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11 Tips To Correct Back Pain While Pumping

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11 tips to correct back pain while pumping. copyright 2019

I was shocked by the amount of back pain that I experienced when I first started pumping. My back, shoulders, and neck were constantly sore. I spoke with a lactation consultant and some of my other mom friends who had pumped to get their advice on how to pump with less pain.

So, how do you fix back pain while pumping? The best way to fix back, neck and shoulder pain while pumping is to be aware of your posture. Try changing positions while pumping and stretch after each session. Some items I used to correct pain were: pillows, a footstool, heating pads, and angled flanges. Ibuprofen and drinking water also helped.

I found a few techniques and ways to set up my pumping station that eventually reduced the amount of back pain I had while pumping.

The Best Way To Fix Back Pain While Pumping Milk

Here are the tweaks I made to my pumping sessions to fix my back pain while pumping.

Tip #1 – Set A Timer While Pumping To Check Posture

When I started pumping, I set a timer for five minutes into the session. At the five minute mark, I would do a mental check on my posture. I made sure I was aware if I was slouching and made an effort to sit up straight.

I found that as I was pumping, I’d started a bad habit of leaning forward and reading on my phone. Whenever I noticed that I was on my phone, I would put it down and take a break to look up at the ceiling.

Tip #2 – Stretch Before Each Pumping Session

Before and after each pumping session, I started stretching and raising my hands up in the air. Changing positions while pumping also helped. I would carefully stand up in the middle of each session to give my back a break. This was possible because I always used a hands-free pumping bra with my Spectra.

Tip #3 – Use A Footstool While Pumping

When I sat in a chair during pump sessions, I put my feet up on a footstool. This helped my position so I wasn’t slouching forward as much. I also started using a nursing pillow behind my back.

Tip #4 – Use Pillows To Support Your Back While Pumping

The nursing pillow helped give my lower and upper back support. The best part about this pillow was that it was firm and felt great behind my back.

It did double duty to prop my baby up for feeding sessions as she passed the newborn stage. Here is a link to the pillow that I loved to use while pumping.

Tip #5 – Change The Location Of Your Pumping Sessions

Another tip that I tried was to change the location where I pumped. If I pumped six sessions per day, I would do two of my pumping sessions seated on the couch.

Then, I would pump during two sessions seated on the floor and two sessions seated in the rocking chair in my daughter’s room.

After I bought a pump where I didn’t need to be plugged into the wall, I started pumping while standing in the kitchen washing bottles.

Tip #6 – Switch Positions While Pumping

Another ergonomic tweak I made to help reduce back pain was to switch positions. Changing position while pumping helped to keep my muscles from getting fatigued.

One thing I did was switch between crossing and uncrossing my legs. Occasionally I would try switching it up and sitting cross-legged on the floor. I would also try pumping with one or both legs straight out in front of me, just to make sure I was in a different position.

Tip #7 – Try A Different Pump To Prevent Leaning Forward While Pumping

One thing that helped fix my back pain almost instantly was switching from my regular pump to this amazing pump (link to Amazon). The pump allows you to be in any position while you are pumping, including laying down. 

All of these tweaks greatly helped to reduce the ergonomic pain I felt while pumping. After a few days of implementing these changes, my back, neck, and shoulders started feeling much better.

One great option is to check out the Willow pump where you can lay back while pumping. They run promotions frequently and you can find the best deals by clicking here.

You can also find more info about the Willow this article I wrote: Is the Willow Worth It? (Pros and Cons).

Tip #8 – Stay Hydrated To Reduce Back Pain While Pumping

I found a few other tips and tricks to help any back pain I experienced while pumping. Occasionally, I would notice that I felt more back pain when I did not drink enough water throughout the day.

Being slightly dehydrated was not good for my body or milk production. I started drinking out of a large water bottle and making sure that I filled it up at least 4 times during the day.

I would fill it up in the morning and try to drink half of it before breakfast. My next goal was to finish the water bottle before lunchtime.

Tip #9 – Take Ibuprofen To Reduce Back Pain While Pumping

Another tip which gave me immediate relief was taking ibuprofen. Ibuprofen helps to reduce inflammation in the body, and I would notice relief within 30 minutes to an hour after taking a dose.

I didn’t want to take medicine all the time, but it was worth it when the pain was intense.

Tip #10 – Massage Your Neck And Back After Pumping

After each of my pumping sessions, I started massaging my upper neck and back. This helped to loosen up and relax my muscles. I used a heating pad on my lower back which gave me a lot of relief, especially at the beginning.

If you still are having back pain after making these tweaks, discuss your back pain with your doctor, a physical therapist, or a chiropractor.

They may be able to assess if your muscles are out of alignment and make suggestions on how to reduce some of your back pain.

As time went on, and I was more aware of having a better ergonomic position, I needed the heating pad and ibuprofen much less frequently.

What Causes Back Pain While Pumping Milk?

When I was trying different techniques to fix my back pain, I discovered a few common causes of back pain while pumping.

The first cause of back pain while pumping was due to poor posture. This caused the majority of my back pain problems in the beginning.

I had so many things to worry about with pumping and caring for a newborn. I didn’t even consider that I was in a bad ergonomic position until it already caused me to have sore muscles.

The next major cause of back pain because I held tension in my muscles while pumping. Without even realizing it, I was keeping my muscles tense.

To help combat the tension, I would set a timer for halfway through my pumping session. When the timer went off, I would do a relaxation exercise.

Tip #11 – Try Relaxation Exercises While Pumping To Reduce Tension In Your Back

This might sound a little off the wall, but the relaxation exercise I did was to start by closing my eyes. I started at the top of my head and tried to be mindful if I had any tension in my body from top to bottom.

I’d begin with my eyes, then move down to my jaw, neck, and then to my shoulders. If I noticed any tension in each part of my body, I would concentrate on releasing that tension.

Then I would continue down the rest of my body through my back, core, legs, calves, and toes. As a bonus, relaxing your body in this way may also help you to pump more milk.

If you think about it, holding your muscles tense can make them very fatigued.

For example, if you are exercising and you hold your arm tense in a bicep curl for 15 minutes, your bicep will be very sore afterward. The same thing can happen if you are holding your back or shoulder muscles tense each time you pump.

Residual Back Pain Due To Labor And Delivery or Due To Epidural

After speaking with my OB/GYN, I also discovered that it was normal to have residual back pain from labor and delivery, or from an epidural.

When I gave birth to my daughter I ended up with a c-section. Thankfully I was able to be awake during the c-section, but I had an epidural to numb my lower body. When I had a large bruise on my back from my epidural

I hope that these tips and tricks I shared above will help you during your pumping journey.

Related Questions

Can I Lean Back While Pumping?

It is possible to lean back while pumping. Leaning back is easier if you prop a firm pillow behind your back and you use a hands-free bra while pumping. There is also a special pump that enables you to lean back during your pumping session.

Here is a link to the pump that was a game changer in my pumping experience.

What If I Am Experiencing Cramps And Back Pain While Pumping?

Cramps and back pain during the first few days and weeks postpartum are common while pumping. This is because your uterus is contracting back to its pre-pregnancy size, and nursing or pumping can bring on these contractions.

If you are concerned about this pain, it is a good idea to call your doctor so he or she may assess if it is normal.

Disclaimer: This is by no means meant to stand in place of advice from your doctor or IBCLC. If you are having a problem or have a concern, it is always best to speak to your doctor. If your condition worsens, please consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

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woman stretching her back with arms in the air. Experiencing back pain while pumping breast milk? Try these 11 tips to fix it. copyright 2019

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