Tag Archives: Breastfeeding

Beebi ja emme jooga tunnid 2013 sügisel

 “By construction, the fulfillment of a woman is motherhood; and motherhood does not mean that she gets pregnant and delivers a baby. If you understand her total behavior, you will understand her motherhood. Her motherhood is service, her motherhood is sacrifice, her motherhood is relationship. When she knows motherhood, she is fulfilled.” – Yogi Bhajan

Värskele emadele on võimalik tulla koos oma lapsega joogatamas. Sellel sügisel alustame 14. november, kokku 5 tundi, neljapäeviti kl 10-11.
See on väga ülendav kogemus lapsele ning emadele suurepärane võimalus oma kodune rutiinist välja tulla ja olla teiste emade seas, kellel on samad küsimused ja mured kui sinulgi ning tuleme üheskoos et omavahel toetada ning tõsta oma vibratsioonid et meil oleks beebidele ja perele jaksu.

Rohkem infot Beebi ja emme jooga tundide kohta SIIT
 
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Those first three years…

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Being a mother is one of the greatest gifts I have ever come to experience. Life has a “before”, and an “after”, never ever will life be the same than after giving birth.

Building a strong foundation for my child is the most important thing in my life the first three years of his life (and beyond of course). Learning to listen to his cues, and being there for him to feel safe 24/7 is just one of the greatest sacrifices and blessings as a mother (my husband would also agree). It does mean that many opportunities in the professional life, in the ‘fun’ life, in the holiday life have to either be dropped or wait. I am very proud to say that I’m there for my child any time he needs me. This strong relationship and building of foundation starts with a strong and loving breastfeeding relationship. I can see already the wonderful results of breastfeeding my 2.2 yr old. Also, I know that the sacrifice I made of staying at home with him (and still for one more year at least) has helped me set the priorities in my life, and reassures me that I have indeed given 200% of me to him. I won’t regret any decision I made now, because I have had the opportunity to enjoy him to the max.
There are some mothers whose intuition points the same way. Yet leaving a job is not easy. Money wise and etc. so many fears, habits, comforts to confront. Yet I would say- trust your intuition and drop those fears. Money will come, and if you need to drop some other things, like belongings and such, it’s a big big energetic cleansing. After all, if you see the big picture, what are all those houses going to serve you after you leave this world? It’s the values, the goodness, the service you bring to others that will leave a living legacy of you. We spend so much time of our lives working our energies off to get the property so we are prisoners in our own homes full of loans. We miss the opportunity to spend those precious moments with our loved ones for a set of unbalanced priorities. Yes, having a roof and a place of your own is important, but never as important as to miss those moments with your children. Those first three years. It’s gold! It’s the most beautiful, pure diamonds, because those smiles, those jumps, those laughs, and those healing kisses will become their consciousness. That will stay forever with them. The house can be burnt or sold, but those healing kisses will resonate even then. When your time comes, you will depart in complete contentment and peace.

So yes, not all experiences in life will be beautiful. Most will be challenging. But when you build up your strength of heart, and your soul-intuition (intuition is very different than the voice of your ego-mind), you will live in the moment without judgement, in constant forgiveness and compassion, so that every challenge and accident will become the greatest learning and healing. And by the way, breastfeeding is one of the biggest healing opportunities we have as mothers- it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to heal the destiny of our children, specially if they had a traumatic birth, and also to build that strong connection with their own infinite.

To finish this post, I want to share with you Yogi Bhajan’s Five Forgivenesses:

– forgive God that he separated you from himself and created you as a creature
– forgive your destiny that it is as it is
– forgive the distance and the environment which are always challenging and the cause and effect which are happening
– forgive your capacity, your ability, your duality and your divinity
– forgive yourself that you have to go through it. That is most important.

Being very (selflessly) selfish

Sometimes I feel that extended breastfeeding, (by now we are 1.5 years and going strong) or even breastfeeding on demand, is a very selfish act. I get to have theo in my arms very often, it gives me a break, a pause in the day when I need to sit and just be (at the beginning this was really hard, sitting for so many hours), I don’t need to worry so much about that he eats so much, I don’t have to prepare any bottles, I get to be cuddled and caressed (he pulls at my hair all the time while breastfeeding), and and I get to reconnect. Those lovely eyes when he looks at me are killing. And the oxytocin of course! The rush in love hormones is priceless!
Well that compensates for the sleepless nights breastfeeding on and on (still waking many times to feed at night-I keep there as well an attitude of no hope). No sleep training in this house allowed, I want to be selfish, very selfish and feed him the breast, when he feels bad, sick, tired, hungry, overexcited, lost, happy and sleepy. All those times. I am very very selfish.
Part of this selfishness is not my fault. It was because my firstborn died and my cells have evperienced loss. They have come to know that what is one day, may not be the next. It is a cellular memory, I can’t do anything about it. So I’m selfish. and give the breast as if it was the last day I have.
Before we start judging we must accept that for every person, every situation, every relation, there is a destiny. And let’s accept that destiny without comparing. Tomorrow may be a whole different story.
So
Let’s be all very selflessly selfish.

