Not only because we’ve tried it, but because we have seen first-hand the impact that taking care of a mother’s mental health can have on her well-being — and babies, too. With a mountain of evidence that continues to grow, meditation is proven to come with a multitude of benefits. Regular meditation has been shown to lower cortisol, increase melatonin, and boost dopamine, ultimately leading to less stress, less anxiety, better sleep, and more.
In a study published in the American Journal of Perinatology, researchers confirmed that a meditation and mindfulness practice with the Expectful app may be an effective tool for reducing symptoms of postpartum depression and increasing milk volume.
This is incredibly meaningful to us as advocates of high-quality, accessible maternal care beyond pregnancy and birth.
The Expectful App Can Increase Milk Volume: A Little Background
While breastfeeding and pumping are a primarily physical experience, you’re probably aware that there is also an emotional element behind it. When you are stressed, scared, or anxious, rising levels of certain hormones may dramatically reduce your milk supply.
Considering that you are adjusting to a hundred new things (sleep schedules, feedings, diaper changes, etc.) and trying to take care of your own healing body, it’s no wonder moms and moms-to-be report feelings of stress. In fact, estimates show that 15% to 21% of pregnant and postpartum women experience PMADs.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders—PMADs—are common, but treatable through various approaches, yet most women will not seek treatment for fear of stigma or negative perception.
Expectful wants to end the stigma. We’re firm believers that no mother should have to sit back in silence and that suffering isn’t a right of passage. That’s why our mission remains the same as when we started: to end the burden of stress mothers have faced alone for decades, help them cope and manage, and to empower them with tools to feel better, healthier, and happier.
And now, we have research that directly points to Expectful as a proven resource to help alleviate postpartum depression symptoms and help reach breastfeeding goals.
The Study on Meditation for Mothers Pumping Breastmilk
It Begins With the Why?
Whether breastfeeding, pumping, or a combination of both, establishing a supply can be difficult for many — even mothers who have breastfed with a previous child may struggle on the next go around. But one set of mothers who face an even more unique challenge when it comes to breastfeeding and pumping, are mothers of preterm babies.
As many NICU moms are sometimes unable to immediately breastfeed, we wondered, can mothers of preterm babies build up a supply while baby is in the NICU? The short answer: yes.
The study reads,
This was a randomized control trial examining the effect of meditation on the breastmilk supply of women delivering preterm infants. The primary outcome was mean breastmilk volume on the infant’s ninth day of life. Secondary outcomes included use of lactation-promoting behaviors, continuation of breastfeeding, and measures of mental health and breastfeeding self-efficacy by validated questionnaires. In addition to the intention to treat analysis, a per protocol analysis examined the association of frequent meditation with these breastfeeding and mental health outcomes.
The study followed sixty women over the course of nine days. One group engaged in daily use of a mindfulness-focused meditation app in addition to routine lactation support. The researchers chose the Expectful app as their pillar of support, representing mindfulness apps and what they are positioned to offer users.
Breastmilk production was similar in mothers practicing meditation compared to those receiving routine lactation support. For women engaging in frequent mediation, there may be an effect in establishing breastmilk supply and reduction of depression symptoms.
More specifically, moms who meditated while pumping:
- Increased milk production by 223ml (7.5oz) per day – that adds up to 2-3 more bottles/feedings of pumped breastmilk for a newborn!
- Had more frequent + consistent pumping.
- Increased skin-to-skin bonding 100%.
- Saw a reduction in symptoms of postpartum depression.
Expectful is a Proven Way to Increase Milk Volume
At Expectful, mindfulness is at the core of what we do. That’s why everything we do is developed in partnership with perinatal experts and backed by research — proven to reduce stress and risk of depression, while supporting better outcomes for your baby.
We want to thank the researchers for trusting our app to be the standard in this study and for bringing this tool to light for so many women who could benefit. For the full study, click here.
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