Nursing can be challenging for mamas for a variety of reasons, one of them being shoulder, upper back, and neck pain. We are sharing our favorite practical solutions + red flags to watch for so mamas can feel pain free and confident!
1. Nursing Position
What position are you in while you feed your child? Regardless of breast or bottle, you are most likely sitting with rounded shoulders looking down at your bundle of joy. This position not only effects your shoulders but you may also experience neck and mid back pain. Be mindful of what position you are holding and try different holds to see what best suit you and your babe!
Our holding suggestions:
— The football hold
— Cradle + Cross Cradle
— Side lying [on a wedge ]
2. Use Pillows
Pillows are a great solution for nursing pains. They ease some of mom's work by supporting her and/or the little one. There are so many varieties, but we have a few favorites. Check out the photo below: mama’s head is supported, babe is lying comfortably on her chest. Mama is able to hold baby without compromising the position of her own head and neck. This can help with latch too — a comfortable mom means a comfortable babe!
Our pillow favorites:
— My Brest Friend
3. The Ball
Our favorite tool in the office!! Its uses are endless ~ we use ours most for stretching and sitting. Using the ball to sit during nursing can help encourage better posture to combat back pain. The ball allows movement through the pelvis and requires more core stability. Don’t be afraid to use a pillow or Boppy across your lap to help hold babe!
4. Stretches for Shoulder Pain
Stretch out sore, tight muscles that get overworked during nursing and carrying! These primarily are in the front of the chest and shoulder.
— L-position with a wall/doorway: lift shoulder to 90 degrees and lean your hand against the wall/doorway to stretch the front part of your shoulder/chest. Make sure you keep your shoulder rolled down and back.
— Place a tennis ball or soft toy ball in the corner below and behind your armpit. Then lean into the wall or floor and move into a motion up towards the ceiling - this is a part of your rotator cuff.
— Lay back on an exercise ball and open both arms out. This is opening all of your shoulder muscles, stretching the muscle tissues and creating space.
— Lay on a foam roller, placing yourself over the center so it is between your shoulder blades, and open your arms up!
5. Other Helpful Feeding Tips:
— Have baby's whole body facing you while feeding
— Place baby's nose + chin against breast
— Support baby's head, neck, and back
— Baby should draw both the nipple and areola into their mouth
— PRO TIP :: have your babe suck on your finger first [pictured below], which will reset their palate so they can achieve a better latch.
RED FLAGS: when you should see a professional
— Nursing style :: repetitively pulling away and re-latching
— Jerking torso while nursing
— Crying while latching
— Crying after nursing
— Only nursing at night [ comfortably ]
If you are concerned about how your infant is feeding, our pediatric specialists can be a great first stop. We routinely check for things like tongue and lip ties, which are common oversights. Additionally, baby chiropractic adjustments can help with issues such as colic and reflux!
~ As always don't hesitate to reach out with questions /// thoughts surrounding this topic! ~
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