Crucial Practice: The Mindful Diaper Change

Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the co-director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Becoming a mom led her to do research that shows that mindfulness practices can reduce negative emotions and anxiety during pregnancy. That research birthed her Mindful Motherhood program, directed toward helping women get in the best emotional and mental shape possible for that first critical year of motherhood. Here’s an exercise from her new book, Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year (New Harbinger/Noetic Books).Diaper changes are great because they are a microcosm of your life with baby — sometimes fun, sometimes hilarious; and sometimes they just stink. They are also frequent opportunities to connect and bond with your baby, to look into her eyes, to match your facial expression to hers, to have skin-to-skin contact, and to transmit your capacity to stay grounded in the face of discomfort, teaching her in a very direct way how to begin to deal with her own discomfort wh …

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