Becoming a parent, whether it be for the first or the fourth time, is an exciting, beautiful and, at times, challenging stage of life. There are so many things to think about when taking care of a little one, in addition to the physical demands of feeding, changing, lifting, holding, soothing, and rocking a baby.

Last year, I became a Mom and very quickly felt firsthand the physical effects of constantly feeding my daughter. I promptly booked myself in for some hands-on treatment and then used a few basic tricks (listed below) to feel better while breast/chest, or bottle feeding and to prevent chronic pain.

During the newborn phase, I learned that a new parent will spend a lot of time feeding and this can take a toll on your body. Back and neck soreness are common! I see this often in my clinical practice. Physiotherapy can play a part in reducing aches and pains during this physically demanding time, and also preventing pains as your baby gets bigger or feeding sessions are longer.

  • Support yourself by sitting with your butt all the way back in your chair, feet flat on the floor and arms comfortably supported before getting started. You may also need to put a pillow behind your back depending on your body proportions and the chair.

 

  • Bring your babe to you instead of rounding forward towards baby. You can use a nursing pillow, rolled up towels, and/or regular pillows to boost baby up to feed.

 

  • Try to avoid looking down at your little one during the entire feeding session as this can cause neck pain.

 

  • Once you have started feeding, check in with your body to see what’s happening with your neck, and shoulders. Try to relax and avoid hiking your shoulders towards your ears. Taking a few deep belly breaths can help reduce any tension.

 

  • Take the time to find the best chair to feed in. Not all couches and chairs make for relaxed places to feed your little ones.

 

  • In between feeding sessions try to work on strengthening your mid back to help prevent pain. An example of this would be to squeeze your shoulder blades together, without hiking your shoulders towards your ears, and hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Utilizing these tips can help to make breast/chest feeding and bottle feeding more comfortable and enjoyable for both the parents and the babies.

 

By Jennifer Harvey
Registered Physiotherapist
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