Getting neck and back pain while breastfeeding? This is a typical complaint that most breastfeeding mothers experience due to poor breastfeeding postures. The solution is simple – adopt good breastfeeding postures and have adequate rest.
Every woman wants her breastfeeding experience to be comfortable, hence, here are some tips for the Cradle hold and the Cross Cradle hold, the most commonly used breastfeeding position.
The Cradle Hold
This is a classic breastfeeding position which is used very often. However, it may not be that comfortable for newborns as newborns may need more head/neck support. In this position, you cradle the baby’s head in the crook of your elbow on the side that you would be feeding on i.e. right elbow for feeding on the right breast. Your other hand will be holding the baby’s body. Bring the baby towards you and do not bend towards the baby. You may have to use your free hand to cup your breast to fit your baby’s mouth.
The Cross Cradle Hold
This position is typically more comfortable for the inexperienced mummies and babies. It may take a bit of effort to adopt this position initially, but it keeps your baby’s head in control which allows easy access to your breast.
Hold the baby’s head and support the baby’s body in the hand and arm opposite to the side you will be feeding i.e. left hand and arm for feeding on the right breast. Then lead the baby to the breast, Use the freehand (i.e.right hand) to help your baby to latch on. As you can see, this position requires you to hold the baby in one arm, hence it is not suitable for older babies.
Look for a comfortable place to breastfeed. If it is a place which you breastfeed often, such as in a designated chair in the corner of your room, or on your bed, try checking if it has the proper ergonomic requirements before you start your routine.
Basic requirements for good breastfeeding ergonomics in sitting:
- Experiment with various breastfeeding positions and decide on the one which is most comfortable for you and your baby.
- Use pillows, or a nursing pillow to support your baby- the support allows your shoulders and arms to rest. You may also use a pillow to support your back while sitting in a chair.
- Adjust the chair’s height till the back of your thighs are NOT cutting into the edge of the chair, i.e. till your hips, knees and feet form an inverted “L” shape. If the chair’s height is not adjustable, use a stool to prop up your feet.
- When breastfeeding, bring the baby to the breast. Never bend towards the baby as this would strain your neck and back.
- Switch between different positions as prolonged static positions would strain your muscles and spine.
- Stretch your neck and back often in between feeding.