On Wednesday I could feel the headache coming, the niggle was moving up my upper back and into my neck. By Wednesday evening I had a full blown tension headache that lasted two days. I get annoyed with myself when this happens because I know have left things go way to far and I should know better.
Feeding babies can bring with it many tensions that manifest in trigger points in the neck and head. I used to get bad tension headaches when I was feeding Beau (my first born). As a new mom, starting to breastfeed, sore nipples are common and often you have no clue about what you’re doing. In these early days you are grateful of a good latch, any latch actually. You are afraid to move an inch once that little baby latches on because if they have to re-latch it can be quite painful or worse the baby gets frustrated and gets upset.
Beau had a tongue tie but I was told it was not an issue if she could breastfeed. And she could but I now know, she, and I, could have been way more comfortable if we had gotten it done sooner. We left it be until we noticed it impeding her speech at two and a half. Now that was a very traumatic ordeal for me because she had to go under general anesthetic. Anyway, this time round I knew to trust my instincts and get it sorted asap.
With Robyn, after an assessment with the lactation nurse we got it cut at 9 days. The difference the release it gave both her and me when feeding her was immense.
Before we got it done she was killing me. My nipples were so sore and I was afraid every time she latched on to my right boob. I was bracing myself and not budging for fear it would hurt more. So while I was trying to do the right thing here to save the pain in my boob, I just transferred the discomfort to my upper shoulders, head and neck. Bad breastfeeding posture is so bad for you because it causes repetitive strains.
Which led me to today… and a 2 hour massage from a trusted practitioner who spent all that time releasing various trigger points. Even though the pain ended up in my head and on the right side of my neck, the most painful spot was my thoracic spine or mid back. Dear lord, it hurt like hell when he was rubbing it out. Every rub was like a sharp blade. While I pride myself in being able to take a hard massage, today was tough, and I feel bruised but it’s all for the better good.
So whats my point (and this goes if you are bottle feeding too) … support your body, choose a comfy chair with arm rests, sit up straight, prop yourself up. Don’t bend forward to the baby, bring the baby to your breast not the other way round. Relax, breath and enjoy this precious time with your baby.
Oh and make sure you book in for a massage every couple of weeks if you can. Even one a couple of weeks post birth is a key step to postnatal recovery – it will realign the body to get the blood flowing into the muscles. It will also get those muscles back to their correct length so that the pelvic floor, diastasis recti or section scar can start to heal.