Author: Katherine, fellow Mum and Founder of Future Physiotherapy. *Modern Mumology and Future Physiotherapy have a business partnership*
Hi ladies, today I want to talk about how to prevent neck pain whilst feeding your baby. It is one of the most common postpartum complaints because mothers spend so much time seated, leaning forwards, and gazing down at their baby during feeding sessions. Understandably we, as new mothers, are so focused on our baby being comfortable and feeding effectively, that we are willing to put up with some discomfort ourselves, but then it slowly gets worse and worse until the pain becomes too much to bear. Unsuitable feeding positions, sustained over a prolonged period of time, place strain on the neck – leading to pain, nerve pressure and muscle strains, something we ultimately want to avoid.
So here are some top tips to prevent neck pain whilst feeding your baby:
Sit in a supportive chair
While a soft couch is tempting, try to sit in a more supportive, upright chair to avoid slouching while feeding your baby. If the couch is your only option, then place a pillow behind your lower back for support, and prop yourself up with extra pillows if required. If your feet don’t touch the ground, use a footstool to support your feet. This helps to relax your lower back and prevent you from leaning forwards.
Focus on proper posture
If you’re breastfeeding, bring your baby to your breast and not your breast to your baby. If you have trouble latching, hunch over your baby only to obtain a solid latch, and then scoop your baby up and lean back while holding your baby against your body to relax into the chair. Remaining in the hunched over position for the whole feed puts enormous strain on the muscles around your neck and shoulders.
Use a few pillows, or a specific ‘nursing pillow’ on your lap to raise your baby to a comfortable height where you are both relaxed.
While feeding, remember to draw your shoulder blades together and drop your shoulders down away from your ears, to relax all the muscles around your neck and shoulders.
If you’re bottle feeding, alternate sides to give your muscles a break.
If you are starting to experience neck pain, placing a heat pack around the area can help to loosen tight muscles and ease the pain. Alternatively, enjoy a warm shower, focusing the water on the neck and upper back area.
Consult a Physiotherapist
A physiotherapist can provide you with the treatment and advice required specifically for you. Neck pain while feeding is very common, but is also very treatable, so don’t suffer in silence – your future self will thank you!
If you have any queries, please get in touch or drop your questions below!