Have you ever been told that if breastfeeding is painful then you’re not doing it right?
Well, we definitely can’t promise it will be pain free, but with the help of your physio at least the pain won’t be coming from your neck, back and shoulders.
The changing shape and posture of a woman’s body during pregnancy and breastfeeding can contribute to muscle imbalances where some muscles become tight, and others weak. This can commonly result in neck pain, headaches, back pain, shoulder problems and even wrist injuries.
Whether feeding a baby via breast or bottle, new parents will spend a lot of time sitting holding their new baby.
You can make this more comfortable for yourself by:
- Using a supportive chair rather than feeding sitting up in bed.
- Placing a small step (or books) under your feet.
- Using a pillow or two, or even a specific breastfeeding pillow, under the baby to raise them to the right height.
- Looking up frequently to avoid holding your neck in a flexed position for longer than necessary.
- Regularly performing upper back stretches, pec stretches and strengthening exercises.
If you are still pregnant you can prepare for breastfeeding by performing exercises to strengthen your upper back and muscles between your shoulder blades.
Your physiotherapist can show you how to do these correctly, and provide hands-on treatment or taping if you are already suffering.
Other issues that can occur with breastfeeding can include blocked ducts and mastitis. Many women may not realise we can also help treat these conditions with physiotherapy techniques such as massage and ultrasound, advice on application of heat and ice, and positional advice.