It is common to develop mid and upper back pain for a breastfeeding mama. When trying to focus on getting the latch just right, we often forget to think about our own posture, which can lead to prolonged poor positioning, strain to various soft tissue structures and pain which lasts beyond the nursing sessions. Keeping the head forward (looking at the baby’s face) for extended periods can lead to neck pain. Hunching forward can lead to upper and mid back pain. Hiking up the shoulder of the arm which supports the baby, can lead to pain in the shoulder, neck and upper back.
It is important to try to bring the baby toward the breast, rather than bringing the breast to the baby.
To help reduce or prevent upper and mid back pain, try the following:
1. Assume a comfortable position, placing a small pillow behind low back for support.
2. Use a Boppy, My Breast Friend, or any pillow to support the baby, thus bringing him/her up higher toward the breast and reducing hunching forward.
3. Place a pillow or use the arm rest of a couch or chair to rest the elbow of the arm which is supporting the baby.
4. Make a conscious effort to lower the shoulders, they have tendency to ride up toward our ears, when we are focused on other things.
5. Try to straighten out your neck, if possible sit in a chair that is high enough to support your head. Avoid sitting fro prolonged periods with a forward flexed head/ neck.
6. If sitting to breast feed still feels straining, try a side-lying position instead.