Firstly the article highlights the importance for new mums who are breastfeeding to understand that it takes practice and problems such as sore nipples, mastitis and back pain are not uncommon. In support of this I recommend new mums with problems to first see a breastfeeding/lactation consultant or midwife to get some support. Although as an Osteopath - I can help you too!
This post aims to share with you the common breast feeding problems that are reported to me in practice, and explain how osteopathy can help to solve these problems and make feeding more comfortable for both you and your baby.
Common Feeding Problems
Many feeding problems are multi-factorial and there is often no one reason why difficulties occur. The most common feeding problems I tend to see include poor latching, blocked milk ducts and/or mastitis.
Blocked Milk Ducts & Mastitis
According to research, this usually occurs as a result of poor milk flow or drainage of the breasts. Symptoms can then result in the breasts becoming hard, tender and red, occasionally causing further flu-like symptoms. If this occurs it is recommended that you to speak with your midwife or see your GP for advice.
Your Baby's Latch
A poor latch is a common factor leading to breastfeeding problems such as cracked nipples and swollen breasts. There are various reasons for a poor latch however the most common include:
- functional causes, e.g. poor feeding technique or positioning, a tight or ill-fitting bra.
- mechanical problems, e.g. tightness in your babies head and neck from birth causing altered jaw or tongue mechanics.
- structural causes, e.g. tongue tie.
Feeding Causing Back Pain
Often many breast and bottle feeding mums complain of a nagging ache or tension in their neck, upper and/or lower back areas. These symptoms are typical 'problematic' areas as during the pregnancy your posture constantly changes, adapting to the increased weight and later the labour and recovery process after delivery. Many mums are so exhausted by the lack of sleep and routine that they give up on themselves and good posture goes out the window!
Correcting your posture when you feed can help with your baby's latch, aid milk flow to prevent blockage, and prevent chronic muscle soreness and fatigue in your shoulders and neck. Here are some tips to save your back whilst feeding:
Your Posture DO's & DON'Ts
- DO sit on a comfortable, supportive chair with a small pillow wedged in the small of your back: This will allow you to sit with your belly sticking forward and force you to sit at an angle so that your upper back is in a better position in contact with the chair.
- DO put your feet up: This will encourage you to sit back and not hunch forward.
- DO support your neck and relax so that you're not causing excess strain on your neck muscles.
- DO feed whilst lying on your side and support yourself with plenty of pillows so you can relax.
- DON'T lean forward and hunch over your baby.
- DON'T feed when sitting on the floor unless you have something supporting your back and are able to sit upright.
You can still buy the September issue of Mother & Baby magazine in the shops until mid October. However if you miss it you can check their website for lots of information at www.askamum.co.uk
Take a look at this link also from Mother & Baby with advice on latching technique