What breastfeeding does to mothers

Many times I have left unwritten blog entries since I tend to think they must be completely perfect and clear in order to be posted. Numerologically I have 9s and 10s, which lead this tendency to be over perfectionist, aim high (sometimes too high) and want to see the whole picture. Well, today I decide to just write some thoughts in their raw form, and quickly after join Theo in his nap…

Breastfeeding. Been doing it on demand for over a year. Love it and hate it, 99% of the times love it, and sometimes I feel trapped. It’s all ok.

I remember the very first moment Theo took my breast was like a moment of ecstasy. I expressed colostrum the first day at the hospital since he was too weak to breastfeed (longer story) and when I did take him to the breast, it was absolutely ecstatic, I could feel my pituitary having a feast, all blood and nerves joining the party.

After all this time, the party feeling is not so present always, but the implications breastfeeding has on the mothers psyche are still there (note that not all are only at the moment baby -or toddler- is at the breast, some are just 24/7!)

– pituitary releases oxytocin, the hormone of love, which makes you feel calm, happy (and sleepy!)
– you are constantly in a dream-like state, not really fully out there or outgoing, which can irritate others or productivity at work or rational matters (just ask my husband…)
– your sadhana (spiritual discipline) is there with your child, all those hours he is at the breast, instead of trying to escape (by visiting Facebook, for the 10th time…) you can focus on being, then and there, just being, not doing (ironically, I’m writing this on my phone while theo falls asleep at the breast 🙂
– all previous practice you have done, chanting mantras, etc, comes useful at the time of breastfeeding. I don’t know what it would be of me if I didn’t know japji, sopurkh, poota mata, kirtan soheela by heart… I do them while my other sadhana (the taking a shower, making breakfast, cleaning, cleaning, and tidying up the house again and again).. Any mantra that comes to mind is useful.
– being emotional.. Comes with the package. And we must remember that breastfeeding releases the lactocin (did I remember correctly?) which is the hormone of empathy. So besides being overly sensitive to the environment (ladies- no war movies or bloody stories!) your sense of empathy is much higher… So you will feel for the other in a very personal and deep way.
– be patient with others. Not everybody has such a sweet cocktail sunning in their circulation (thanks to Teet for reminding me of this one… Often…)
– if you feel you need to crack down and cry, let go and find a strong shoulder (again husband comes in handy. Or good girlfriend, or your sister or mother if they are on te same continent…)
– breathe and eat as healthy as possible. The breath can actually save you if you have a diet like mine, no time to prepare fancy things… If you breathe and expand your lungs enough (try 1-minute breath, inhale during 20 sec, hold 20 sec, exhale during 20 sec) you will have the prana needed to keep up with your baby or toddler. As for the food, I found the solution to include as many superfoods as I can to my diet (and lots of vitamins, eg B group for the nervous system, D for the bones, and include something for the immune system such as grapeseed extract!)
– keep up! If you feel like you are alone and no one supports you (everyone wants things from you but nobody recharges you), find a fountain of blessings which will always recharge you, a touchstone which you can bow to and give away all your worries, an altar in which to deposit everything and let god and guru take care of it.

Now, I join Theo in the land of dreams… If he doesn’t wake up when I cocoon around him 🙂

Love and blessings!
Sukhdev k

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(yes, he prefers the strawberry flavor of my left breast..)

When you surrender

Becoming a mother is an act of surrendering. During the first months of the pregnancy, the psyche experiences a partition, an energetic and pranic division when the “I” no longer exists as it has been before, and it gives into the “you” or “we”. When the mother focuses her consciousness and can lovingly and humbly give her prayer to the child, that partition becomes a “thou”. During birth, the first and most physical separation between mother and child begins, leading into the second division of spiritual bodies and marks a path into the consciousness of the woman and child. If the mother is meditating, conscious and they experience a loving birthing process, the sacrifice of giving up the “I” into the “Thou” is smooth and conscious. The bond is created and reinforced by closeness, complete peace and a calm and elevating, loving environment (supported by father and other loved ones) in which mother and baby can totally be skin to skin, with the mother’s milk being the new physical link between mother and child, uninterrupted and without scheduling.

