Not many individuals or healthcare providers know that Physiotherapists can help assist breastfeeding mums.
Physiotherapists who specialise in Women's Health are well placed to manage the common problems that arise during breastfeeding such as; mastitis, engorgement, blocked ducts, headaches and muscular aches associated with positioning.
Breastfeeding can be an emotional and stressful experience for some mothers, which can affect their babies latch and positioning causing such issues listed above. As a Women Health Physiotherapist we aim to work with the mother to meet their goals and assist to make breastfeeding a positive experience.
How Physiotherapists can help?
Therapeutic Ultrasound which greatly assists in reducing the inflammation of the breast.
Lymphatic drainage massage
Advice on further reducing inflammation, prevention of mastitis.
Exercises for helping relieve muscular aches due to positioning
Postural Correcting for Breastfeeding
Hands on therapy to relieve muscular concerns.
Tips to manage breastfeeding:
Position yourself comfortably
Prop yourself up into that comfortable position with as many pillows as possible.
If you don't have a breastfeeding pillow - use a boomerang pillow instead.
Try and relax your shoulders whilst breastfeeding to prevent shoulder/neck tension.
If you are starting to experience aching shoulders/neck apply a heat pack to the area while breastfeeding.
If your finding it hard to maintain posture (during cluster feeds) try breastfeeding lying on your side.
Perform these stretches in between feeds or when needed.
With uncomfortable engorged breasts, massage in a hot shower and hand express, until comfortable.
Exercises to help reduce muscular aches/pains while breastfeeding:
Upper Trap Stretch
Place the hand on the symptomatic side under your chair.
Take your other hand and place it on your head.Tilt your ear directly down towards your shoulder and hold this position.
You should feel a stretch down the side of your neck
Hold for 30seconds
Clasp your hands together and hold them in front of your body.
Push your arms as far forward as you can whilst rounding your shoulder blades.Gently drop your chin down to your chest.
Hold this position while you feel a stretch between your shoulder blades.
Hold for 30seconds
Thoracic Rotation Stretch
Straighten your arms out in front of your body with one arm on top of the other.
Slowly rotate through your spine, lowering your top arm to the opposite side.
Perform 10 rotations each side