Achy upper back pain and neck pain from frequent breast feeding is a common experience for many women. To avoid the classic hunched over breastfeeding posture, try breast feeding in lots of different positions. The cradle hold is easiest and often most convenient, but the others are definitely worth trying.
A side lying position is great for night time feeds in bed, or during those early weeks of cluster feeding when you really do just have to surrender to it. Make sure you’re lying straight on your side and not twisted through your pelvis. Put a pillow between your knees, or, if you like to bend up one knee, pop a pillow under it.
If you’re still getting the hang of feeding and have a little trouble relaxing into it, why not try reclining. Bub can be placed either horizontally or vertically on your chest. Be sure to prop yourself up well with pillows under your low back, head or arms as needed. This is also a good position for women with fast flows, or whose babies tend to gulp down their milk too quickly and become unsettled soon after.
Football holds are a little too fussy to set up for a lot of mums, but they are handy if you’ve got twins or if you’re feeding two children at once.
Whichever position you choose, get comfy. You may be there for a while. Some newborns will easily spend an hour on each feed in the first couple of months. Set yourself up with a breast feeding station that includes a bottle of water and something to eat. Close your eyes and rest, take the time to talk, smile and bond with your baby. Or if you’re feeling a little bit over it all, grab something to read or watch.
If you are feeling sore after a feed, a little stretching and movement will go a long way. Some of my favourites are Thread the Needle, Cat/Cow, Cobra and Child’s Pose. Anything that brings your upper back into a gentle extension. A hot shower or self massage with some lavender essential oil can help relieve muscle tension and calm your nerves.
Don't ever feel guilty about taking a little you time. The best thing you can do for bub is take good care of yourself. Try it - bub will be just fine in the arms of your partner / mum / friend for a half hour.