The Bear Mother by Bill Raid

The first months of life are laying the fundament for a lifetime. They shall not pass lightly. Specially for first time mothers, the act of surrendering becomes strong during this time. Lack of sleep, complete dedication into the child’s needs, giving up the ego-self and the life she had before are a big challenge which needs to be faced in a conscious and loving embrace.

In the contemporary society, the act of surrendering has got a negative connotation, usually related to history where we were imposed a sacrifice by a regime, a ruling party or religious authority. True sacrifice and surrendering comes from the wish of the soul to merge with the divine, and is an act of love and compassion.

There are many ways of describing this state of surrendering: Sacrificing the ego for the light in the soul, surrendering to the higher self, obeying the truth in all, trusting one’s destiny, humbly accepting and agreeing to what the universe brings us, and seeing them all as gifts in our spiritual growth. 

Guru Nanak wrote a very beautiful description of this surrendering in four paurees or stanzas of the JapJi Sahib (12-15):

Your state of consciousness cannot be described when you surrender and agree with your path and destiny. Anyone who tries to describe this will be sorry he tried.
There is no paper, no pen, no writer who can sit and reflect on this.
Such is the Naam, it makes you pure.
If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (12)

When you surrender, you gain the power to listen and intuition comes.
When you surrender, you gain all the wisdom of the universes and realms.
When you surrender, you will not be slapped on the face and you will be respected.
When you surrender, you will not die into this world.
Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (13)

When you surrender, no obstacles will come your way.
When you surrender, you will go home with honor and radiance.
When you surrender, you will not wander in worldly paths.
When you surrender, you embrace the Dharma.
Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (14)

When you surrender, you find the door to liberation (your 10th gate opens)
When you surrender, your family is liberated and goes across with you.
When you surrender, you cross over the world ocean taking the Guru’s Sikhs with you.
Oh Nanak! When you surrender, you do not wander as a beggar. 
Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (15) 

My experience during the first six months of Theo’s life in this earth was the most intense surrendering. It was an act of love, and a conscious decision to surrender and become his guide. It was not an easy task, specially to let go of what I was, what I am and what I will be, as an individual, as a professional and as a teacher, in order to gain a new level of experience in the consciousness towards the divine. Sometimes, when I thought that this job as a mother was “useless”, e.g. holding sleeping Theo in my arms (for endless hours!) when I could be doing something more “useful”, I brought myself back into consciousness and inner focus, to let go of these thoughts (let them be) and find the bliss in obeying my destiny and lesson in the moment. On this last pauree (15) of surrendering, Guru Nanak gives the key to it all: you are liberated, not in your fantasy of escaping the reality, but it is a full liberation of your soul.

If motherhood (and babyhood) seems sometimes as a prison, that condition is a gift, since it is challenging the ego, which always wants to run away, to do and do and do, and escape the present moment. It is a gift given to connect with the soul and the real meaning of life. Nanak gave us the path of the householder, and it is while being a householder, a housewife, a mother, whatever you want to call it, that we can be liberated from our attachments to this worldly illusions and be deathless in our soul, touch others with this light of consciousness and radiate.

