Most new mothers are so pre-occupied with their new little poop factories that they forget to worry about themselves. Many women end up with back pain after giving birth and this is due to new physical demands of being a mother. The most physically demanding task is lifting and carrying the baby. A new mother can lift her 7-10lb baby up to 50 times per day. This weight increases to approximately 17-20lbs by one year of age. It is important for mothers (and fathers) to maintain proper postures when dealing with their screaming bundle of joy. This also applies for breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests the following 10 ways for new mothers to prevent back pain after birth.
Focusing specifically on Breastfeeding:
There are 4 primary positions for breastfeeding.
Any of these positions, if performed properly, should keep the mother’s back safe and prevent injury or fatigue. It is more important to adhere to the following recommendations, regardless of position.
• Make sure your arms and back are well supported. Sit in a straight back chair, use pillows behind the back, or under the arms.
• Try using a pillow under the baby. This will help bring the baby to the breast without forcing the mother to lean forward.
• Mother and baby should be chest to chest. Keep the baby on their side, except in the football position, where the baby is on their back.
• The baby’s mouth should be facing the nipple. Bring the baby to the nipple, don’t lean over or push the nipple into the baby’s mouth.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Preventing Back Pain: Tips for New Moms.” . February, 2002.
Toronto Public Health Handout. “Breastfeeding Your Baby.” November, 2004.