Moms and new moms alike have gone through pregnancy and childbirth and now have this beautiful, hungry, growing baby in front of them. In addition to all of the new changes they are going through with the recovery of pregnemt women body, they are learning how to nurse. Knowing how to nurse where it doesn’t cause pain is like learning a new exercise, and it doesn’t always come to mama naturally.
Nursing is the absolute best thing for mama and baby. Unfortunately, it can also be a real struggle to keep doing when it causes so much pain. Nursing can cause what seems like unending strain on muscles and ligaments if done incorrectly. Mamas regularly come into the clinic to see us for this issue. The most common complaints from nursing moms are headaches, shoulder, neck, and arm pain. We educate them on what exactly is causing that pain and give them working solutions to relieve the pain. Breast feeding for 20-30 minutes a day, every few hours, is a new stress on your body. As mentioned above, this is like learning a new exercise. Proper posture has to be practiced every time baby feeds to avoid straining the muscles and ligaments in your shoulders, arms, and neck.
Ergonomics and Posture while Nursing
Bring baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby. Use pillows and cushions to get baby positioned correctly. This will prevent overuse injuries to your arms and shoulders. Use pillows from your bed to support the nursing pillow so that baby is at the correct height at each feeding. The pillows will provide you with enough support to put baby at the height of your breast. Whether you are sitting or lying down, try to stay in one position or the other. Do not slouch. Slouching for 20 minutes every few hours is going to cause muscles to tighten in your neck, back, and shoulder area. Make sure to relax your muscles while breast feeding. As you apply the techniques above, it will feel more natural to breast feed. With anything you do, you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of baby.
Tools to Improve Your Nursing Experience Nursing Pillow.
This is a special pillow that ensures that your baby is at the right height for your breast, so your shoulders don’t do the work for you. Your back is supported, and your shoulders and neck can relax.
There is nothing like a soft couch in terms of comfort when you are exhausted from taking care of baby. The problem with a lot of couches is that they lack proper lumbar support. No support in the lumbar area could result in upper back and neck strain as you feed. Choose a glider or soft rocking chair where you’re able to maintain an upright position to avoid slumping.
Moms who cannot touch their feet to the floor will need a footstool. If your feet don’t naturally touch the floor when seated back in the chair, you’ll start to lean forward while nursing and you’ll slouch. Mamas that are taller still benefit from the stool as it gives that little bit of extra support needed to relax the lower back. It helps eliminate stress on legs, back, shoulders, and arms.
Mamas that come to the clinic for regular chiropractic adjustments have described it as one of their favorite parts of the week. At Friends and Family Health Centers, Dr. John Palmer can perform chiropractic adjustments and muscle work that is definitely going to relieve your neck and back pain. A gentle upper back and neck adjustment realigns the spine and takes the stress off of the ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Proper motion is restored to your cervical and thoracic spine. Relieving the pain in these areas helps mothers relax, which is a great condition to encourage proper milk flow.