If you’re a first-time mother, you are most likely unaware of the workout certain parts of your body are about to experience with the everyday care of your baby. Although your newborn baby doesn’t weigh much yet, you will be holding him a lot and he will grow quickly, so make sure you are well supported when you are holding him. To that end, in nursing, you will find that your neck, back, fingers and wrists end up in repetitive positions similar to that of working at a computer. The following are tips on avoiding potential pain points:
- Use good posture when breastfeeding. Analogous to working at a computer – you can end up with sore neck and lower back if you hunch over your baby. As in yoga, think open rib cage and sitting up straight. You don’t have to lean over baby to breastfeed.
- Support your arms, wrists and baby. If you are holding up your baby’s head, you’re working too hard! You may be leaning back too far and/or need support for her head. Find a nursing pillow that fits you well, (baby should be slightly below the breast), or use your own pillows to support baby and your arms. Always have something under your elbows so you’re not merely holding your arms up in the air.
- Vary how you hold your baby. Holding your baby in different positions avoids muscle strain. If your wrists or fingers are sore or numb, it may be from flexing or extending your wrists for extended periods of time.
- Relax! Sore muscles in general are caused by tension. Check to make sure you are not tensing up when breastfeeding, and if so, investigate why. Do your nipples hurt? Is your baby agitated? Are you feeling unsure of yourself? These are all reasons to get lactation advice.