Pumping and noticing your back is sore or in pain after your pumping sessions? First, this is quite common, and second, there are some simple things you can do to fix it! The most common cause of back pain while pumping is improper or poor posture. There’s a lot to keep track of and do when you’re pumping so its no wonder that sometimes we forget about our posture. Often, the way we carry, pick up, and take care of our babies, let alone how we sit when we’re pumping, can also lead to poor posture.
Why Our Posture Suffers
Relaxin is a hormone that starts to increase during pregnancy but it maintains higher levels while we are nursing and pumping. This hormone helps keep our skin more elastic and impacts our let down reflex while also helping our bodies rearrange and get back to our pre-pregnancy state. But it also means our joints are still likely to be a bit looser than normal. Then you have the muscles that have stretched, rearranged, and compensated for our pregnancy. Our abs are often weaker than normal, and our back and shoulder muscles may be working more than they’re used to. All of this combines for less than perfect posture.
Then we carry around a 10 plus pound baby on our chest adding extra weight to all that we’ve just described. When pumping we are often leaning forward to check on our flanges and to see how much milk we’ve expressed.
How to Fix it
Talk to a Professional
You’re hopefully already seeing a pelvic floor specialist. Talk to your physical therapist about what you can do for your posture. They may do an evaluation before providing any instruction so that they can tailor their advice and expertise to your specific needs.
Stretching was healthy for you before you became a mother, and it is most definitely healthy for you now. Focus on your upper back and shoulders to help with posture correction.
Take a look at where you are sitting when you pump. Do your feet rest comfortably on the floor? If not, grab a stool or a pillow. Next, are you comfortable sitting upright in this location? You might choose to put a pillow behind your back or your neck so that you can comfortably recline a bit. After taking a look at the place where you pump, you may have determined that this isn’t a very healthy or comfortable place for you at all. If this is the case, now you can look around for a better spot!
Set a Reminder
We have a lot on our minds, and now our pumping posture is one more thing to track. Put a Post-it on your pump, write a little reminder and stick it in the book you’re reading. Maybe leave a note in your pumping caddy with your water and other snacks. Find something that works to serve as a reminder.