The Importance of Good Posture for Breastfeeding
How Does Mom’s Posture Affect Her Breastfeeding?
When it comes to your newborn’s health, studies show that breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial things parents can choose for their child.
Just to name a few of the many significant benefits, breastfeeding:
Provides the best nutrition for your baby, especially within the first 6 months of life
Contains antibodies like colostrum that help babies fight off diseases, viruses and bacteria
Reduces a child’s risk for diseases like ear infections, colds, respiratory tract infections, and SIDS
Helps prevent childhood obesity
Promotes healthy weight gain
Although it is very beneficial for newborns, breastfeeding often puts undue stress on the mother and usually manifests in the form of tense shoulders, headaches, and pain in the neck and upper back.
When you stop and think about it, breastfeeding requires a new mother to spend several hours a day holding and supporting their child in potentially awkward and uncomfortable positions.
Without good posture, mom will undoubtedly experience pain in her neck and back. Not to mention there might be potential problems with breastfeeding if the symptoms of bad posture are severe enough.
5 Tips for Improving Your Nursing Posture
If you’re a new mother and are experiencing problems or pain due to breastfeeding and poor posture, here are a few tips to help you nurse more effectively and not compromise your body:
Bring your baby to your breast, not the other way around. Hunching forward for even short periods of time 6-8 times a day puts a strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. Remember to sit as straight as possible and bring your little one to you!
Support your baby AND your arms. While it’s common for moms to use breastfeeding pillows to support their babies while nursing, you should also make sure you’re using pillows to support your arms. The longer you hold tension through your arms, the more stress you put on your neck and shoulders. Make sure you’re comfortable, too!
Be cautious of your positioning, not just your baby’s. As humans, we already tend to slouch when we’re sitting down, but this is especially true for moms who are nursing in bed or on the couch. If possible, try to nurse your baby while sitting upright so that your low back is supported and not carrying extra pressure.
Look up from your baby. It seems almost cruel to ask a mother not to look at her baby while breastfeeding, but tilting your neck down for long periods of time can result in pain and muscle tension throughout the upper back. Remember to look up every few minutes and get some mobility in your neck throughout the nursing process.
Stretch. It might sound silly, but stretching before and after breastfeeding your child is a great way to keep your neck and back healthy. Even if it’s just a few minutes, give yourself time to stretch your pecs, shoulders, neck, and low back. You’ll be happy you did in the long run, and so will your little one!
Regardless of how much good posture you practice, breastfeeding is tough work and will inevitably take a toll on your body. That’s why we encourage all new mamas - and their little ones - to come in for a chiropractic adjustment.
Contact us today if you’d like to schedule an appointment for you and your child!