Breastfeeding helps build a strong connection between mother and baby. Yet, this experience also has some potential for pain if you don’t do it properly.
One of the most common breastfeeding-related health problems is back pain. Most of the time, the reason behind this pain is the posture you have adopted while breastfeeding or pumping. However, there are still many other possible causes for this pain.
Consider the following measures if you want to know all the possible reasons and ways to relieve back pain while pumping.
Why Does Your Back Hurt When Pumping?
Before solving the back pain when pumping milk, we need to understand its cause. Determining the cause of the pain helps the treatment go more smoothly.
1. Excessive Weight
Pregnancy can cause a mother to gain weight uncontrollably. This extra weight also causes uncomfortable aches and pains in the long run.
Gaining too much weight puts a lot of pressure on your back and heavier it. In addition, they also affect the appearance and self-esteem of women.
2. Labor After Effects
After giving birth, it is common to have back pain and aches in other parts of the body. Giving birth will put a lot of pressure and trauma on the mother’s body, so postpartum sequelae can affect her health.
Fortunately, this back pain lasts only a few days after giving birth. They are natural reactions, so you don’t need to worry too much.
3. Improper Breast Support
During the first six months after giving birth, your breasts will grow larger. For those who already have heavy breasts from the beginning, the discomfort will increase even more.
A sudden increase in body weight can pressure your spine, neck, shoulder blade position, and breathing mechanism. Therefore, chest support is necessary. Your neck and back muscles will be overstretched and weakened every time you bend over without proper care.
4. Wrong Pumping Posture
Sitting is the preferred posture when breastfeeding or going through a pumping session. However, with the high frequency of pumping that the mother has to perform during the day, this habit has potential health hazards.
This posture puts a significant load on the mother’s back in the long run. The muscles in the back will stretch as the mother holds her baby in her lap and looks down at them.
This load will put pressure on the back muscles to feel tired, and strong spasms create pain. When you repeat a pose every day, the pain increases.
Ways to Prevent Back Pain While Breast Pumping
Once you understand the reasons behind your back pain while pumping, it’s time to face and deal with it.
1. Using a Timer for Posture Checking
Before starting a pumping session, you should set a timer to remind you to check your posture. Holding the same posture for too long will unintentionally pressure the body. Good advice is to adjust it every five minutes.
Many mothers have a bad habit of leaning forward and bending over the phone when using a breast pump. You should limit how often you use your phone to reduce the pain while pumping. Instead, relax and look up at the ceiling.
2. Stretching Before Pumping
Get in the habit of stretching your arms and shoulders before using the breast pump. It will help relax the body and create a more comfortable feeling.
When pumping, the most comfortable posture is lying on your side or your back. Try lying down while pumping, and you will instantly be addicted to the sensation.
According to La Leche League, when you lie on your back or lie on your side for nursing or pumping, your neck and back muscles relax to relieve stress on your body.
While the breast pump is working hard against gravity in this position, it will work better.
3. Use a Footstool
You can rest your feet on a footstool while sitting in the chair and pumping. This device will correct your posture, so you don’t lean forward too much.
For more support, you can add a pillow behind your back. Or, if you have a big budget, buy a recliner for your nursery room. The recliner will give you more relaxing times while pumping.
4. Taking Advantage Of Pillows
The nursing pillow is great support for your upper and lower body. The most substantial advantage of the pillow is its solid construction and feels support behind your back.
As your baby goes through infancy, a nursing pillow can support the baby through feeding sessions. This way, you won’t have to bend over too much during nursing and won’t suffer from back pain while pumping.
5. Taking Different Pumping Locations
Mothers will likely have six to seven pumping sessions per day. It will be very boring if you just sit still all the time.
You should change the pump location in each session. Recommended areas include couches, floors, beds, or rocking chairs.
You can even stand to relieve pressure on your back. Electric breast pumps don’t need to be plugged into the wall allowing moms to cook or wash dishes between sessions.
6. Switching Positions
Changing the position is also another adjustment that effectively relieves back pain. Constantly changing positions will help your muscles not get tired.
One simple change you can make is to sit cross-legged and relax. Sometimes, sitting cross-legged on the floor also brings positive changes.
These small changes are insignificant and take only a few seconds to complete. However, its effect is extremely remarkable.
7. Try a New Breast Pump
As noted above, lying down during a pumping session has great benefits in reducing back pain. To do this posture, you will need the support of a special breast pump. This breast pump can have a longer cord, be cordless (battery-powered), or be lighter in weight. It will help you pump in any position and anywhere.
