14 Aug Tips For More Comfortable Breastfeeding
For new mums, breastfeeding can be challenging, uncomfortable and at times emotionally and physically stressful.
Many find themselves in a slumped posture, arching over while breastfeeding, look at their baby or pick it up. Muscular fatigue is common due to this stooped posture. The body is not used to being in this particular position for long periods so pain and discomfort may set in. Hopefully the below tips help you feel more comfortable and ease some stress around breastfeeding.
- Get yourself into a comfortable position, well supported by pillows. You may find the use props such as the Mamma-pillo (featured in these beautiful photos) could be helpful to provide comfort for mum and bub.
- If seated, you’ll need to be upright, so placing pillows behind your lower back may help too.
- Stay relaxed as your baby will sense any tension.
- Position your baby laying on his side, with the front of his body against the front of your body.
- Try to keep your baby at the same height as your nipple
- Make sure you bring your baby to the breast, don’t lean forward into your baby. This will not only cause discomfort to your back, but might also cause difficulty with proper attachment.
- If having difficulty with the above postures, you could also try the following breastfeeding positions: football hold, side lying, or reclining (lower back supported with pillow).
- If you’re needing more personal advice, reach out to a lactation consultant. They can observe your technique and offer practical advice on how to improve comfort for both mum and baby.
Keeping hydrated is important. Your hydration levels may affect your body’s ability to create breast milk and in turn may also affect your baby’s digestion. Herbal teas may also help support lactation. I like Weleda’s Nursing tea (get in touch if you’d like us to order you some).
You can apply heat to tired and sore muscles. Have a warm bath with magnesium salts and your favourite essential oils. Or use a heat pack (we have a great range available at The Health & Wellbeing Studio from Jazminbell Cold/Heat Packs.
Counteract the constant forward-bending with some gentle arching exercises. Aim to open up the chest and stretch. Be mindful not to over-arch. Try rolling up a few towels (or using a long foam roller), positioning it at your upper spine and laying on it with legs bent. That will gently open up the chest, shoulders and neck. Aim to do this stretch twice daily, anywhere from 2 mins up to 15 minutes at a time.
For further postural advice, feel free to get in touch with myself or Dr Elise Feher. Chiropractic care may help with the postural strain you are experiencing while breastfeeding. We can also help with more practical advice on stretches and strengthening.
I also practice Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) which is a mind-body stress reduction technique that aims to normalise the physiology of the stress response in the body. As women, we judge ourselves far too frequently. Guilt and frustration may set in if there are breastfeeding difficulties. NET may be a way to help ease the intensity of these various emotions.
Feel free to get in touch for a complementary 15 minute chat about how we can help you ease into breastfeeding comfortably.