Why babies make excellent meditation aids

Of late, my meditation practice (such as it was) has, like the rest of me, gone a bit slack.

Every day I plan to factor in a little relaxation, a few stretches – something to soothe and refresh my tired, frayed mind. And then, the day whirls by in haze of toddler negotiations, baby feeding frenzies and a whole heap of nappies, and all of a sudden I’m clocking in for the night shift again.

Recently my attempts at self care and nurture have been more ‘bowl full’ than soulful: focused entirely on consuming enough energy to get through the day. But I could use some mental refuelling too. It’s usually the times when you’re ‘too busy’ for relaxation activities that you most need them.

There’s a well known quote that goes something along the lines of:

‘You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour’.

Twenty minutes? An hour? This person clearly didn’t spend the majority of their day with a small person attached to them, fending off attacks from another small person (the toddler is an advocate of tough love).

Or maybe they did…

It suddenly occurs to me that I have no excuse at all not to meditate. Why, the baby* is possibly the best meditation tool ever invented.

Here’s why:

  • Don’t have the time or space to meditate? A baby will wake you up at opportune moments so you can meditate in the quiet of the night, without fear of being disturbed. Except by the baby.
  • A focal point can help with meditation. Babies are very useful here. If there’s one in the room then most people find their eyes are drawn to it; a bit like the TV, or a really bad wig.
  • Babies like you to sit and hold them for long periods of time. Sitting for long periods of time provides an excellent opportunity for meditation (or a box set…it’s all about balance).
  • You are being productive.  Meditating and baby cuddling: you’re multitasking!
  • But not too productive. Screw the laundry and get comfy. You have more important things to take care of – like re-shaping your brain, reducing anxiety and improving concentration (plus some other great benefits of meditation).
  • Soothe yourself, soothe the baby. The baby will enjoy feeling your calming breath. And so will you.
  • Time’s up! It can be useful to set a timer when meditating, and most models of baby offer this as an inbuilt feature. They will generally find a way to alert you to the end of your meditation time. Often, this will involve bodily fluids.

*If you don’t have a baby to hand then a lethargic, incontinent, insomniac dog would probably work well too.

For older kids, that snuggle time before lights out is another great opportunity for a few calming breaths or a sneaky meditation. Whatever works, and whatever you can squeeze in.

Here’s a quick and easy meditation method I like to use:

  • Tune in to your surrounding environment. Take in any sounds, beginning with those in the distance and moving towards those that are close to you.
  • Scan your body, noticing any areas of tension.
  • Pay attention to your breathing, making your breaths slow and long.
  • Either close your eyes, or focus on one spot and soften your gaze.
  • Acknowledge any thoughts that arise, and let them pass like clouds in the sky or leaves floating along a river.
  • If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. Counting during your inhalations and exhalations can help.
  • You might like to try a mantra, such as, ‘I am the perfect mother for my baby/child’, or ‘breathe in calm, breathe out tension’. Think about what you need to hear that day (or night).

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Read more about Parenting Calm here.

Read more about mindfulness here.

What Katy Said
  • Katy (What Katy Said)
    May 27, 2016

    Haha an insomniac dog – that really made me laugh. Thank you for joining in #HappyDaysLinky x

    • Liz Lowe
      May 29, 2016

      Thanks for having me!

  • Sian QuiteFranklySheSaid
    May 27, 2016

    In all seriousness, mindfulness is something that I need to do more of. I especially like the mantras. Thanks for linking up to #HappyDaysLinky x

    • Liz Lowe
      May 29, 2016

      Thanks Sian!

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