If you are a new mum and are finding that your upper back and shoulders are becoming stiff and painful from caring for your little one, then read on to see what you can do to fix this.
Work on your feeding posture
It is all too common that new mums will report feeding their baby while slumped on the couch or in bed. While this may seem a comfortable position in the moment, over time this can lead to undue strain on your back and neck.
- Sit in a firm chair with your bottom right back in the seat and your feet and thighs fully supported. You may also like to try using a rolled-up towel to support the natural curve of your lower back.
- You should not need to use your shoulder and arm muscles excessively to support the weight of bub. Instead, ensure that your arms (and therefore bub) are well supported from underneath by using cushions, the arm of the chair or a feeding pillow. This will reduce the amount of strain on your neck and shoulders.
- Keep your head on top of your shoulders! Your head is about as heavy as a bowling ball. If you are constantly sitting with a forward head posture (looking down at bub) this can place unnecessary strain on the small muscles at the back of the neck. Try to look out into the distance. If you need to look down at bub, tuck your chin towards your adam’s apple rather than letting your chin fall down to your chest.
Move your body
Sitting for prolonged periods while feeding bub can cause your body to feel stiff and sore. Once you have settled bub, try the following:
- 10 shoulder squeezes (squeeze your shoulders together behind your back, hold each rep for 5 seconds)
- 5 Book openings on each side
- 1 minute lying over a rolled-up towel under your bra strap to open your chest
Seek help from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist
A women’s health physiotherapist can help assess and manage other factors that are contributing to your pain. This could include a weak core and pelvic floor, postnatal deconditioning and other lifestyle factors. We can provide hands-on therapy and an exercise program to get you back to feeling your best so that you can better look after bub!