So, you think your back hurt while you were pregnant? Wait until you are breast feeding for the 5th or 6th feeding of the day and the muscles in your back and neck start to scream no matter how you try to shift positions. It may not be fair, but, while some women seem to never have a moment’s discomfort while pregnant and have no back problems at all when breast feeding, others are tied in knots with pain from the moment they buy the home pregnancy test.
For some, the time period spent breast feeding can actually be the most difficult when it comes to physical discomfort. Because it is so important to position the baby in such a way as to get a good latch, it often requires lifting and holding the baby’s head and body up and closer to get to the breast. Doing this over and over again can create severe aching in the neck, shoulder, back, hands and wrists
Trying different feeding positions is important. Some will work better than others, depending upon the individual mothers and babies. Switching positions is also a good option to try. It may be tempting to find a favorite and stay with it, but switching and rotating positions puts different muscles to work and lets those that may have been overworked have a chance to rest. Getting as much rest as possible, although never easy with a newborn, will, of course, help, as will working in exercise whenever the chance arises.
While all of these suggestions are certainly worth trying, many women find that using a nursing pillow makes a huge difference for them. Nursing pillows, also called feeding pillows, come in a variety of shapes and styles and are usually designed to go around your waist so that there will be something to support the baby on while breast feeding or bottle feeding.
Benefits of Nursing Pillows for Breast Feeding
- Provides support and encourages proper feeding position
- Lifts baby so that the mother does not have to lean forward and lift, which strains back, neck and arms
- Places and holds baby at correct height for a proper latch, which is essential for nutrition and supply
- Easier to nurse preemies and twins
- Protects incision site for cesarean
- Helps prevent reflux
Nursing pillows may be great for breast feeding, but they also have other uses. During pregnancy, they can be used for supporting the back, as well as placed between the legs or under the stomach to provide some comfort and relief. Down the road a bit, when your baby is between 4-6 months of age, what is now considered a nursing pillow can be put to use as it was originally intended. Today’s nursing pillow is a variation on one that was actually designed to help babies sit up. It becomes a platform to lean on, grab hold of and pull, all the while providing a soft and safe place to land.
Nursing pillows come in a wide range of shapes, from the popular c-shaped Boppy to the ergonomically designed naturally curving pillow. Every baby, website, and mom is different, and you will find this reflected in the different designs.
If you would like to learn more about this subject, please watch the final video: