Once our child is born, after having suffered low back pain in the last months of pregnancy, a new challenge comes: breastfeeding our child. Whether we breastfeed or use a bottle is very common to have neck pain due to the postures we adopt. To this is added the overload that involves carrying our child in arms from one place to another.
Breastfeed correctly and neck the most common posture for breastfeeding is when you are sitting with the baby in your arms and it is at this moment that the biggest problems for the neck arise. The first days of a child’s life are difficult because they are very small and cost a little until they are well attached to the breast. This makes us force all kinds of postures, as we see in the photo of the woman that appears to the left.
Once we are more relaxed and accustomed to breastfeeding or bottle feeding, we should look at the postures we adopt to avoid neck injuries. The ideal posture is to sit comfortably with your knees and hips at 90º and use a nursing cushion like the one on the right. This cushion allows us to have the arms Breastfeed correctly and neck comfortably supported so that they do not have to hold the whole weight of the baby. This way we can be relaxed while we breastfeed. If we give bottle we must take into account one more detail: So important is to have comfortably supported the arm that holds the baby as the one that holds the bottle. The arm holding the bottle should be attached to our body with the elbow attached to the ribs and supported on the cushion.
Why is it so important to have well-supported arms? When we carry a baby in arms the cervical musculature has to act to hold our arms in position, especially the trapezoid. If we are too long in this posture these muscles will become tired and there will be an overload that will hurt in the form of contractures. If the situation persists, they may injure these muscles with small breaks and damage the joints of the cervical vertebrae. In addition, having a weight in the arms moves the center of gravity forward and will require the muscles of the dorsal area to work harder not to fall. Leaning elbows and forearm on a cushion distributes these loads and allows us to breastfeed safely and enjoying our baby.
As for holding the bottle, the further away the elbow from the body the more force they have to perform the cervical muscles to maintain the posture and more tension will be generated in the neck. It is important to adopt the position that we explain.
It is true that we are not always going to have a nursing cushion on hand or maybe we do not like it or do not want to buy them. There are alternative postures and we can also help with other cushions we have at home.
On the one hand, if we sit in a chair or armchair with armrests, we will be able to adopt a correct posture without the need for a cushion. If you look at the initial photo of the post the woman has her arms well supported on the armrest and thus relieves the tension of the neck muscles.
On the other hand, there is a third possibility, especially if we do not have a suitable chair or cushion. We sit on a low chair so that the knees are high up; this way we support our arms in the thighs and discharge the weight as well. This posture puts a little more tension on the lower back and can pinch the hip joint so we must be careful if we see that it causes discomfort in the inguinal or lumbar area.
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