Ayurvedic view on Breastfeeding

Breast milk Ayurveda

World Breastfeeding week is set during the first week of August to highlight the huge benefits of breastfeeding, for the baby, for the mother and for the whole world.

Me, as a lactating mother and as an Ayurveda practitioner I aim to widespread the spiritual side of Breastfeeding, as a nourishment to baby’s body and soul.

Ayurveda and Science share the same view on Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the nature’s wonderful creation to protect the new-borns all around soon after the birth in terms of love, affection, nutrition etc. According to
the universal epidemiology on breastfeeding, it prevent 8,23,000 annual death in children younger than 5 year and 20000 annual death of mother from breast carcinoma. Hence, both Ayurveda and modern Science agree to recommend breastfeeding as the best option for the baby, the mother and the world’s health.

According to Ayurveda, breast milk is one of the three “white liquids” that run the universe.

The other two are: Rasa Dhatu (the first of seven tissues, and is comprised of plasma, lymph and white blood cells; it represents “the essence of digestion”) and Shukra Dhatu (refers to both male and female reproductive tissue, the last of the seven tissues and represents “the essence or the nectar of the person”).

Ayurveda says that the whole universe is represented in our body. As the water is represented in all our watery secretions, the fire is represented in all our enzimatic and digestive processes and the earth is represented in our bones, teeth and hair… breast milk is the representation in our body of the whole universe, the Milky way, our galaxy, our home…mystic and at the same time real.

Samskara or the Welcoming Ritual

The Vedas (Ayurvedic sacred texts) mention some welcoming rituals (Samskaras) for the newborns, so that the grow up healthy and have a prosper life.  One of those Samskaras describe that Breastfeeding should be initiated on the “Sacred hour” after birth and should be started with enchanting of mantras. The mother should face to east direction and start feeding from right breast to the child with enchanting the mantras.

In my online Baby Shantala Massage course I teach the mantra to welcome baby’s soul, it is a mantra to bring life. It is a very ancient tradition that continues today and is passed down from generation to generation.

Breast milk Ayurveda

“As the deities obtained longevity by consuming nectar, similarly the child should also get longevity by consuming your milk which is also nectar of life”.

Breast milk Ayurveda

The benefits of Breastfeeding are huge, not only for the baby and the mom but also for the world’s health. Here I mention only a few of them:

  • Protection: protects baby from many infections and
    diseases by making him/her immune to basic health hazards and protects his/her Soul, nourishing baby’s emotional needs.
  • Source of life: After the intensity of the delivery and cutting the umbilical cord, Baby and Mom join back again through the breast, Baby feels he goes back home, The Breast is the door to the Milky Way, ubaby’s sacred universe and first spiritual home. During Breastfeeding it is advised to look at your baby’s eyes, being present is the best gift for you both and it is the key to Breastfeeding success as looking at your baby’s eyes, connecting to him, triggers oxytocine release. Talking on the phone, or watching TV while Breastfeeding may stop these flow.
  • Pleasure and rest: Breast milk triggers the release of oxytocine cascade which drowns in happiness and pleasure mom and Baby together. Some women may experience sexual pleasure while Breastfeeding. Oxytocin also causes labor contractions during childbirth and pleasure contractions during orgasm. According to Ayurveda, Breast milk is very closely related to Shukra Dhatu (reproductive tissue), this may explain this arousal. It is not by chance that Ayurveda Diet program during Breastfeeding includes food which nourish Shukra; as the body of the mother feels like constantly “making love” while breastfeeding.

Not every Breastmilk is of Good Quality.

Breast milk represents the “essence” of the mother, the essence of the first big adventure Mom&Baby which happens during pregnancy. According to Ayurveda, there are as many types of Breast milk as Body (Prakruti) Types: Vata, Pitta or Kapha; however when Doshas are vitiated, breast milk may also be vitiated (with toxins).

Breast milk is formed by Rasa Dhatu (“the essence of digestion”). Therefore, what we eat and how good or bad our digestion is, does affect the quality of Breast milk. Hence, the composition of Breast milk primarily depends on mother’s nutritional status and hormonal balance. Excessive dieting, fasting and physical exercise and resulting fatigue, consumption of excessive dry food substances – without fat or oils and too much stress or work, will cause vitiation of Doshas and bad quality of Breast milk… The mother’s lifestyle and Diet affect the quality of Breast Milk.  We, as lactating mothers, shoud take care of ourselves not only during breastfeeding but also since the very beginning, since the conception, during the whole pregnancy and of course during postpartum in order to make sure to have Good Quality of Breast milk. 

It may not be easy…

Breastfeeding is not easy. Usually it happens what we never expect. In our case, it took me almost two months to establish lactation. I had enough milk supply but baby was not able to latch on. We tried all possible postures and for a month I needed to wear a nipple shield. Many lactation consultants tried to help us, but they focused only on the baby’s tongue and my posture, they didn’t look further. Our instinct and following a friend’s advice, we ended up with a craniosacral osteopath who was our “ángel”, who helped us achieve a succesful breastfeeding. My baby was born with torticollis, which made it difficult for him to latch on. The cause might have been during pregnancy or due to the abrupt delivery. Thanks to Mª Ángeles, that’s the name of our ostheopath angel, we were able to alleviate the discomfort of my baby and we achieved the much desired grip. We have been breastfeeding for 13 months now. If you are going through a difficult time, follow your instinct and look for advice by professionals who have a holistic vision of breastfeeding. In the case of not producing enough milk, Ayurveda has a specific program to include in your Diet spices, foods and specific herbal supplements to boost Milk supply.

Breast milk Ayurveda

Weaning: When to stop Breastfeeding according to Ayurveda?

According to Ayurveda, it is advisable to keep Breastfeeding at least during the first year, however it always depend on the person and its health status. Actually, we should stop breastfeeding when our tissues are not in good health status, and this depends on our lifestyle and Diet. How would I know when my Doshas are vitiated and my tissues do not produce good quality milk? We can have a look at our tongue, first thing in the morning. Tongue is also called a window of the inner system. Ayurveda says, read your tongue and know your health status. Whitish, yellowish or brownish colour may indicate toxins “Ama”.

Also, you are ready to stop Breastfeeding when you feel it, It is up to you and your baby to decide when the time is right.

I feel very thankful for the miracle of breastfeeding my baby and I invite you to experience the spiritual side of breastfeeding and to connect with your baby’s soul. Ayurveda is not only a medicine, but a lifestyle which aims to maintain health. Breastfeeding is the right choice for you and your baby. Feel the sacred bond, experience “the making love feeling” that nourishes your soul and the soul of your baby.

Breast milk Ayurveda

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