Bottle or Breastfeeding and Osteopathy

Everyone understands that the transition from a pregnant body to a postpartum one demands a lot. But the demands of feeding a newborn, whether by breast or bottle, also require a lot from the muscles and joints of the body.

Breastfeeding positions and their associated aches and pains

Starting a New Activity

If you were to pick up a new sport that required you to hold positions, not all of them comfortable, for long periods of time, it would be sound advice to ask you to build up slowly. But we don’t train for infant feeding ahead of time, despite the parallels to holding yoga poses for up to 20 minutes at a time, throughout the day and night. So it’s no wonder that being a new parent often comes with sore backs, shoulders, and necks. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help yourself, and your osteopath is on hand to help with the more complicated or persistent aches and pains.

Finding Supportive Positions

For the baby, and for breastfeeding mothers, it is important to swap sides throughout a feed, or at least throughout the day. This helps to avoid unnecessary asymmetric forces through baby’s body, and engorgement for mum. This sounds easy enough, until you put it into practice and realise that feeding on the right is easy because of the sofa armrest, but not so easy in the empty space on the left. Utilising pillows and cushions can make a huge difference, reducing your general tension and allowing baby to tune into this, as well as reducing strain on the shoulder. You don’t need to buy special feeding pillows for this- try with the cushions and pillows you have laying around already.

If you’re familiar with ergonomics at work, try to employ the same ideas here. You don’t need to sit perfectly straight, especially if you’re planning to swap sides. But make sure your shoulders are supported so they can relax, and your back (upper and lower) is neutral and you’re not hunched over. Try not to crane your neck to watch baby- you might find a more reclined position with support behind your neck to be more comfortable.

On the note of tension, ask your midwife, health visitor, or lactation specialist for support if you find breastfeeding painful after the first few days.

Osteopathy for your Feeding Discomfort

As always, your osteopath will look at the whole picture to get to the root of the problem. We will also take a detailed case history, and likely spend a lot of time on the positions you tend to adopt to feed your child.

We want to keep the upper back moving in particular, because stiffness can cause aches and pains in the shoulders, neck, and lower back. Treatment for the muscles and joints of the upper back often forms part of the plan for new parents, and may involve joint manipulation (clicking) where appropriate.

You can expect to be given personalised information and advice, which may include exercises or more suitable feeding positions to try. Similarly, if you find that other new activities such as baby wearing or cosleeping are having an impact, we can give advice and treatment to ease their burdens too.

Contact us on 077 7593 1609 to make an appointment in Alsager for your aches and pains