Breastfeeding Positions For A Healthy Back Exist & Can Save You Some Real Pain

Ad failed to load

Breastfeeding can be a real pain — literally. I breastfed my children each for more than a year, with my oldest child breastfeeding continuously for almost two years. I experienced more than a few aches and pains for my trouble. Breastfeeding was the first time in my life when I stood up after sleeping and everything made a noise. I didn't even know some of those areas could crack audibly, but they did. I was a uniquely lazy breastfeeder when it came to positioning, which was my mistake. Turns out, there are breastfeeding positions for a healthy back that might require forethought, but are no more difficult than what you may already be doing. (Plus they're far superior.)

Hunching your back and holding your baby without support can lead to bad posture and pain, according to The Chiropractic Place. It's essential that posture and spinal alignment be considered when positioning your child to breastfeed. This can be difficult to balance when you're also trying to optimize your child's ability to nurse effectively and easily. According to the article, you need to bring your baby to your breast, not the other way around, that way you avoid hunching and neck pain. You also need to have your baby's weight properly supported and at the correct height for your breastfeeding needs.

Ad failed to load

I spoke with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Mina Rorcharshky, and she tells Romper that the best breastfeeding positions for a healthy back keep the spine neutral. "Consider lying on your side while you breastfeed or leaning back and lying your child stomach to stomach on top of your breasts." Rorcharsky notes that every breastfeeding mom at some point is going to get lazy with their hold and likely get a bit of strain and discomfort. It's a universal truth of breastfeeding as it were, but that it shouldn't be an everyday occurrence.

Additionally, there are tricks you can use to remind yourself to straighten up while nursing. "If you're seated, sit in a chair with a good, tall back in it, and pull your shoulders back so that your lower back spreads across the chair. Do this a few times every session. If you're nursing in a prone position, take a few deep breaths while you're breastfeeding your baby and feel where your body hits the surface you're laying on." She finds that this can be a good reminder of how your posture relates to comfort. "A football hold can allow for more stretching and a straighter back than having your baby in front of you, and doesn't encourage you to cross your legs as much, straining your back." I'd honestly never considered how often I did cross my legs while breastfeeding. It was probably almost every time.

Ad failed to load

I'm not going to lie. Between my first child and my second, this level of supporting your baby's weight and having them at the correct height was probably lowered by a few notches. I'm picturing an office chair as a breastfeeding pillow, and the more children I breastfeed, the lower that chair goes. But half (OK, more than half) of the time, I just sort of yanked out a nipple and held my kids to it while they were sort of haphazardly adjusted on a flattened Boppy pillow. This was probably the cause of my burning lower back and near permanent hunch I had while breastfeeding. I was too tired to consider options and not enlightened enough to ask questions. It was not my finest hour and I'm still paying for it.

Hopefully you find a comfortable and relaxing position for both you and your baby and can avoid the tricky burning back and creaking joints I suffered from while breastfeeding. Try out a few positions, see how they feel, and go from there. Just remember, keep the spine neutral.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills