After using yoga to beat postpartum depression, one flexible mother has learned how to breastfeed her baby while holding some seriously impressive poses.
Mum-of-three Carlee Benear, 31, now mixes her enviable yoga skills with motherhood - nursing her youngest daughter, even while being upside down.
Carlee first became interested in yoga after suffering with postpartum depression after her first child, so following her second child she turned to yoga to take a step back and connect with herself.
The mum continued practicing yoga daily and did it throughout her entire third pregnancy, finding that it gave her greater connection to her unborn daughter, and it aided her through the morning sickness.
Two years after her daughter’s birth, Carlee, from Texas, US, continues to breastfeed her daughter who frequently latches onto her mother’s breast while she is holding a yoga position.
‘I got into yoga after the birth of my second child because my first battle with postpartum depression was terrible,’ said Carlee.
‘I wanted to connect more with myself as the transition into motherhood can make you feel like you lose yourself, or that you’re turning into a new person with new responsibilities.
‘One of the benefits of doing yoga is the ability to slow down and enjoy life again in such a fast-paced world. We raise our kids with this pace and it’s more damaging than it is helpful to them for the real world.
‘Yoga showed me patience with myself and patience with my family as well as for everyone I interacted with. The practice also helps you see things differently.
‘We are often so fast to react, we forget that this is not a race and we can sit and think before we take action.
‘Yoga was the only way I survived my pregnancy. Even when I didn’t feel like getting on my mat, it always made me feel better and ready to handle the day with a fresh face.
‘It also helped me build confidence in my body and my ability to birth a life, while also helping me stay in tune with my needs for recovery.
‘Pregnancy is such a precious time and you’re never more in tune with your body, so what better time to explore how big the heart is, or how open the body is becoming? Yoga during pregnancy gave me a connection with my daughter that I’d never experienced before.’
Carlee’s first child was born in 2011, her second in 2013, followed by her third child who was born in 2016. Carlee never expected to still be breastfeeding her youngest by the time she was two years old, but she is more than happy to have reached this milestone.
Doing yoga and nursing simultaneously has helped Carlee show how strong mothers are and it’s helped her to enjoy breastfeeding while being in the moment.
‘Holding poses and breathing while nursing helps me connect with my body and be more present,’ Carlee said.
‘Anything can be challenging if you let your mind get in the way. I think that’s one of the things breastfeeding yoga has helped me move past and it’s helped me to believe in myself again.
‘Staying in poses is big in yoga as it helps you be in your body and connect with your body during the ups and downs of breastfeeding.
‘I am always aware of my daughter around me and I adjust my flow to her because she loves to sneak snacks at any time, so I need to be ready for her to pounce.
‘There is good in this because it is yet another reminder to be present.
‘Now, yoga helps me be the mother I always dreamed of being because I can enjoy every moment to the best of my abilities.’
Carlee admits that people have often commented on her Instagram posts of her yoga breastfeeding with good and bad responses, but that doesn’t matter to her because it’s become such an important part of motherhood for her.
‘It really helps show the power of a mother and her ability to do great things for herself and her family at the same time,’ added Carlee.
‘Multitasking is great, but I don’t think it should be used for everything all the time. We do still enjoy sitting down and nursing while gazing into each other’s eyes too.
‘As far as what others say, there are good things and bad things that can be said about everything. What matters is what you think and how you feel because you live your own life, no one else can do that for you.
‘I will carry on nursing for as long as we both enjoy this bonding experience for.
‘My daughter is even trying to master doing yoga and eating now, it’s quite entertaining. We stop, drop and yoga through the tough times in our house. When we do yoga, its a few moments to stop, breathe and believe.
‘I do yoga whenever I struggle as a mother, which is daily. It’s not always picture perfect, recorded or easy, but it is necessary for me to survive and thrive.’
To see more of Carlee’s incredible yoga positions, you can visit her Instagram.