Breastfeeding, as defined by the State of World Mother’s Report in 2012, is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from the female human breast rather than using infant formular from a feeding bottle or other container .
Musculoskeletal pain affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. It can last for a short while or for very long periods of time,can be localized in one area or widespread and can be experienced by anyone.
A breastfeeding mother may complain of pain in the shoulder, neck or low back , ever wondered why? Studies have attributed it to the reduced integrity of a woman’s musculoskeletal system after child birth, due to the physiological changes that occur in pregnancy, ; others state that because breastfeeding causes a woman to assume many different awkward positions, it could lead to loading of structures and result in mechanical deformation of normal soft tissues.
This informs an opinion that it is important for breastfeeding mothers to know and practice the right posture for breastfeeding to prevent the occurrence of any such pain. The woman should sit in a comfortable chair to feed the baby, one with great back support; using a stool to rest her feet will also help with good posture and prevent the mother from straining the neck and shoulder. A good breastfeeding pillow is also recommended for getting the baby in proper position to suck well .
The Baby Friendly Initiative launched by the WHO and UNICEF in 2012 endorsed correct and proper breastfeeding holds, they include:
1. Cross cradle hold– most helpful for mothers right after birth until they get more confidence in getting their baby latched correctly .
2. Cradle hold – often used after the baby is a few weeks old and the mother is more confident in breastfeeding .
3. Football hold – great for a mother who had caesarean birth and for women with large breasts
In summary, it is important that women attend ante-natal clinic and where possible ask to practice the right breastfeeding posture in these classes. It does not just end there, it is very important that women practice the correct posture when breastfeeding to prevent any musculoskeletal pain.