Take a moment: 4 easy ways expectant, new moms can incorporate mindfulness into their lives
Posted August 28
Updated August 29
With today's busy and stressful schedules, it can be hard for just about anybody to live in the moment. Couple our on-the-go lifestyles with preparing for a new baby - and then caring for a newborn - it might seem simply impossible.
But Lorraine Rocco, a registered nurse, lactation consultant and educator at Baby + Co. in Cary, says it's important for expecting and new moms - and dads - to take some time out and slow down, even for just a few moments.
Studies show, Rocco said, that women who practice "mindfulness" in pregnancy tend to experience decreased rates of depression and anxiety and increased coping skills once they are a parent. There is an upside for babies too, she said. They have more ability to regulate their states. In other words, they are happier babies.
People around the world have been practicing mindfulness for centuries. What is it?
"Mindfulness is just about paying attention to what you’re experiencing in the present moment without trying to change it," Rocco said. "Just sort of coming into it with an open curiousity."
"How often are we running around, trying to do our to-do list and we’re exhausted?" she said. "Maybe, if we had a little bit of a breather from our thinking mind, we could say, 'I’m pretty tired and I’m not up for this today.' It’s like slowing down enough to really see what it is that you’re experiencing."
Rocco will join us on Go Ask Mom's Facebook page for a Facebook Live interview around 10 a.m., Tuesday, when we'll chat more about mindfulness for expecting and new moms.
Rocco warns that for many of us, who are so busy thinking about what happened yesterday or are planning for tomorrow, mindfulness might not come naturally at first. It takes practice.
"When you’re a new mother, you can’t sit and meditate for 30 minutes. That’s not a reality," Rocco said. "But sometimes you can take some mindful breathes before you wake up in the morning or while you're nursing. "
Here are other ways expecting and new moms can incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives:
While pregnant: If this is your first child, you may have a little more time than a mom who has older children already. You may have the luxury of sitting for five or 10 minutes, using an app such as Headspace or Insight Timer as a guide.
"You can sit and focus on your breaths for that period of time," Rocco said. Slow down and stop thinking about which color to pick for the nursery or whether your birth plan is ready. Be aware of the sensations of the baby moving inside.
While nursing or feeding your baby: Instead of checking your phone or planning your dinner list, be aware of your body and how it's supported by the chair. Thinking about the weight of your baby in your arms and, if you're breastfeeding, the sensations of her nursing or just your breath. Use all of your senses.
"You’re looking at your baby, taking her in," Rocco said. "You take her in with the sounds she is making. The smell of her. So you’re using your five senses as a way in to what's happening now."
In the bathroom: Often, this is the one place where moms can get a little bit - if we're lucky - respite from life. (Unless you have a toddler who understand no boundaries). But, said Rocco, "our mind just brings everybody into the shower." How often have you thought about a work project while in the shower? Or what's for dinner tonight? Or whether there's enough food in the house for school lunches?
While in the shower, instead focus on the smell of the soap and the feel of the water. While brushing your teeth, instead of thinking about the conference call you have, actually feel the toothbrush in your hand. Smell the mint.
"It kind of sounds silly," Rocco said. "But it's life. It's where life is."
Throughout the day: Instead of whipping out your phone at a stop sign or the grocery store line, practice just being attentive to your breaths. Steal little moments throughout the day where you can just breath and appreciate the moment, Rocco recommends.
You can learn more about mindfulness for new and expecting moms during our Facebook Live interview with Rocco at 10 a.m., Tuesday. Baby + Co. also is hosting some special programs.
Breathe: An Introduction to Mindfulness is a monthly two-hour workshop for those new to mindfulness. Baby + Co.'s website has a schedule of all of its upcoming classes. The next workshop is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 13.
Also, the Mindfulness Childbirth and Parenting Series begins Sept. 20 and runs for nine weeks. Expectant parents will practice mindfulness meditation, yoga and mindfulness in daily life. Classes include the physiology of childbirth, ways to use the mind to work with pain during labor, positions for birthing, breastfeeding and parenting a newborn. Preregistration for the series is required. There is a $350 course fee for Baby+Company clients and a $399 course fee for non-Baby+Company clients. Baby + Co.'s Facebook page has more information.
UPDATE: Below is our Facebook Live video >