How your perception of your own body may be contributing.
Does breastfeeding make you feel a bit anxious? Your perception of your own body may be contributing.
Because oxytocin (the “love hormone”) is so crucial in breastfeeding, the way you think about your body, your breasts, and breastfeeding will impact your journey for better or worse.
I felt anxious when I started breastfeeding, especially in public. Part of this is a natural tendency I have for privacy - and I’ll always honor that tendency by using covers and finding quiet, secluded spaces when I can. But at the same time I realized I was actually having a hard time viewing my breasts as beautiful and nurturing.
When I understood the ways I needed to correct this perception of my body, my mentality shifted and breastfeeding became easier and happier for me - even in public!
If you feel embarrassed or overwhelmed, here are some practical ways to shift your perception:
Think about your past. Have there been moments when you’ve heard negativity about breasts or breastfeeding, either directed toward you or someone else? Process those memories and feelings, and ask the Holy Spirit to correct any lies you’re believing.
Get comfortable. Become okay with looking at and touching your own breasts. They are gifts, and a part of your body which has been fearfully and wonderfully made. They are not silly or gross.
Ask your husband to speak lovingly about your body. While he may always be seeing and thinking positively about you, he may not realize you need to hear his thoughts spoken out loud.
Stretch yourself a little. If public breastfeeding makes you anxious, try to practice just a little bit past your discomfort. Go somewhere with a supportive friend who will encourage you.
Remember, your baby loves your breasts! They are a beautifully comforting expression of Mama. Their function is as natural and nurturing as your arms holding, your lips kissing, and your voice humming.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14