"Breastfeeding psychology" is something I have discovered in my mothering experience. It is discussed very little, if at all, in all my reading. If more mothers were in-tune to their own "breastfeeding psychology", there might be less difficult and/or failed breastfeeding experiences.
The mind is a very powerful tool, sometimes more powerful then we think it is! It controls the entire body. Have you ever noticed that you start to let-down when thinking about your baby, seeing your baby, smelling their clothes or even hearing a baby's cry? That is your mind being so powerful that it controls the body's response without you even having to think about it.
Mothers that use "Attached Parenting" (see Attached Parenting) are very in-tune to their babies. They hold them constantly, especially as an infant, in a sling or baby carrier. They co-sleep (see Co-Sleeping, Our Experience) with their baby. They bathe together. Mom's and Baby's bodies work in synergy.
Mothers that are having breastfeeding problems, especially in milk production, milk quantity, let-down and latch, might need to get in-tune with their "breastfeeding psychology". Here are some tips...
1. You have to want to breastfeed. Not because you think your supposed to, but because you want to.
2. Relax! If your body is tense, baby will notice. He might not want to latch or get a poor latch.
3. Quite your mind...and only think of baby! If you are stressed out and thinking of other things then your baby, milk production can slow down, and latch can be difficult too. When you are breastfeeding, lay down, relax, and day-dream about you and your child. Turn off the phone and TV if you must.
4. If you are a working mom and are pumping, breastfeed as much as possible. No matter how good a pump you have, nothing compares to your baby. Besides, a pump won't gazes into your eyes and rub your back like your baby will! When you are pumping at work, try to eliminate all distractions, and think of baby. Bring a piece of clothing or blanket to smell, listen to soothing music, or look at a picture of baby. Our senses are so powerful!
5. If these tips don't work, contact a lactation consultant immediately.
Nolan and I have an excellent breastfeeding relationship (going on 18 months now!) We have not had any problems with latch or milk production, except for one time, which is when I discovered my "breastfeeding psychology". Nolan was about 3 months old. We had house guests and alot going on. There was a night that I had to work, and Avery was going to take Nolan to a dinner and I would meet them there. This does not seem like a big deal, but this was my first time away from him for such an extended time. I had to give Avery a pumped bottle - too much time would pass that Nolan would need a feeding. And as much as we loved our friends staying with us, it was out of our routine. I had to keep up with cooking, cleaning and social outings, as well as working. I fell into problem #3 - my mind was stressed! That morning, I started to pump and only got half a bottle. Nolan had sucked them dry during the night, and I still needed to feed him throughout the morning. All day I kept thinking about this "problem" and worrying that I would not have enough milk for him. Sure enough, my "problem" become my reality. Later that afternoon, I tried to pump again and only got a 1/4 more. Even more anxious, I just breastfed Nolan as much as I could until I had to leave. Of course, he was fine. He had enough milk in the bottle, but certainly wanted me when I arrived at the dinner!
The lesson learned, "breastfeeding psychology" is real. When you are pregnant, read as much as you can about breastfeeding, and watch other mothers nurse their children. Attend LLL meeting, get to know a lactation consultant before you have any issues, so if one does arise, you know who to call. And just RELAX! Enjoy every moment with your baby. Before you know it, they grow up!
Another common anxiety issue mothers have is breastfeeding in public. When baby wants to be fed, baby must be fed! Sometimes there is no subduing them. Many new mothers feel embarrassed, or awkward. Let me tell you, most people don't even know you are nursing. There have been several times that I was nursing Nolan in public, and people would come right up to me and start talking and not even know that he was under the blanket or in his sling! They would actually ask me where he was! When I told them, then they would figure it out and they would get embarrassed. I always just laughed and said "no worries, he's just having lunch!" Have a sling, and know how to use it. Always have an extra blanket ready. Sit somewhere comfortable. And don't ever let me hear that you fed your baby in the bathroom! No one else eats their meal in the bathroom - your baby shouldn't either!!
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International Book)