Be persistent in making these ergonomic adjustments. Day by day, you will notice positive changes in your body.
8. Staying Hydrated
During the hectic process of motherhood, many people may forget to drink enough water each day.
According to Spine Universe, dehydration is one of the main causes of back pain in women after giving birth. This condition will also wear down the discs in your spinal vertebrae in the long run.
When you breastfeed or pump, your body loses a lot of fluid. Therefore, you need to replenish an adequate amount of water every day.
If the bland taste of water doesn’t interest you, add some flavor by soaking fruits. It will make you feel better and help with the back pain while breast pumping.
9. Taking Ibuprofen
For immediate pain relief, you might consider taking ibuprofen. This medication works to reduce inflammation in the body and takes effect 30 minutes to an hour after taking a dose.
Remember that taking medicine is not the first solution to every problem. However, it will be effective with severe pain.
10. Trying Hot Compress
In case of back strain and severe pain, experts recommend that nursing moms apply heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Hot compresses will help relieve spasms in a short time.
11. Taking A Nap
Getting enough sleep and rest is important for any mother, especially when you’ve just given birth.
It is extremely difficult to find quiet time during this period. Therefore, consider resting and relaxing while your baby is sleeping. It is easy to see that a well-rested and relaxed body is less prone to back pain.
You should massage your neck and back after each pumping. This action will help relax and soothe the muscles.
If you’re still experiencing pain after taking the steps above, talk to your physical therapist or doctor. They can do a more thorough assessment of your health condition and offer a reasonable solution.
13. Exercising Regularly
Sudden changes in hormones and weight during pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause back pain. The key to solving this problem is strengthening and stretching the back muscles with light exercises to keep the body strong.
You may not have much time to go to the gym for so long, but a five-minute walk between feeds will also help. However, it is better to practice some gentle stretching exercises. You can spend one to two minutes every day in your free time practicing.
Some simple but effective stretching exercises include:
Cat and Camel
The pose begins with four legs. Relax your back gently so that your belly drops to the floor as you exhale.
Push your middle back toward the ceiling in an arch as you inhale. Pause in that position and then exhale so that your belly slowly touches the floor.
You should repeat this movement for 30 seconds.
Chin Tuck Stretch
Notice the muscles from the back of the neck to between the shoulder blades. Then, gently stretch these parts.
Look down at your toes and relax your head. Place your hands behind your head and gently pull down until the muscles are gently stretched. Hold this movement for 30 seconds.
Roll up a towel tightly into a log and place it on the floor. Lie down and put the towel across your ribs with your face up toward the ceiling.
As your back gently arches over the towel, relax completely. You can also lift part of the towel if it feels too stiff.
While relaxing, inhale slowly and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat this movement with the towel across your arm and shoulder blades.
New moms still have many questions surrounding breast pumping and breastfeeding. If you are one of them, continue reading below.
Is It OK To Lean Back While Pumping?
Leaning back while pumping is strongly recommended. Also, you can add the necessary back support to relieve your abdomen and back pressure during rest.
Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable recliner or chair during pumping. Using a hands-free bra also makes it much easier to rest.
If you worry that falling asleep suddenly will cause milk to spill out, spill-proof bags will completely solve that problem.
How Can You Strengthen Your Back After Pregnancy?
Postpartum back pain is a terrifying pain that no mother wants to experience. There are many reasons leading to this problem that you have learned above.
Back pain is extremely uncomfortable, and many mothers want to find ways to prevent this problem. However, it would be best to be careful before the following advice from others. The safest solution is to contact the doctor directly and get their specific advice.
Do simple exercises if your body is still healthy and does not need any urgent treatment. They will help strengthen your back after giving birth.
The most popular exercise for women is the cat and camel pose. It helps strengthen the muscles in the lower back to relieve uncomfortable cramps.
Can Epidural Cause Back Pain Years Later?
Many believe that an epidural will lead to severe back pain soon after. However, this belief is unfounded.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists suggests there is no reliable link between low back pain and epidural. Women can also experience back pain after labor and delivery even if they don’t have an epidural.
These pains are because of the displacement of the ligaments in the pelvis back to their original position. When they come back in line, your back can hurt.
However, epidurals can still cause some temporary side effects in the body. If the needle is inserted into the skin, it will cause temporary soreness but disappear after a few days.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you can understand the reasons and ways to fix back pain while pumping.
Depending on your free time and personal condition, choose the most suitable methods for you. Everyone should take measures such as adopting the right posture, drinking enough water, or getting enough rest.
Consult your doctor to find out the best way to deal with back and neck pain. If you have any other great tips, don’t forget to share them below.