Yoga helped mom-of-three Carlee Benear through past struggles with postpartum depression, so she turned to the practice again when she found herself having trouble breastfeeding her newborn daughter.
Benear, 29, started practicing yoga while nursing her 1-month-old daughter Maramaylee soon after she was born, and found that it helped immensely.
“We were struggling, and I think a lot of moms do during those first weeks,” the stay-at-home mom tells PEOPLE of breastfeeding. “I started my practice back up early after pregnancy because I needed it to help me adjust and relax while we were getting in the swing of all things breastfeeding. It helped me take the edge off, so little by little I let her join me on the mat to see if it would help her too – did it ever!!”
“She took to it immediately,” continues Benear. “Holding poses breathe relaxation into my body, and moving flows relax our minds.I have noticed that it lowers her spit ups too. It’s really not any different from moms who sit and feed, moms who have to walk and feed, or moms who bottle feed. You do what works for your baby.”
Benear says Maramaylee is great at nursing while she’s on the ground and Benear is above her in a yoga pose.
“She does amazing lying down on her back and her side while feeding,” Benear says.
The Woodlands, Texas-based mom started sharing photos of her breastfeeding yoga practice on Instagram, and was amazed by the loving response from her followers.
RELATED VIDEO: Nursing or Not? Moms Talk About the Pressure to Breastfeed
“I have been overwhelmed with heartfelt messages of inspiration and struggles,” she says. “So many moms forget that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and that’s where I fear we let postpartum depression get us. We are so busy trying to please everyone else that we forget that the world’s happiness begins at home, with us. We need to take care of ourselves, too, as parents.”
Benear is thrilled with what yoga has done for her family.
“I love seeing what my body and mind are capable of, and seeing my children’s yoga journeys light up their control and confidence.”