Here are some tips on how to prevent and manage the inevitable back and neck tightness that comes from breastfeeding and nursing a newborn.
Practise good posture
Good posture is important for preventing breastfeeding back pain. When nursing, try to sit upright and avoid slouching. Use pillows or a nursing pillow to support your baby, so you don’t have to hunch over to breastfeed. Try to change positions regularly and spend some time learning how to feed laying on your side.
If you’re using a breastfeeding pillow, make sure it’s at the right height to avoid straining your neck and shoulders. Additionally, consider investing in a comfortable and supportive chair
Incorporate yoga into your routine
Postnatal Yoga can help improve posture and reduce tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Consider incorporating yoga poses that target the upper back and shoulders. Yoga can also help improve relaxation and reduce stress, which can be beneficial for breastfeeding mothers.
Use trigger balls for myofascial release
Myofascial release is a technique that involves applying pressure to the muscles and connective tissues to release tension and improve range of motion. Trigger balls or even a tennis ball can be used for myofascial release at home.
To use trigger balls for breastfeeding back pain, place the ball behind shoulder blades and up against a wall. Slowly roll the ball up and down the upper back and shoulders, focusing on any areas of tension.
Take breaks and switch sides
Breastfeeding can be a physically demanding activity, so it’s important to take breaks and switch sides frequently. Alternate which breast you start with at each feeding, and try to take a break every 20-30 minutes to stretch and move around.
During breaks, you can practise some simple stretches, such as shoulder rolls or arm circles, to release tension in the upper body.
Seek support from a lactation consultant or Women’s Health Physiotherapist
If you’re experiencing persistent breastfeeding back pain, consider seeking support from a lactation consultant or physiotherapist . A lactation consultant can provide guidance on proper breastfeeding technique and suggest ways to improve posture and reduce tension in the upper body.
They can also assess any underlying issues, such as tongue-tie or latch problems, that may be contributing to your discomfort. If you have underlying tightness or weakness through your upper back consulting with a physiotherapist for a tailored program of yoga and pilates can be helpful!