Breastfeeding That Doesn’t Hurt Your Back

Breast feeding is supposed to be this beautiful thing…….

DSC00801 round edgea blissful time between mother and baby, or so all of the fairytales say.But, as most of us know, initially it can be hard.  Both Mommy and baby have a learning curve, there can be sore/cracked nipples, latching problems and other things that get in the way.

I have been very lucky. After a few rough spots, everything has gone well. With my first baby I had a good team: the lactation consultant at the hospital, then a very cool breastfeeding group that met weekly at Brooklyn’s Methodist Hospital when we lived in NYC. Add in a few La Leche League meetings and reading on their website. All of that allowed 2 1/2 years of breastfeeding with my son. Then after Serena was born another great team of Lactation Consultants at the NICU and we are still going strong 1 1/2 years later (twice a day since I am working almost full time).So the theme here is I love Lactation Consultants!  Definitely find one to help you if you are having any problems.

So now let’s talk about your back or neck pain.Good posture is essential for comfortable breast (or bottle!!) feeding.Just like sitting anywhere, you should be aligned as much as possible. Get your butt back in the chair.  Your lower back should not be rounded backwards, there should be a little in-curve – so use a little pillow behind your back if you are on a really soft couch or chair.Once the bottom of you is aligned, your head should be in a decent position without having your neck jutting forward – but, because our babies are so dang cute, we look down at them all of the time.  That can create some neck pain too.
So every once in a while look up and tuck your chin in to stretch out the back of your neck.
breastfeed serena posture round.jpgOnce you are in a good position, then it is time to think about where baby goes.Bring baby up to the level of your breast using pillows.  Here I am using a Boppy pillow, but any pillow will do.
My chair has really low arm rests, so I can prop one end of the Boppy on the arm rest to make an angled surface, with her head higher than her feet.  But I could also use a second pillow under her head to create this angle.Next, notice my hands are relaxed.  I am making sure she doesn’t roll off, but I am not holding her. The pillow is holding her.
For a comfortable feeding session, a sustained holding of her 20lbs could lead to a lot of arm and wrist pain – something I can’t afford since I my work requires a lot of massage that taxes my arms.Lastly, notice my feet are supported on the ground. If this chair was any higher then I would use a nursing stool (usually a wood stool with an angled surface). It is an awesome way to support your legs.Now, all of this makes breastfeeding much more tolerable for my body – and sustainable in the long run!What do you think? Are you able to integrate all of these tips?

Tell me what is an amazing revelation for you, and what just isn’t gonna work in your situation.

 

As always, we are here to support you in your journey through motherhood. We love to hear from you.

Jennifer

 

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