Many new moms are looking at alternative methods to assist with their breastfeeding experience. Yoga is an ancient science from the Eastern sphere and provides the practitioner with many useful asana, or physical postures, which stimulate optimum performance of the body and the discreet systems enabling the body to operate.
According to the research academic breastfeeding site, kellymom.com, there is a way to incorporate simple aspects of yoga to enhance and ease your breastfeeding.
Once you are comfortable with lying on your side to nurse, perhaps you would now like to be able to nurse off the top of your breast so that you don’t have to change sides (this could be helpful when lying in bed at night). Here is where ’Lactation Yoga’ for breastfeeding moms comes in to play. The position can take some getting used to however, once you are comfortable then the ease it offers is well worth the initial effort.
“This works best if the baby has drained the bottom breast first; for this discussion let’s assume left side. Trying this when the left side is not drained can be uncomfortable, and might lead to plugged ducts,” says author and mom Eva Lyford.
“When nursing a young baby on the ‘bottom’ (left) breast remember that you have to prop baby on baby’s side with a small pillow or rolled towel. (Older babies may do fine without.) To nurse off the ‘top’ (right) breast take the prop away so baby is on their back again, then lean over the baby a bit. Then, the baby should now face upwards, instead of to the side like when nursing on the left breast,” Eva explains.
“Roll forwards a bit so that your shoulders and pelvis are now tipped slightly forward, at about a 60 degree angle or so from the bed. I find it sometimes helpful to put my ‘top’ arm straight out, pointing towards the headboard for balance. Bend and move your right leg out to provide more stability.”
Placing your right hand on the other side of the baby will offer you more support. You will feel the need for this if your baby is still very little or you are too far forward.
Release your left arm from wanting to support your head by holding it up and straighten the arm out on the bed or you can bend it to form a pillow for the head.
Align your neck with your spinal column by gently tucking the chin inwards. Be gentle with your movements and be honest with how your body feels to you. Alignment is a large aspect of yoga asana, and this is done to be free from unnecessary strain and possible injuries or pain.
“When done as I’ve described, my baby does not have trouble breathing and is not actually under me. I’ve found this works better with an older baby (after about 3 months or so) because of their greater muscle control,” she says.
It is important to note that this is known as an alternative, or rather, supportive, therapy and is not intended to replace any prescribed medication and/or doctors recommendations. The twist that occurs in the back is an area of question for many chiropractors, and physical therapists.
Eva closes off by saying; “…it is essentially the same as positions that I have used while doing yoga for years, except that I’m nursing. If you feel at any time that your baby will not be safe in this position, then don’t do it.”