In deep love and gratitude of the divine,

Sukhdev Kaur

Your child wants you to be present

Sat nam dear family,
I have been lately so concerned on getting Theo to sleep well, trying to analyse different methods for baby sleep (cry it out, no-cry sleep solution, all kinds of advice..) without really feeling that any of these is the one that works for us (didnt even feel like trying out any). It has been really hard to get him to sleep lately, taking over an hour and he’s whining, eventually crying…
Today I found the key. 
He is sound asleep after 20 minutes of pure pleasure.
What I did?
I breathed differently, and it all changed. I didnt feel anymore like I wanted to escape from there, I was present with Theo and enjoyed putting him to sleep, and I was there voluntarily instead of feeling like dragged in to do it. And I felt intuitive and creative enough to make up a new fun sleep routine which we both enjoyed.  
This new routine was: go to bed, dim the lights, sing our lullaby (while continuing with the rest until he sleeps) change diapers, massage with lavender oil, put pijamas on, (allow him to be and move while doing all this, all this time I was consciously expanding and coming down into my grounds mentally and physically), breastfeed, after a while he didnt want to breastfeed anymore, sat up and played a little bit (and I allowed it calmly which was something I didnt do before, and it was great – he actually always sees and tries to reach the water bottle so I decided we “put the bottle to sleep” together), then I laid him on the bed and pat him from head down to his toes while singing for a good 3 minutes (not just 5 times… to let his energy down, and I saw him start to calm down), and breastfeed again, this time after a bit of kicking and moving around he settled down calmly and sound asleep after a few minutes.
It was all a combination of what I did physically and mostly what I did energetically. I changed my feeling of “wanting to be somewhere else” (having 10s other things to do waiting for me: emails, work, dinner…) into choosing to be in the moment with him and enjoy it. That was it. That was the golden key which I had been looking for! 
Your baby wants you to be present. All babies need physical contact and all are fighting to get it, thats why they wake up at night, want to be carried and held, play with you, sleep close to you. Since our minds are somewhere else, we are not fully present with our children they get our presence only partially, and they keep yearning for more. The moment you start giving (constantly) full presence, the less your baby will be needy for you and the less you will feel dragged into the parenthood and everyday duties. When we give only partial presence to our babies (and also to husband, even to ourselves!) they become needy, whiny and grumpy. We are actually teaching them that in life, you can only give partial attention and presence to others, so they start acting the same way. The challenge lies in accepting and living the full presence of oneself, which at the beginning can be scary (am I really that great and divine? can I really just be and not do-do-do all the time?), and as we start expanding that awareness more and more into every day, into each breath, the simpler all gets.
As easy as a baby sleeping (parents will recognise the paradox in this)
The breath that helped me was to inhale while expanding into myself (if visualizing my lungs and chest grow sideways, not vertically), and exhaling coming back inside (like a reverse fountain, downwards and into my core/ground, not exhaling my soul out and up away from my body). Hard the first few times, but I started to enjoy it more and more and Im sure this is something that will stick to me for the rest of my life.

The hardest practice is not to run away. Can you BE while doing all the things you do? Can you dedicate your life to being present, regardless of where, what or how you are? 
Such is my prayer that you and I live in constant applied awareness
In humble service,
Sukhdev K

The things I learnt from my 40 days after birth

– Accepting that my child came to this world to learn something (even though I don’t know what it is) and that he has his own karma (which is partly also my karma). All that happens during birth and the first fourty days after birth (eg unexpected changes in plans, complications) is part of that higher plan in which we all fit in, although we don’t always see it.

– The only thing that never changes is that everything changes. Although it may seem that the sleepless nights will never end, they actually will end, sooner or later.

– It is unbelievable how flexible the human body, mind and heart can be. Allow yourself the flexibility to become a mother. I never would have imagined before that I could sleep in such strange and seemingly uncomfortable positions such as the ones I sleep in when Theo wants to sleep on top of me. And I did manage to sleep in such positions. Get someone to do a massage to recover from such events.

– Accept help from loved ones. I would not have managed to come out happily and easily out from the exhaustion of birth and postpartum without the great help from my parents. If it is cooking you a nice meal, rocking the baby while you take a nap, or even changing a diaper, bringing some food from the shop. From my mother I got great emotional and spiritual help and support with all kinds of new-mother’s questions.

– Trust your intuition. At first I thought that intuition would just be there or come instantly on the first cry of the baby, but I realised that it is something that builds up, that you learn together with your baby. It comes with listening to his needs, to your heart and to experiences. With each day I learnt something new and listening to what my baby wanted in an ethereal way. Trust that intuition, if you feel that this is what your baby is telling you he needs, then go for it. All others might say other things but YOU are the mother and your link with your child is infinite, beyond this world, indescribable. You don’t need to explain why and how you feel this is what your baby needs, just trust that feeling.

– Give yourself a moment each day, to be with yourself and meditate, stretch, breathe or at least enjoy a warm shower (for this you need the support of your husband or a loved one who takes care of the baby)

– Patience, patience, patience. And more patience. In the learning of anything new, you need to be attentive and listen, and have patience with your baby, with your partner, with yourself. Having a baby is a whole new yoga – union – and as any new yogas, you start from scratch and you need to build up on experience. Keep in mind always that union and that connection with the infinite which is beyond this world. In those long sleepless nights of the beginning, when there was no more hope to get sleep and patience was scarce, I thought  to myself (and to my baby) something like this “patience is nothing that I can run out of, since I have no patience, patience has me and it is endless”. For this, a great support was the affirmation by Yogi Bhajan “patience pays”. (words and affirmation here)

– See the big picture. This is a hard one. As a new mother, your baby draws you into a very small picture, which is only the space between you and him (usually, and ideally, only a few centimeters or not even that if you are often skin-to-skin). When it gets hard, like when your child is crying inconsolably at night because of colic, and you feel you cannot do anything (you have probably already tried everything), just open your heart, thank your child for crying and communicating (and thank god for giving your child lungs and the strength to cry), and open the space to uphold your child and his cry within your heart. It will soon be over (and if its not then there might be something more than just colic so check that) and your child will be off stress and sleeping soundly. Sometimes crying is needed (although every time Theo cries my heart shrinks to the size of a raisin). Seeing the big picture also implies understanding with the mind that these times will pass, so you might as well enjoy it. And it also means that there is a reason for everything – even your not understanding why he is crying or why he is not sleeping or eating as usual. Your baby is a human like you and me – somedays you are more hungry than others, some days in a bad mood. Just keep an open heart to accepting everything and not expecting anything in advance. Your child knows what he needs – trust that beyond anything others might say.

