Breastfeeding is a beautiful and essential part of motherhood, but it can also lead to discomfort, especially in the neck and upper back. Your Myotherapist is here to offer simple yet effective tips to help alleviate neck pain during this crucial phase of postpartum care. With a few adjustments to your routine, you can make this experience more comfortable for both you and your baby.
- Understand the Challenge: Breastfeeding involves long hours in an awkward position, akin to running a marathon and then sitting in an uncomfortable chair for extended periods. With this, poor posture becomes an issue, leading to a forward-flexed cervical spine and intense neck pain. To make matters worse, the lack of sleep and the stress of caring for a newborn can escalate the pain. Here’s what you can do to manage it:
- Stay Warm: Keeping warm might seem simple, but it’s crucial. Cold temperatures can cause you to elevate your shoulders, further stiffening your muscles. Use a blanket or robe to stay cozy during feeds.
- Wheat/Lupin Heat Packs: Heat packs are your best friend. Apply them before or after each feeding session to relieve stiff muscles and soothe tension in your neck and upper back.
- Choose the Right Setting: Avoid feeding your baby in bed when experiencing neck pain. This position puts a lot of strain on your cervical spine, especially during the first 12 weeks. Opt for a comfortable chair and a feeding pillow to ease the strain on your arms and maintain better posture.
- Invest in a Good Armchair: A supportive armchair can make all the difference. It helps you maintain an upright and comfortable position while feeding. If you don’t have access to an ideal chair, use a pillow at the small of your back or place a small step under your feet to prevent slouching.
- Seek Help When Needed: Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Caring for a newborn is a demanding job, and it truly takes a village to raise a child. Enlist the support of friends, family, or a partner to make this phase more manageable.
- Consider Professional Treatment: Schedule an appointment with your Myotherapist to receive specialized care and guidance. Professional treatment can offer targeted relief for your neck pain and provide strategies to improve your posture during breastfeeding.
- Additional Resources: Visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) website for valuable information on feeding positions and other breastfeeding advice. They offer resources and support that can further enhance your breastfeeding experience.
Breastfeeding is a precious time for both you and your baby, and it should be as comfortable as possible. By implementing these tips and seeking support from your Myotherapist and the ABA, you can alleviate neck pain and make this experience a more enjoyable and pain-free journey for you and your little one.