• Southside Wellbeing

Beating Back Pain while Breastfeeding

Hi there! I am Dr. Geetha Soosay, one of the doctors here at Southside Wellbeing. Below is a post about my experience and tips for beating back pain while breastfeeding! Enjoy!

You've been through the pregnancy, been through the birth, natural or Caesarian. Perhaps it was difficult, maybe your hard work and preparation paid off, either way you have recovered and now focused on breastfeeding your little bundle, and perhaps it isn't so smooth sailing?

I actually found Breast feeding to be harder than the pregnancy and giving birth, not only the physical part of it - attachment, supply etc., but the posture involved in feeding my baby. I think it is probably inevitable that all breast feeding mothers (not to mention bottle feeders too) will experience some kind of back pain.

As an Osteopath in clinical practice, I have treated many mothers who are breastfeeding or bottle feeding and almost all have some kind of pain or stiffness associated with breast feeding multiple times a day. The aim of osteopathic treatment is to address what is causing the pain and try to help reduce the pain and stiffness. The most common complaints are Stiffness / pain in their upper back, Neck pain, Headaches and Lower back pain.

Why do breast feeding mothers experience this pain? A lot of the reasons are to do with the feeding posture. If you are sitting hunched over and your lower back is not supported properly you are not maintaining the natural curves in your spine, therefore increasing strain in your back. If you sit on a soft couch rather than a supportive arm chair it will be harder to maintain the natural curves in your spine and slouching will be most probable. If you feed without a pillow supporting your baby and arms you will most likely be hunching over more. Additionally, the increased weight of your breasts can increase strain through upper back and neck. So many things to think about!

Here are some tips to help reduce / prevent back pain:

  1. Sit in a supportive arm chair where possible - these are generally firmer than couches

  2. Use a pillow under your baby to bring him/her closer so your do not have to lean over

  3. Draw your shoulders down away from your ears to help reduce tightening in your neck region while you feed

  4. Place a couple of pillows under your elbow of the side you are feeding.

  5. Get yourself properly fitted for a breast feeding bra

  6. Do some gentle exercises to reduce tightness in your back and neck (insert photos)

If you need help breast feeding please contact your local MCHN so they can refer you to a lactation consultant if necessary, otherwise for any pain associated with breast feeding please see your osteopath so you can have any strain addressed and treated.

Below are some photos of stretches that can help with the pain.

Thank you and I hope this helps!

Love, Dr Geetha S

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