Every mom knows that learning to multitask is essential to maintaining sanity, especially while breastfeeding. Though it's sweet to occasionally gaze into your child's eyes while they latch and savor the indescribable connection you have as a mother, other times you just need to scroll on your phone and get some work done while your kid gets fed. And while breastfeeding can be challenging enough on its own, this viral video of a mom breastfeeding while doing a handstand will actually blow your mind.
Carlee Benear, a 30-year-old mother-of-three from The Woodlands, Texas, is the yogi superstar that made it all happen. She originally posted the video of herself doing a handstand with her daughter latched the entire time on Valentine's Day this year, but the video is still making the rounds for impressed onlookers and critics (there's a mom breastfeeding anywhere but alone in her bedroom, what else did you expect?).
The Daily Mail reported that Benear actually struggled with postpartum depression, and turned to a yoga practice to help her get back on her feet (or, ahem, her hands) as well as to make breastfeeding easier. (Benear did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) "Breastfeeding yoga has helped me combat postpartum depression and has made my breastfeeding journey free of any bumps in the road, such as mastitis, worry of lacking in supply, getting over those first few weeks of tenderness, let down control and the stresses of being needed around the clock- to name a few," she shared on Instagram.
Though that particular video has been getting the most attention, Benear regularly updates her Instagram page with videos of herself doing breastfeeding yoga, as well as pictures of her kids, who sometimes even try yoga themselves. She posts inspirational messages to fellow parents about self-care and wellbeing, saying on a recent post:
As parents, we are responsible for the health and well-being of our children. Part of that is supporting their emotional well-being as well, but we can’t do that when we’re tapped out. As the saying goes, 'You can’t pour from an empty cup.' Our children’s well-being is dependent on our ability to care for ourselves and meet our own needs.
Part of that health also includes insulating oneself from the onslaught of criticism that new moms tend to receive. The comments on Benear's video range from supportive and positive (many laude her for her "amazing" skill and parenting techniques) while others are less open-minded ("... It's strange. And I am a mother myself and don't feel the need to show the world," one commenter said).
However, many people are still very ignorant when it comes to normalizing breastfeeding. Celebrities like April Love Geary recently got flak for not covering her whole chest while breastfeeding, and Pink also mentioned how she deals with people who disapprove of her breastfeeding her son: "I’m feeding my kid. Would you rather him scream? Because he’s very capable of that, too," she said on a recent episode of the Ellen show.
Yoga can be an important and empowering part of recovering from birth, as well as making the adjustment into new motherhood. Healthline reported that after giving birth, levels of the hormone relaxin (which loosens joints as well as widens hips and the birth canal) will be higher than normal for at least six months (or more, if breastfeeding) making your joints looser but less stable. This means that while yoga can definitely be important, new moms should always err on the side of caution while reintroducing their bodies to activity that requires so much stretching and movement. There are even specific poses recommended for postpartum moms.
Either way, finding one's way into new motherhood is a totally unique journey. It's cool to see moms like Benear not being afraid to share her own story with the world.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.