How to minimise neck and shoulder pain whilst feeding your bubs!

Why am I so sore in my shoulders and neck from looking after bubs?

At Total Balance Healthcare we treat a lot of postpartum women and their support people (whether it be partners, older siblings, grandparents or other family and friends). Something that is inevitable when caring for a newborn baby, are the actions and postures associated with taking care of them.

Think about it, everything we do when caring for a baby is in front of us – changing their nappies, breast or bottle feeding them, playing with them, and settling them. All of these actions can lead to being in a hunched forward posture for prolonged periods of time, and this can often lead to muscular tightness in the neck and shoulders. Tightness in the neck and shoulders can lead to stiffness in the upper back, and headaches – both are things no one wants!

So what can we do to try prevent this? Here are our favourite tips!

Get your ‘nest’ ready to go

There are times when your baby wakes up, they’re crying and hungry, and you may be frantically running around trying to get set up for their feed. If your feeding area (or ‘nest’ as it’s sometimes referred to) is ready to go, it makes life a lot easier. Wherever you are feeding your baby, have pillows ready to prop up against. This way you’ll be able to maintain better posture whilst you’re feeding your bubs which places less strain and pressure on your neck and shoulders. Try placing pillows behind your back, under your arms, and under bubs so that you don’t have to hold their weight for the entire feed.

A heat pack is a great tool to have ready to go for when your baby wakes up for a feed. Placing a heat pack on your neck and shoulders whilst feeding will encourage blood flow to these muscles and hence, help to reduce tightness in them.

Avoid prolonged neck flexion during a feed

It is very tempting to look down at your phone and scroll away whilst feeding your baby (it may be the only time where you are able to do this now, life gets busy with a newborn!). This however, does place a lot of extra weight and pressure through the head and neck, which leads to tightness in the shoulders. Instead of doing this, we suggest watching something on TV and looking straight ahead of you, or if you are on your phone, to hold your phone at eye level.

Something you also may want to incorporate to this time when feeding your baby, is stretching through your neck. Once bubs is happy on the breast or bottle, look straight ahead and gently tilt your head from side to side, feeling a gentle stretch in the muscles along the sides of your neck. Have a look at the video below to watch a video of our osteopath Dr Ella showing us some of these tips and tricks!

 

 

Keep your mid back moving and as mobile as possible

Something simple that you can do to minimise neck pain, is ensure your mid to upper spine is moving optimally, and the easiest way to do this is to do semi-regular mobility exercises and stretches! If the middle of your spine is moving well, it means the upper part of your spine and your neck won’t have to work harder to help you achieve your daily actions and this will help reduce neck and shoulder tightness. Click on the image below to see our osteopath Dr Loz demonstrate our favourite exercises for mid back mobility!

 

Neck pain is never fun, and it is the last thing you want to think about when you’ve got a million other things on your mind when caring for your new bubba! If you have neck or shoulder pain and think your feeding posture is contributing to it, give us a call at the clinic on (03) 9773 8085. Alternatively you can start the process of looking after yourself, by jumping online and booking an appointment to see one of our osteopaths!

 

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This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Phone: (03) 9773 8085

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