Breastfeeding is a time for connecting with your baby and yourself. People like to talk about the “challenges of breastfeeding,” but, the truth is that nursing can be calming, and even meditative, for new moms. This is especially true if you take the time to create a “breastfeeding sanctuary” – a comfortable, stress-free, space in your home that lets you focus 100% on your baby.
During your baby’s first few weeks, her nervous system is adjusting to the sensations and noises of the outside world. Imagine how chaotic things must feel! Creating a calming environment for breastfeeding can help your baby to adjust, while helping to reduce your stress. As we wrote in a previous article, moms and babies feed off of each other’s energy, so, it’s important that both of you are as calm and relaxed as possible.
Creating a breastfeeding sanctuary doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It could be as simple as closing the bedroom door and dimming the lights. Or, if you like to be around others, you might find a special corner of the living room, where you and your baby feel relaxed. During the summer months, your sanctuary could even be a quiet spot in the garden, where you can place your favourite rocking chair.
Here are a few ideas to help you create your perfect breastfeeding sanctuary and have the positive breastfeeding experience that you and your baby deserve.
Make It Your Space
Think about what “personality” you would like your breastfeeding sanctuary to have. Are there certain symbols or design elements that resonate with you? Do you want to surround yourself with calming colours and textures, posters, art or motivational statements? Or, would you prefer something simpler? The most important thing is to choose colours and items that put you in a contented, positive frame of mind.
Your sanctuary doesn’t have to be a place for just quiet reflection, unless you want it to be. One of the nice side benefits of breastfeeding is that it gives you time to do the things that you love.
Some women like to meditate while breastfeeding. Others enjoy writing in a journal, since the experience of being a new mom is so fascinating and fun to reflect on. Or if you love Facebook, you can post pictures and share your breastfeeding adventures with friends or in groups like Medela Malaysia. The most important thing is to make it your space.
Helpful Items for Your Breastfeeding Sanctuary
Your breastfeeding sanctuary doesn’t have to be elaborate. Start by finding a comfy chair. Many moms say that a rocking chair works especially well – the motion is soothing and may help babies with colic to calm down.
Get a small side table where you can keep your cup of tea, juice, water and snacks. Be especially careful with hot drinks. It’s usually best to use a straw or get a thermos with a tight-fitting lid. Next, you can create a miniature “library” of books, magazines and puzzle games. There’s nothing like a good crossword puzzle or Sudoku game to keep your mind occupied while you have a contented baby on your lap. Many moms also love to listen to music or audio books while they are breastfeeding. This can be a great way to catch up on your reading, while keeping your hands free to attend to the needs of your baby.
Whatever items you choose, be sure to keep the most important close at hand. There is nothing more frustrating than realizing that you have left something important on the other side of the room, just after your baby falls asleep. So, keep your TV remote, headphones, tissues and other items nearby. This way, you and your baby can both make the best of your time together.
Feng Shui the Nursery
If you want to bring a little extra peace and quiet into your breastfeeding sanctuary, consider feng shui. Practitioners of the traditional Chinese practice of feng shui believe that by we can create harmonious spaces by adjusting the positioning, colours, sounds and other elements in our environment.
This article has some good tips for how to use feng shui principles to design your breastfeeding sanctuary. For example, they suggest choosing a room with an east-facing window, since this is the direction of new beginnings. They also recommend painting the room with soft pastels, instead of bright colours.
Another simple feng shui tip is to de-clutter. If possible, choose a location with a door, so that you can close out the noise from the other areas of your house. Create a space where you can tune in to your baby and tune out the dishes and dust. Being a baby is harder work than it looks. Giving your little one a peaceful environment is a wonderful gift.
Use Plants to Refresh the Air
Houseplants aren’t just beautiful – they also help to keep the air in your home fresh and clean! Nature is so powerful that certain types of houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air pollutants in your home within 24 hours. Talk about a spring clean! The NASA Clean Air Study showed that some of the most effective air-purifying plants include the peace lily, English ivy, and chrysanthemums.
In addition to houseplants, sprigs from evergreen trees, cinnamon brooms, or scented flowers can add pleasant scents to your sanctuary. Alternatively, you could use essential oils or aromatherapy candles to create the perfect mood for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding Sanctuary Sounds
Do you find background noise, “white noise” or other gentle sounds calming? Your baby almost certainly does! So, consider adding some carefully chosen sounds to your breastfeeding sanctuary. If you like nature sounds, consider a small indoor fountain or CD of natural wilderness sounds. Nature Sounds is an Ontario company that creates soundscapes from woods, forests and waterways.
You breastfeeding sanctuary can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t matter whether you want a simple space or a more elaborate “home within a home.” The most important thing is to create an environment in which you and your baby feel safe, calm and happy. So, create your sanctuary in the spirit of sharing and positivity. You are building a special place where you and your baby can learn from each other and prepare for a positive future together.
Have you created a breastfeeding sanctuary in your house? What tips would you share with the other women in our community for creating a relating place to be with your child? Please add your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on our Medela Malaysia Facebook page.