37. This beautifully illustrates the awareness we gain from observing our movements in any moment and the amazing gift of our presence, stillness and connection with all that reflects so much.

  38. I remember breastfeeding my daughter particularly. It was a joyful experience for both of us. She had a little sofa in her bedroom and I would cherish each feed in that quiet room – just hanging out quietly together, with no distractions. The bonding and physical closeness we shared is something that I shall always treasure, the experience of which stays with me until this day.

  39. By reading this blog I can feel the importance of connection, presence and stillness in each moment that a mother is breastfeeding her child. Children’s sensitivityy is huge and they feel everything (as we all do), and not being fully with them in those moments is something that creates a mark. They want the nurturing that comes from the connection with their mother. This makes me reflect on eating disorders. Would it be a consequence of lack of true connection in those moments?

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