How to Avoid Back Pain when Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is not always easy at first: the nipple can crack, mastitis can occur … sometimes even baby refuses the breast!

In short, the beginnings are challenging and rarely leave time to think about adopting a good posture. But after a few weeks/months of breastfeeding the pain start to appear and make it even more challenging…

Additionally, a good posture is often the solution to these issues (cracked nipples, mastitis, difficulty for the baby to take the nipple…).

What are the good breastfeeding position?

1# The classic position:

Good BreastFeeding Position: Baby breastfeeding with mumy sitting

You are sitting at 90° with baby lying on your lap.
The usual mistake is to bend your back, with one hand to support the baby’s head a little higher and, with the other hand, bring the nipple into the baby’s mouth,

Why is this a problem?

Your 2 hands are not relaxed, you will tense if the feeding lasts. Your back is hunched, your shoulders are rolled up to bring you closer to baby.  

Then, as baby grow, you will end up having 5/6 pounds (or more) to carry at arm’s length!!

For baby is not ideal either, his head is supported only by your hand that does not completely cover his neck. He will also tense, clenching his jaw and not swallowing the nipple completely.

That’s how the nipple cracks appear!

How do I adopt a good Breastfeeding Position?

Your lower back should be in a relaxed position but not vaulted: sitting cross-legged or sitting against a wall (or a hard support not to fall in) with legs outstretched.

Place a nursing pillow on your lap so that the baby’s body and head are on the same line. Then slide a small cushion between your knees and the nursing pillow at the level of the baby’s head to raise slightly the latter.  

Your hand (active breast side) will slightly support to turn the baby’s head (the main support is the nursing pillow, the hand turns the head to access the nipple).

Your baby must be high enough to reach the breast without having to hold your breast.

If this is not the case, add a blanket or a cushion between your knees and the nursing pillow.

2# The “rest” position: lying on the side

Good BreastFeeding Position: Baby breastfeeding with mumy lying on her side

This one is my favorite! We are not tensed, we can do pelvic floor exercises (!!), mom and baby look in the eyes, mom can rest a little.

Mom is in siren position! That is lying on the side, his head resting on his arm bends (possibly with a cushion between arm and head if it is more comfortable).

knees are bent to relax the lower back.
Baby position could not be simpler: he is also on the side his head facing his Mom. His body must be glued to chest of mom so that the two bellies are in contact.

A classic mistake: baby is on the back with just the head turned to the breast. As in the sitting position, baby can not relax its jaw and can not catch the nipple properly. Nipple cracks on the horizon!

3# The position of rugby player:

Good BreastFeeding Position: Baby breastfeeding with mumy sitting legs crossed

Personally, I do not find it obvious. However, from a suction point of view, it is ideal when a Nipple Cracks are already installed. Additionally, it is essential to alternate positions.

Mom sits cross-legged with a stand at her side (big cushion or armrest).

Baby is lying on his back on the support (it is necessary to adjust it so that the baby’s head is at breast height).

Breastfeeding side Mommy’s Arm supports baby’s belly as one would hold a rugby ball during an attack.

The opposite arm supports the baby’s head to move towards the nipple.

Unfortunately, in this position, it is necessary to support the head of the baby as much as possible so the opposite shoulder to breast side will be slightly rolled up.

The secret is to have a support (armrest, cushion) for the arm that supports the baby’s head so as not to collapse completely.

Other advices to Prevent Breastfeeding Back Pain?

There are of course many others breastfeeding position but they are my favourites.

The best advice I can give you is to change position regularly, always be comfortable while breastfeeding (if you feel crunching, your baby will be too).

The moment of feeding must be a moment of sharing and connections with your baby, each of you 2 must be relaxed to enjoy it.

The Leache League is a gold mine of breastfeeding questions, go take a look. Or don’t hesitate to Contact Us to book an appointment with our Midwife Specialised in breastfeeding issues.

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