Breastfeeding can take a toll on the body, especially the lower back. Below, Sarah Fulop-Furlano, IBCLC a lactation consultant with Dignity Health Medical Group — Dominican shares tips for proper breastfeeding positions to protect your back, and help keep you and baby as comfortable as possible.
Tips to Protect Your Back
- Sit with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Having a nursing stool can be helpful for this, especially if the chair or couch you're sitting on doesn't allow your feet to touch the ground. If you don't have a nursing stool, any foot stool can be used to achieve this. Placing a pillow behind your back can also help keep your back and knees in the proper position.
- Bring your baby up to your level. Make sure that you are bringing your baby to your breast versus hunching over to bring your breast to your baby. A combination of bed and couch pillows or a breastfeeding pillow can help achieve this.
- Try lying on your side with your bottom arm stretched over your head to support your back while you recline. A thin pillow may be comfortable underneath your head, as it will support your neck and head. Placing a pillow between the knees in this position as well as a pillow behind the back supports the whole body, allowing you to fully relax. In this position, the baby should lay on the bed facing you with their nose level with your nipple.
- Recline tummy to tummy with your baby. This is another position that helps take strain off your lower back. Use pillows to support your arms and head while you recline. You'll want to play around with different types of pillows until you find the perfect combination for your body. Just like the side lying position, your body should feel completely relaxed and free of strain or tension.
- Change your feeding position from time to time. And, as cute as your baby is, remember to change your gaze during the feeding session. Looking down at the baby for the entire feeding session can put strain on the neck and lead to you hunching over, straining your neck and back.
A lactation consultant is a certified health care professional who specializes in breastfeeding. They help parents and infants with issues like milk supply, and breastfeeding positions. For more breastfeeding tips and resources, find a Dignity Health lactation consultant near you with our Find a Doctor Tool.