Jeremy Waite


News and advice

Back pain in new mothers

The arrival of a baby will always be the focus of care for new parents, but it is important for mums to make sure that they take care of themselves correctly as well. The weight of carrying a baby (and even more so a toddler) has seen many a mother suffer from back and shoulder pain as posture is sacrificed in favour of holding a child whilst doing other jobs. Whilst this is always going to be hard to avoid, parents can help themselves with hip seat products such as the Hippy Chick as well as making sure that they alternate the side a child is held on to even out the workload on the muscles.

If back pain becomes an issue from carrying a child then there are a variety of stretches which will help (contact me for further details) and somewhat inevitably I would also recommend a massage to help alleviate niggles before they come significant problems.

Just as importantly for Mums is posture during breastfeeding. Newborns will feed on average 10-12 times per day and so a lot of time is spent breastfeeding. Especially in the early days, it can be hard to get a baby ‘latched on’ and so this results in many mothers hunching over trying to encourage the child to feed by effectively taking their breast to the baby rather than bringing the baby to them. This poor position will result in significant tightness in the muscles of the chest and shoulder as muscles are held in a shortened position fo extended periods during a feed. This can cause much discomfort for women who are already likely to be tired from disturbed sleep and strained from the inevitable highs and lows of being a new parent.

In addition we often see Mums who suffer with problems in their lower legs for a similar reason of breastfeeding posture. If the chair being used is not the right height, the temptation is to get the child up to breast level by lifting the knees and holding them in that position by being on tiptoes. When repeated time and again for the multiple feeds during each day this is likely to cause problems in the strained calf muscles and feet which can again be very uncomfortable. In this instance, if you cannot get a chair the right height then use a footrest or even books to bring your knees up higher to support the baby well whilst you maintain a comfortable position.

A good posture during breastfeeding will take these problems away so try to keep the back upright, shoulders back and feet flat on the floor (or solid support) whilst bringing the baby to your breast rather than the reverse. If there is not a chair available that allows this position, then there are aids available to buy to help this along – the feeding cushion My Brest Friend has certainly been a popular purchase in our household and helped to correct any problems.

Whilst it’s important to enjoy the intimacy and bonding of feeding your child, do try to have an occasional thought about posture as well so that you can continue to feel healthy and happy and capable of caring for the new arrival.

Jeremy Waite works as a Sports Massage Therapist in Berkshire covering areas such as Streatley, Goring, Pangbourne, Wallingford and Reading.

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Providing sports and remedial massage as well as training and rehabilitation advice throughout Berkshire and Oxfordshire and especially to clients in Streatley, Goring, Pangbourne, Wallingford and Reading.

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