Last week I had the joy of seeing my cousin and meeting her new 3-month old son. He is beautiful and healthy. Her decision to breastfeed him is personal and wonderful for them. Knowing that I am a chiropractor, our conversation quickly turned to an aspect of breastfeeding that I don’t hear much about – postural strain and muscle pain. In full disclosure, I do not have children and as such do not have firsthand experience. But after 14 years in practice, I do have experience with and knowledge of muscles, nerves and joints of both the spine and extremities.
Being mindful of your posture and bringing your baby to your breast are common pieces of advice. There are wonderful pillows for supporting your shoulders and reducing the strain of holding your baby. As a chiropractor, I would utilize adjustments of the neck and back and in the extremities, specifically the wrists. These adjustments will help to ensure that proper nerve function is maintained and to reduce the effects of torsion or twisting in the spine that occurs during breastfeeding. The areas that are especially prone to fatigue and injury are the neck, shoulders, wrists and low back. Acupuncture can assist with combating muscle fatigue and help to regulate the ongoing hormonal changes in the body. Your ligaments need laxity or ease during pregnancy and birth but need to regain their normal tone afterward.
Home care is always an important piece of my treatment plans at BodyMind Wellness Center. Suggestions for spinal stretching on a foam roller for just a few minutes a day can be a great help to counteract the anterior or forward position of the spine during nursing. Suggestions for neck, back and extremity stretches would be tailored for each patient as well.
If you have any questions or feel I may assist you, please contact my office at 314-725-8600.