Any new mum will tell you that you’ll love your new baby so much you’ll ache – mostly in the shoulders, neck, upper, and lower back.
New mums are prone to back and neck pain due to the long hours they will stay in one position while nursing and calming their newborns.
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, your posture will often be compromised for the long periods of time that you feed. Add a lack of sleep into the mix, and even the strongest bodies can bend and slump. This can pose both short and long-term issues for many women.
In the haze of those early days when your baby’s needs are king, mothers will often soldier on, putting their needs last until it turns from ache to chronic pain. Like any repetitive stress injury, the rehabilitation journey can be long and slow.
To keep optimal back, neck, and shoulder health during this time, here are my 5 top tips.
1. Become ambidextrous
Notice what arm you habitually use to carry the capsule or shopping, or what hip you keep baby on, and try using the other side. Sure it will feel weird to begin with, but it really will go a long way in evening out the muscles in your body.
2. Post reminders to roll your shoulders around and back
Instead of shying away from mirrors, use them to remind yourself about your posture. Sit or stand tall and draw back your shoulders as if to lift your breasts off your chest. Also bring your chin parallel to the floor and draw your ears back to line up with your shoulders
3. Push the pram with a tall spine
Getting out and about with baby is not only essential for your physical health, but also for you mental health. Try to walk tall and notice if you hips are always rolling back (as your body may still be in pregnancy posture purely through habit). Rolling your hips forward to align them in neutral spine will help engage your lower abdominals. Breathe deep and don’t forget to activate your pelvic floor.
4. Use an ergonomic pillow when feeding
It is essential that you elevate baby to breast, rather than lower breast to baby. A pillow that is recommended by health care professionals is one in the shape of a boomerang, this allows the baby to be kept at optimal feeding position whilst supporting your baby. Look for one that is not too soft and not too hard, and importantly one where the whole pillow can be machine washed.
5. Seek relief
Get a massage or support through a women’s health physiotherapist at the “niggly” stage of your ache or pains, rather than allowing it to get to the chronic pain stage. Your rehabilitation time will be much shorter and you will feel much better.
– written by Bub Hub forum member Mishfit
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