Often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, chronic pain is commonplace for thousands of American women. For those who are pregnant or raising children, the challenges are immense. And as if living with chronic pain weren’t enough, the toll of parenting on top of it can be debilitating. Complicating things further is the process of breastfeeding. Thankfully, lactation experts have identified six breastfeeding positions for moms with chronic pain.
A 2012 study from The American Pain Society found that 25.3 million adults (11.2%) suffer from daily chronic pain. Irene Cullagh, an RN who has worked with mothers and babies for over 20 years and has been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 2006, tells Romper that moms with chronic pain do have hope.
“There are plenty of pain medications that are compatible with breastfeeding,” she says. “If your chronic pain condition has been treated with a medicine that is not safe for pregnancy, it may be safe for breastfeeding. Some moms with chronic pain conditions go into remission during breastfeeding.” For instance, in some mothers suffering from fibromyalgia, including writer Rita Brhel, hormones released from breastfeeding helped reduce fibromyalgia flares. For others, the pain may not be diminished, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for more comfortable breastfeeding positions.
And don’t forget, if you are uncomfortable or unsure the positioning is correct, seek the help of a Lactation specialist.