by Somaliah Williams, LMT

Mom Posture: Balancing the Physical Side of Breastfeeding with Manual Therapy

I just could not let August breeze by without the recognition of Breastfeeding Awareness Month. As new moms, we’re under so much pressure to achieve Magna Cum Laude in the “best mother” sector of being human that we often neglect the most important aspect of the equation: ourselves and our bodies.

Postpartum Massage: Benefits for your Body

Postpartum massage can be a crucial to maintaining a healthy body and mind. There have been numerous studies that have shown the benefits of massage during the postpartum period such as:

Lets talk body, lets talk posture

While nursing, even bottle feeding and carrying our newborn many of us develop mom posture. This mom posture often involves slumped shoulders, a hunched upper back, tight pecs, forward head posture, and a flat (lower) back. Technically speaking, it’s what we in the health field call Musculoskeletal Dysfunction (MSD); Upper Cross Syndrome and a Posterior Tilt to be specific. This type of MSD can manifest with pain in the lower back, between the scapula, tight upper traps and neck muscles which can also lead to headaches. A detailed postpartum medical massage will aim to restore proper function in the structures including joints, ligaments, tendons and muscle. Restoring proper muscle balance is crucial in addressing this issue and stretches should also be given to help strengthen the muscles that have been weakened and overstretched. Yoga is also an excellent addition to receiving a massage and will address postural misalignments as well as muscle imbalances.

What About Breast Massage?

Studies show that Breast Massage is also an amazing way to address common complications that come along with nursing such as:

  • Clogged Duct
  • Engorgement
  • Mastitis (can be caused by the above two or bacteria)
  • Mammary Constriction Syndrome (new hypothesis from IBCLC)

The most common cause of the above mentioned is your babies latch. A breast massage can resolve a clogged duct, engorgement and mastitis. But for Mammary Constriction Syndrome a specific type of pectoral massage is prescribed. According to Edith Kernerman and Eileen Park of IBCLC, MSD is caused by vasospasm. Vasospasm is the constriction of blood vessels. This constriction brings us back around to posture. Tight pectoral muscles can impede on the blood vessels of the breast leading to a reduction in blood flow to breast and nipples. MSD is characterized by dull or sharp pain in the nipples and or chest which can be debilitating. A breast massage or pectoral/chest massage can be performed by yourself but for best results it is recommended that you seek a massage therapist.

Your visit to Yinova will include a tailored treatment with instructional stretches and self-massage techniques for you to take home and administer pre and post feeding.

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