Your baby has arrived, and you are excited about the magic of bonding with your baby and beginning your breastfeeding relationship. There is a lot of focus on how our baby is positioned and ensuring they are comfortable and feeding well. But what about YOUR position and posture during nursing and pumping? Breastfeeding posture can be relaxing and enjoyable, or it can lead to a sore back, shoulder, neck, arm, or hand, which can develop into worse symptoms over time.
Babies nurse every 1.5-3 hours around the clock in the early weeks. They may space feedings out a little more as they get older, but let’s face it, breastfeeding and pumping are still a considerable part of your day and take a lot of physical and mental energy. Neck, shoulder, and back pain start to set in if we neglect ourselves during all those times we are nursing and pumping every day, not to mention the middle of the night.
Your posture during nursing and pumping sessions impacts how well your baby can feed, your milk output, and how you feel between sessions. Poor posture can have a ripple effect of symptoms and lead to headaches, neck pain, back pain, sore shoulders, and even plugged ducts or mastitis. When your body doesn’t feel its best, you will feel more tired and stressed, all of which we want to avoid when you are likely already getting less sleep as you adjust to life with your new baby.
- More milk - when you are relaxed, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is the feel-good, love hormone also responsible for milk flow. So, good posture can directly impact your milk flow and production. It can increase milk output while pumping.
- Overall stress reduction - the more you can relax, the better you will feel and more capable of all the demands of parenting.
Time nursing or pumping milk for your baby is special and can be relaxing and enjoyable when you are comfortable rather than seeming like a necessary task. Set up your spaces to nurse or pump for your maximum comfort. You will enjoy the time to feed your baby, bond with your baby more, and avoid unnecessary sore muscles. Sometimes, a kinked muscle happens anyway, so use the tips and tools to get rid of discomfort quickly and return to enjoying your breastfeeding journey.