– Enjoy every moment. Everyone has heard stories of mothers who stay staring at their babies all the time, and accordingly melt to that vision. Allow yourself to fall in love with your child again and again. It is nature’s way of making sure everything is taken care of for our little ones, and to remind us that there are greater things in this world than we can ever think of with our functional brain.

– Allow yourself to shut down from the outside world. Even reading an email in the first days after birth was hard. No brain, no thinking was easy. Let someone else take care of the rational things, give yourself the time to be only with your baby and mind only baby business. 40 days in your life without having to worry about other things is such a short time after all.

– Learn from each other. Your child communicates with you every moment. Allow him the opportunity to communicate with you, and listen attentively. Listen to his changing needs, every day you can discover something new, in this amazingly quickly growing moment of his life. This is the time when he will change the most, grow the most and he needs the most support from you. Be with him, carry him as much as possible, protect and provide all he needs. Give him the security and strength you want him to have all his life, if you do this now he will have it forever. He will be self-confident, and I see that already after the 40 days, my baby who before wanted to be in my arms all the time, now he needs and demands his space and solitude for some times of the day. He can rest from his mother for a while, and he needs that space, already now.

– Relax. Every new mother wants to do everything perfectly. You are the perfect mother already, you don’t need to become it. I got into a lot of stress trying to do everything “right”, and after some hard lessons I realised that everything I do will be right for my child when I do it consciously. I cannot protect him from everything in this life, I can only do my best, and let God do the rest. If there are flaws in your partner, in your home, in yourself and in your day, it is fine. Just trust the infinite and relax. If a mother is stressed, the whole family and home is in stress. If you are happy, relaxed and centered in yourself, the home will be like that. Treat yourself and others kindly.

– Don’t think too much. It can damage your relationship with your partner, put you under lots of stress. Better just focus on your intuition and shut down your brain. In its due time, your brain can be re-awakened. Just focus on loving and providing all for your child, and love all, be compassionate to all (including yourself).

 

Breathing for breastfeeding mamas

When I was separated from my newborn at the hospital during the first days of his life, I had to develop patience, trust, understanding, compassion, and express the colostrum so I could feed him those precious drops that come from the breast before the milk comes in.
In those moments of anxiety, when I spent minutes expressing to get one single drop, I practiced the following breath, which is actually in itself a very powerful meditation:
Inhale through the nose constantly during 20 seconds, hold the breath in comfortably for 20 seconds, and exhale through the nose slowly during 20 seconds. Do it as long as needed, for best results practice at least for 11 minutes. If to start with it feels too much, you can start with 10 seconds inhaling, 10 seconds holding and 10 seconds exhaling, and increase slowly until you breathe the 20 seconds on each part. This meditation was given by Yogi Bhajan and is called the one-minute breath. It builds up one’s patience, increases the lung capacity, clears the mind, connects to your heart centre and grounds you in your body. It can be practiced my anyone anywhere.

The second meditation I have been practicing is a meditation on the heart, given to me by Shiv Charan Singh to keep up through the sleepless nights and challenges of the 40 days after birth. It is a meditation which like the first one can be practiced while breastfeeding, and your baby, through your milk and your energetic connection, will also benefit greatly from it’s effects.
Inhaling through the nose in four equal and smooth parts, thinking each time sat, sat, sat, sat; and exhaling also through the nose thinking naam in one long and smooth stroke. While exhaling, you visualise yourself descending from your head to your heart, into your cup of prayer. This meditation builds up one’s capacity to trust the infinite, rely on the universal truth (sat) which lies inside of you in your heart, and also helps you build your intuition to listen to and trust your child. It’s a great practice to remain still and steady through all the challenges of life, and in the 40 days after birth it helps enormously with the patience of keeping up with your child and the unconditional love beyond all hard times (like the wakings during the night every hour and the crying spells, colic and nursing strikes).

Waha guru ji ka Khalsa, wahe guru ji ki fateh