How To Eliminate Breastfeeding Back Pain
I almost quit breastfeeding my daughter because my back was hurting all the time. Trying to get into a comfortable position on the couch or in bed at 2 am was so difficult, and no position was easing my discomfort. I thought my back was pretty strong, but it definitely wasn’t used to holding a baby all day.
I realized my back was so tightly wound that I needed to find better habits while breastfeeding and stretching throughout the day to help keep my muscles open. Once I implemented these strategies, my pain was almost completely gone, and I didn’t dread feeding my little girl anymore.
If you need a simple postpartum exercise routine and helpful breastfeeding habits so you can feel relaxed and calm feeding your baby, try these tips out!
What Causes Breastfeeding Back Pain?
Breastfeeding back pain can be caused by:
- Constantly in a hunched-over position
- Weak back/core muscles
- Increased breast size
- Bad breastfeeding posture habits
When starting your breastfeeding journey, there are so many logistics to learn that worrying about your posture is at the bottom of the list. I get it; I would get in the most comfortable position, which was usually hunched over, and just stay there.
However, if you take the time once to determine a position that supports your back and feels comfortable while breastfeeding, you can prevent your back pain from getting any worse.
Weak back and core muscles are extremely common after giving birth. Once your abdominals stretch out to fit a baby in your belly, they have endured an injury and need to heal.
Proper breathing techniques and postnatal core exercises will greatly improve your breastfeeding back discomfort. For a list of 15 different core exercises to do after birth, check out this post.
We can’t change how big our boobs get now that they have milk for our babies, but having a bra that supports them will prevent hunching over.
Breastfeeding Habits to Ease Back Pain
Implementing a few strategies to avoid the onset of back pain while breastfeeding is half the battle. With a solid setup for each feeding, you can ditch postpartum back pain frustrations from the start.
- Take deep breaths and actively remind yourself to relax your neck and shoulders.
- Avoid looking down at your baby the entire session or staring down at your phone. Try watching something at eye level or simply close your eyes and relax during this time.
- Find a comfortable location for breastfeeding, whether a recliner, the couch, or in bed with pillows all around you – any space that allows you to relax.
- Have a table or cart close by with anything you might need while feeding so you won’t have to struggle to grab water, a burp rag, etc.
Easy Stretches to Soothe Back Pain While Breastfeeding
Here are my 5 go-to stretches when I’m feeling the effects of breastfeeding all day. These stretches feel great when your back is feeling stiff and tight.
They can be done while your little one is doing tummy time or quick enough to squeeze in during those short 30-minute naps. Try out each stretch and find out which ones work best for you, and stick to those.
If all five are too much, just choose two and get at least one set done daily. It will feel so amazing to take a quick minute to help your body decompress and reset for the next feeding.
- Laying on your side, bring both hands together on the ground with outstretched arms.
- Open up your top hand to the floor behind you, and rotate back. This movement should be gentle and feel good.
- Limit your range of motion to whatever feels like a stretch but is not uncomfortable.
- Repeat 20 times on each side for one set.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and press your lower back into the ground.
- Rotate your arms upward, so your forearms and the backs of your hands also press into the floor. Your arms should mimic the shape of a football goalpost.
- Slowly raise your arms above your head, continuing until you cannot keep your arms connected to the floor. The whole time, continue pressing your back into the floor to avoid arching.
- Lower your arms back down until your triceps are parallel to the ground.
- Repeat for 15 reps and 3 sets.
Seated Neck Release
- Sit on the floor crossed-legged or on a chair with your back straight.
- Position your hand under your bottom or hold the side of the chair to isolate the stretch. Then, place your left hand on the top of your head and gently tilt your head towards your left side.
- Hold this position for 1 minute and repeat on the right side.
Banded Cross Body Pull Apart
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your resistance band with both hands, at arm’s length, in front of you.
- Keep the band at chest level and keep your arms shoulder-width apart.
- Pull the band apart, moving your arm diagonally away from your body.
- Return your hands to the start position and pull the band diagonally in the opposite direction you started with.
- Repeat the exercise alternating sides for 10 reps and 3 sets.
Effectively Heal Your Postpartum Back Pain
You do not need to sacrifice breastfeeding to ease your back pain. With a simple feeding setup and stretch routine, you can successfully breastfeed and not constantly be in pain. Get back to enjoying your breastfeeding journey with your little one and feeling relaxed.
Try these stretches and tell me in the comments which one works best for you.