What Breastfeeding Has Done to My Brain

Recently I’ve had to change my diet drastically due to my baby boy’s food allergies (I’m a breastfeeding mom) and these changes have left me…wanting.

In the absence of being able to eat whatever, whenever — I’m beginning to realize that food is not only a means to sate my appetite but it inadvertently quiets other appetites.

I’m no expert and claim no scientific proof but we all know that food is a drug; the source, type and quality all affect our bodies, mind and emotion.

Lately without all the extra fillers (food) in my life I am beginning to perceive the robust edges of deep, deep desires in a way that I have not for some time.

We all have things in our lives that mute our yearnings – things that make grabbing a filler seem like a natural first response.

The truth is, nothing should dampen our deepest desires, for when they are pure and persistent, we can trust they are from our Creator and that is something to feel very good about.

Food, work, serial dating, pornography (whatever your filler of choice), may be stealing your desire and muting the voice of your soul.


2012 – Copyright Seven Sentences – Listening to Your Desires


15 thoughts on “What Breastfeeding Has Done to My Brain

  1. This is a very interesting piece, Athaliah. Not only well-written, but gives me a way to think about a common subject (breast-feeding) in a new way. It’s particularly interesting to me because my experience with breast-feeding was quite different from yours. I did it (or tried to do it) because I knew it was good for my baby, and I had heard that it helped the bonding process, too, but the truth is I hated it. It was physically painful, and I just did not enjoy it at all. It sounds like breast-feeding has both physical and spiritual meaning for you, and I’ve never heard the experience described in quite this way before.

    1.  Hi Kathy, Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Sounds like you were willing to sacrifice yourself for your child’s well being — how absolutely selfless and wonderful. Breastfeeding is quite a journey for me…it requires a lot (as you know) and it ain’t all grand (!!). Dealing with my son’s allergies and its direct affect on me and what I can and can not consume definitely has me thinking and considering in a whole new way. I am realizing more and more how my choices impact more than just myself.

  2. Hi Athaliah….you may wonder what a dog could possibly say or contribute to a wonderful post like this, given that my “extra fillers” are all food related (with the exception of my tennis ball). But in truth when you strip away the human barriers and tendancies, you are not left with nothing as most may assume; you are in fact left with a pure spirit and the voice of your soul that sings louder than any other. This is what it is like for us dogs, not being compounded by insecurities, judgment and criticisms. I believe that your words speak to the very essence of this spirit and I applaude your strength and compassion in allowing some of the layers to be stripped away to reveal what may start as a painful realisation, but will actually catapult you and all those whom you have allowed into your world through your blog, to the place where we all began and will return to again.

    Love Jay xxxxx

    1. “But in truth when you strip away the human barriers and tendencies, you
      are not left with nothing as most may assume; you are in fact left with a
      pure spirit and the voice of your soul that sings louder than any

      Wow… absolutely wonderful Jay.  Thanks so much for this bowl chock full of wisdom — it definitely filled me up!

  3. Athaliah, I’ve been down the road of these “fillers.” Being a recovering alcoholic, I’m all too aware of the damage, the lack of long-term development they cause. The pursuit of the “short-term” fix, whether it’s food, sex, drugs or other knee-jerk satisfactions only deprive us of the long-term development we need to grow.

    Will see these tendencies in the corporate world also. Decisions are based on the next quarterly earnings report and in many companies nothing else. While I don’t necessarily condone the Japanese “way of doing business,” looking centuries down the road … there has to be a happy medium. 

    In the past I’ve often been impatient in my life. The focus was deadlines and To Do lists, rather than creating the best thing I could (within reason, it’s still needs to get out the door).

    Raising a child is a prime example of this, and so is education. Weekly progress according to your timetable may not apply to your child. It’s like the difference between a linear pursuit, and one that develops exponentially. Progress may not show up initially … but then up turns the curve “reaching for the sky,” achieving heights you never envisioned.

    In your words, “fillers,” are these short-term satisfiers – whether they be physical, mental or emotional that takes us away from our real task at hand … the task for us to be the best we can be over the course of our lives, for both ourselves and all those we touch.

    1. Athaliah,

      Even when we know that we are using things as cover ups or coping mechanisms, it’s hard to break the habit. Every morning I sit with my coffee, bible and chocolate (yes, chocolate!). No matter how I try to rationalize my reasoning (it’s great with coffee. That’s why they make mocha lattes) I know that I’m using it and other food to fill something that God wants to fill. He’s been nudging my spirit for awhile, but I don’t think I’ve been listening as well as you!

      1.  Deanna, Gah!  I’m not sure I’ve been listening so well!  I mean, it’s taken such drastic measures for me lately… And less about the timing of “coming to” I remain completely in awe of the process and the discovery and more importantly the “awakening”. Thanks for sharing your struggle in all this. What’s your favorite brand of chocolate?

        1. Ha!  I like any good chocolate, but I especially like Lindt chocolate truffles (and my sons chocolate bunny from a chocolate specialty candy shop!). 

          At least you are acknowledging the struggle, even if you are struggling. When I nursed my son, I ignored it.. I couldn’t and didn’t want to give up ice cream, chocolate and other things. I even bought the Made to Crave study, but put it down halfway read. 

          Ironically,  I’ve dealt with a medical issue the past year and I’m now limited in the food I can eat and how I can eat it. My eating wasn’t the cause of this issue, but I’ve had to pay attention in more ways that I didn’t want to. I do wish that I would have been more receptive before!  :)

    2.  Clay, thanks so much for your honesty. I am reminded how short term fixes often truncate or stunt growth — the right amount of food each day helps us grow, but not enough or the “wrong” foods can lead us to emaciation or obesity, either way, a distortion of who we really are. Thank you for your poignant thoughts.

  4. Thanks so much for this wonderful post! I can identify with you 100%. I remember a great sense of freedom when I broke away from my “fillers” and really started to experience the joys in life!

  5. Our ability to eat normally (our healthy psychological relationship with food) has been distorted by the industrialization of our food supply (added salt, sugar, and chemicals to increase cravings, advertising) and by the $50billion/year diet industry. If we listen to our bodies–move in fun ways when our bodies want to, eat what we want when we are hungry, stop when we are full–we find that sometimes when we thought we needed to eat, we did indeed need something else! Just think how often we use the phrases “empty inside” or “hunger for” to refer to other needs than food! And recent studies indicate that in our busy, pressured culture we are using food to fuel tired bodies–when what we really need is sleep. Which is pretty much all what you’ve discovered. Let’s just be careful we don’t demonize food by calling it a drug, when what it is is a necessary, life-giving, thoroughly enjoyable sustenance. A gift from God if you will, as is our hunger for it.

    1.  Dr. Wood,

      thanks so much for taking the time to share your perspective here. Wonderful thoughts… I totally agree!

  6. I think I have just learned something here! You can’t eat what you want due to your babies allergies? I really didn’t know that was a thing… I knew that eating somethings would upset the baby, when my son was born he would spend all night crying if my ex-wife ate pizza…but now at 15 I can’t get him to stop eating the stuff! 

  7. Athaliah…There are 2 types of people. Those who live to eat and those who eat to live. I’m the first one. BUT I know that eating can also be an addiction if you have little self control. Like any addiction, if you want to feel good about yourself and keep on digging to get to the best of who you are, your voice of wisdom and your soul, you need to replace a negative habit with a positive one. Doing that has a ripple effect in other areas of your life. 

    What you’re saying makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom. I hope your baby is now robust and healthy. :) Fran

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