As you enter into parenthood, there seem to be a million different choices to make. Some of them start early, like will you find out the baby’s gender or wait for a surprise? Will you share names or keep them secret? Others you research meticulously like the best car seat or how to do baby-led leaning or which stroller does the most things for the best price.
Breastfeeding is another choice a mother is faced with. To breastfeed or not? If you choose to breastfeed, you might be surprised at how exactly it impacts your body. As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I see lots of new moms with upper back and neck pain that can often be linked back to their nursing habits.
Most sources estimate that breasts gain 1-3lbs during pregnancy, and that number can be even higher while nursing due to milk supply!1 That’s a significant change to your body’s structure in a very short period of time! So, it’s not surprising you might be feeling some aches or pains as you and your child start this journey together. Here are some recommendations to help avoid pain in the postpartum period.
If you’re still finding yourself with some neck or upper back aching, try these three stretches to relax the neck, chest, and upper back.
Upper trap stretch
Gently bring your ear to your shoulder and stretch for 20-30 seconds. Alternate sides and complete 3 repetitions per side, after each nursing session
Open book stretch
You should feel a stretch in your chest as well as some tension release in your upper back. Hold 5-10 seconds and repeat 10 repetitions per side before switching sides.
Thread the needle
This should feel really good between your shoulder blades. Hold 5-10 seconds and repeat for 5 repetitions per side.
If you’re still having some challenges, always feel welcome to reach out to us at 616.256.8679 or to one of our clinics to schedule an appointment.