Being a new mum can be challenging – there are so many new demands on you and often with minimal sleep. Breastfeeding is one of these new tasks and there can be considerable mental, emotional and physical load associated with it! While we can’t help with all of that, we have put together our tips for a great breastfeeding posture to help avoid musculoskeletal pain.
While most newborn babies might not seem like they weight very much, holding them for long periods of time can certainly put strain on the body. So it is important to do your best to set yourself up well. We understand that there can be other challenges associated with breastfeeding and getting into a good posture is not always possible, but where possible we recommend:
- Keep your shoulders relaxed – shoulders should be gently set ‘down and back’, ie not pulling them up and not hunched forward
- Use armrests or cushions under your elbows for support so you don’t have to hold all of bub’s weight yourself
- Where possible, use cushions to support your back so you can sit back into the chair/bed with a slight recline… when in doubt – more cushions!
- It is also really important to stay hydrated – so have water bottles all around the house for easy access
As we said – the best of postural intentions may not always work out when breastfeeding. So here are two of our favourite releases for helping reduce some of the muscle tension that may build up, and will hopefully improve your breastfeeding posture.
- Infraspinatus: One of the rotator cuff muscles (located at the back of your shoulder blade), the infraspinatus is often tight on our new mums. Using a trigger ball, lean up against the wall and find a tender spot in your infraspinatus. Keep the pressure sustained for 60-90 seconds for 3-4 spots
- Upper back muscles: We also find the upper back muscles and joints get quite tight. Place a trigger ball, right next to the spine, in your upper back (in line with the top of your shoulder blades) and lean against the wall. You can gently sustain the pressure in one spot (trigger point) or roll up and down about a 5cm area (massage).
Remember that to care for others, you must first take care of yourself! So if you experience pain with your breastfeeding posture or have any questions about how you could, then have a chat with a musculoskeletal physio or come and see one of our team!