Breastfeeding; a pain in the neck and shoulders

Those who have breastfeed know the incredible joy and bonding experience that it can create between mum and baby, but also the strain and toll it can take on your body. Similarly to pregnancy, during the fourth trimester when breastfeeding the body continues to adjust to the postural changes needed to assist with feeding.

Our experienced Osteopaths at Live Well Health Centre, are trained in helping mothers deal with the common aches and pains associated with the breastfeeding journey. 

Different position during breastfeeding: 

When it comes to breastfeeding one of the most important things to note is positioning. Although there is no one correct way to feed, the five most common positions (pictured) are the cradle, cross cradle, laid back position, football hold and a side lying position. In order to avoid strain throughout the neck, shoulders and mid-upper back it is important to find the most comfortable position for you and your baby. Remember, some mums will stick to one position throughout, however, others will adjust as your baby grows and develops.

Tips to reduce pain during breastfeeding:

  1. Similarly to setting up your desk at work, ergonomics during breastfeeding is just as important. You want to ensure that you have a stable surface behind your back, neck and shoulders to rest on


  2. A pillow can be a great tool to assist with breastfeeding to ensure correct posture, it is important that when using a pillow, the baby remains at breast height and you continue to use your arms to support them. If you allow the baby to rest on the pillow, it can be difficult to get them close enough to you for correct feeding position


  3. Bring the baby to you! When feeding it can quickly become an easy habit when adjusting latch to lean into the baby to ensure there is enough surface area to latch onto, unfortunately this is the fastest way to experience neck, back and shoulder pain during your breastfeeding journey. By bringing the baby to the breast, it allows you to position yourself with the correct ergonomics and posture 

When should I see a Lactation Consultant?

Put simply, lactation consultants are trained health professionals who assist mums with everything from poor milk supply, painful breasts and feeding positions. You can engage in the services of a lactation from the late stages of pregnancy and right through your breastfeeding journey. 

Often lactation consultants will be available from the time you give birth in the hospital, through private health centres and some even do home visits!

If you are suffering with sore breasts, feel your baby is not latching correctly or you are just unsure about the progression of your breastfeeding journey, it is best to chat to your local consultant. 

When should I see my Osteopath?

It is never too early to see your Osteopath! Osteopaths can be a great resource throughout your pregnancy and postpartum journey to reduce pain, increase mobility and assist in strengthening your changing body to help manage the changes associated with birth and feeding. 

Post-birth if you have had a vaginal delivery your osteopath is able to see you as soon as you feel comfortable. If you have had a c-section delivery, to reduce the risk of infection it is best to first see your GP to ensure your incision is healing well. 

At Live Well Health Centre, we have large consulting rooms  to fit prams and play mats, extended consultations if needed and even a comfy couch to feed on! Always feel free to bring your bub along.