August 1st to 7th is United Nations World Breast Feeding Week. This year’s theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our wellbeing from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.
At Total Balance we have always been strong advocates for breastfeeding, wherever possible. The health benefits to baby and Mum are well demonstrated, however as many Mums discover, breast feeding is not always easy. In fact it can be extremely challenging, especially early on, and for some Mums not possible at all.
However you choose to feed, looking after your body and posture during this time is incredibly important. We see many new Mums presenting in the first few weeks after baby’s arrival who have developed all kinds of back, neck and shoulder pains from the combination of awkward sitting posture while feeding, lifting and carrying baby and plain, old fashion tiredness from feeding all times of day and night.
Here are a few simple tips that we found can help relieve the strain and prevent you from developing the dreaded “breast feeding back”!
Be aware of your posture
Normally, the ideal sitting posture would have your seat arranged so the back of your seat is higher than the front, thus tilting the pelvis forward. This creates a better curve in the lower back, which in turn supports the ribcage better and helps keep the shoulders from rounding and pulling your head forward. However, when cradling your baby while feeding this posture becomes more difficult to maintain. Here you can use strategically placed pillows and cushions under your bottom and behind your back and shoulders, to help support your body in the most upright yet comfortable posture possible.
Try lying down
Many Mum’s find that lying on your side is the most comfortable position to feed, and also gives a great chance for a nice snuggle with baby. Just make sure you have a pillow that is high enough to support your head in a relaxed position to prevent your neck tilting or twisting too far to one side.
Some well-directed stretches can help to reduce the effects of any slumps you might find yourself stuck in. Stand with arms above your head, reaching up as high as you can to stretch the upper back and shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to release tension from mid back muscles. Try lying down over an exercise ball and allowing your mid back to gently stretch into extension. Assess your posture before and after to make sure you feel more upright with less effort after the stretches. If not, move on to the next step…
See your chiropractor
Most Mums find they get great relief from the Breast Feeding Back with a few gentle chiropractic adjustments. As well as this, it gives your chiropractor a chance to demonstrate some of the methods you can use to avoid getting in to a slump in the first place!
All Mums deserve support, regardless of how they’re feeding. At Total Balance we’re dedicated to helping Mums move better and feel better, so you can enjoy more precious time with your baby!