Four months ago when my baby was born I was all smiles. Little did I know that more pain was yet to come. Trying to meet the feeding demands of the young man left me with long hours of sitting and walking around the house while breastfeeding. I tried to look for all positions to breastfeed but none eased the pain. My lower back, neck, shoulders and wrists were literally killing me. My gynaecologist was reluctant to issue painkillers and advised me to try conservative ways. My physiotherapist managed the pain and gave me lots of education. I share it here.
1. PROPER POSTURE
During breast feeding, pay attention to how you are holding your chest, shoulders and head. The shoulders commonly form a rounded shape towards your baby and your upper body curves downward to get breast to the mouth of the baby.
Bring your baby to your breast and not your breast to your baby.
2. SIT IN ERGONOMIC WAY
Back or arm strain can make a nursing session tortuous. A chair with excellent back support and an armrest is a must. Avoid sitting up in bed to breastfeed unless you have a lumbar support.
3. NURSING PILLOW
A U-shaped nursing pillow is ideal to help reduce strain on the neck during a feeding session.
4. NURSING BRA
Breasts undergo changes during the pregnancy and breastfeeding phases. Your heavier, larger breasts often cause back and neck pain.
Simple stretches to ease pain caused by breastfeeding.
1. PELVIC TILT: Flatten your back against the floor, without pushing down with the legs. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
2. SINGLE KNEE TO CHEST: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly pull your right knee toward your shoulder and hold five to 10 seconds.
3. HAMSTRING STRETCH: Start sitting with legs extended and toes directed toward the ceiling. Slowly lower the trunk forward over the legs, keeping knees extended, arms outstretched over the legs, and eyes focus ahead.
4. CHEST STRETCH: Place one hand on a doorframe, with your upper arm at least 90 degrees to your upper body.
Gently lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch across your chest. Hold for up to 20 seconds.
5. NECK STRETCH: While feeding/holding baby, tilt your head to one side, lengthening between your neck and shoulder. Do this for both left and right sides.
The writer is Physical Therapist, Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Health Centre.