Is there such a thing as ‘New Parent Syndrome’? Aside from adjusting your life to the addition of another little person in your household, your body too is adjusting to being a parent. Breastfeeding, constant picking up and putting down of an ever-increasing weight, carrying a child while trying to multi-task, regularly interrupted sleep, loose joints from all those baby hormones, and being a constant pack horse by carrying a multitude of bags and baby carriers!
All these new adjustments can take their toll. At Restore, we see numerous new parents in the clinic presenting with various niggles and pain in certain areas of the body.
In a series of new blogs, we will look at each common injury/symptom, learn what the cause is, and give a few little snippets of advice in managing these issues.
The first common complaint we will look at is:
Neck and shoulder pain from feeding
As you sit, either Breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you gaze lovingly into your newborns eyes, watching they are feeding correctly. This happens four, five, six, seven, ten, twenty……or more times a day.
Without your knowing, your shoulders are becoming more ‘rounded’, they are moving forward and causing the muscles in the front of your shoulders and chest area to tighten, and the muscles in your back, between your shoulder blades, to stretch and weaken.
As you look down at your child for long periods of time, the muscles at the back of your neck are also becoming over stretched, while the muscles in the front of your neck are becoming tighter, allowing the head to sit in a forward position, a similar posture to sitting at a desk all day.
This kind of posture over time can cause pain between the shoulder blades, headaches, tight and stiff neck, pain in the front of the shoulders and chest area, even pain and numbness down the arms.
Try and sit as upright as possible. Sit in a comfortable chair with some back support.
Placing baby on a pillow or cushion can allow the baby to be more level with you, and closer to your arms for support.
Try not to look down for long periods of time. Occasional glances, smiles, loving gazes are great, but long periods of staring into those gorgeous eyes can cause pain in the neck and shoulders.
After feeding, laying on the floor over a rolled-up towel between the shoulder blades, or a foam roller, can really help reverse the effects of sitting in a stooped over position.
Chest stretches can really help too. Try walking through a door frame, but keep your arms at a 90-degree angle against the door frame and lean gently into the door gap. Or lay on a foam roller and let your arms hang out to the side.