Breastfeeding Body Mechanics
There are a lot of new feelings and emotions that come with a new baby. There will also be a lot of new aches, pains and sensations you didn’t have before while performing everyday tasks. For example, you’ll feed your new baby an average of 8-12 times every day. That’s a lot of new strain on your neck and back. Luckily, there are some positioning options during feeding that will help prevent or minimize neck and back pain.
Best Position for Breastfeeding in Bed
The first option is for when you’re breastfeeding lying down. We recommend this one only if you know that you are awake and going to stay awake. Basically, you don’t want to fall asleep in the bed with the baby.
- Lie down on your side, pillow under the head.
- You can add another pillow between the knees.
- Allow the baby to nurse the lower breast, while your head, neck and legs are all supported.
At Smart Body Physical Therapy, we get lots of people who come in who have straining of the neck or low back whenever they’re nursing their baby.
Best Position for Breastfeeding in a Chair
The second option is for when you’re sitting in a chair.
- Find a chair with a back rest. You want to have the baby supported so that the baby is lifted up to your breast, rather than you leaning down to the baby.
- If you’re nursing full-time, you’re out and about, you won’t have access to the wonderful horseshoe-shaped pillows that support the baby. Instead, take something with you – a blanket, or sweater, or anything that you can fold. Put it on your lap, under your breast so that you can support the weight of the baby on it.
- Continue to support your baby’s head and guide them to nurse.
One thing you want to avoid is to actually physically hold the entirety of their weight while you are nursing. A lot of women get sore from holding this cradled style with the forearm. The continued flexing of the forearm can get really sore, even through to the bicep.
While these are just guidelines to the best form to nurse your baby, we always encourage you to consult with our physical therapy experts at Smart Body Physical Therapy to ensure you are nursing your baby in a way that doesn’t cause additional pain or stress to your body.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or think you could benefit from a consultation with one of our post-pregnancy body experts.
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