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Breastfeeding With All 5 Of Your Senses

#1. SIGHT

YOU: Gazing at your baby stimulates your oxytocin production. Milk begins to flow in preparation for a feeding. You might feel leaking, tingling or a feeling of warmth.    

What to do? Check her out from head to toe. Focus on her lips, her opened mouth, her tongue. Look at her hands and feet, every little toe.

BABY: She’s cueing you by opening her eyes wide... she’s looking for you. Your nipples are darker in contrast to your skin as a guide for her.   

What to do?  Let her see your whole breast to be fully aware of where she’s going. Keep your face visible, she can see your eyes, nose and mouth. Open your mouth wide for her to see and mimic.

#2. SMELL

YOU: The unique scent of your newborn is enough to stimulate your letdown.  

What to do? Allow yourself to breathe her in, all of her... it might even be the smell of a breastmilk stool during a diaper change that will trigger your response.

BABY: She’s sniffing the air, she’s opening and closing her mouth... your baby is taking air in through her nose and mouth, trying to track you down. She has imprinted on the scent of your skin, your breastmilk and your breath. 

What to do? Keep her close to you to stimulate her to wake up and feed more often. Express some breastmilk with your fingers and spread it on your areola and breast. Don’t wash away the attracting scent on your breasts.

#3. TOUCH

YOU: It goes beyond skin-to-skin. Your entire body sends information to your brain to stimulate the production and flow of breastmilk. 

What to do? Feel your baby’s skin with your hands, use your muscles to lift her weight. The added gentle pressure of her warm body on your ribcage and breast creates the cycle for milk to begin to flow.

BABY: She starts rooting when well supported at your breast. When your baby senses pressure on her belly, chest and lifted chin - an existing neuronal (think nervous system) pathway stimulates her desire to open her mouth and eat.       

What to do? Wrap your baby around you, pull her bottom in close and press up on the soles of her feet, pushing her up into your breast. Stimulate her key pressure points from feet to belly, chest and chin, while allowing her to feel fully supported.

#4. TASTE

YOU: When you cuddle your baby, you smell her scent and when you kiss your baby you learn the taste of her. Beyond the emotional attachment, kissing your baby’s skin provides a health benefit - a pathway for her skin ”germs” to get into your system so your body can create antibodies against them in your breastmilk.     

What to do?  Kiss your baby. Nibble her toes. And when you’re done with the toes, kiss her some more.

BABY:  She turns her head to your breasts and roots strongly when your milk is dripped or sprayed into her mouth. The flavors of the foods you ate when you were pregnant were in your amniotic fluid and now those uniquely familiar flavors are in your breastmilk. 

What to do? Continue to eat the healthy foods and distinct flavors that you enjoyed when you were pregnant.

#5. HEARING

YOU: The sound of your baby crying, triggers the oxytocin release that starts your breastmilk flowing. Doesn’t even have to be your own baby.   

What to do? Embrace the sound, hear it and breathe deeply. Your body is getting ready to feed your hungry baby.

BABY: She turns to your voice. She relaxes when you sing. She understands the subtleties of a calming voice versus a stressed one.  

What to do? Set up a feeding routine that involves quiet music. Sing the songs that you sang to her when she was in utero. Soothe both of you with calming sound.

This one is lovely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2kvPdvoUB4

Lean back, breathe deeply and breastfeed with all your senses.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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