Do you know all the ways your Women’s Health Physiotherapist (WH Physio) can help you and your little one on your breastfeeding journey?
Let me fill you in on how we can assist on one of the hardest to navigate but most rewarding journeys you will encounter on your motherhood adventure.
Firstly, whenever we talk about breastfeeding, we focus on both mum and her baby/babies. Luckily, Women's Health Physios have extensive anatomical knowledge and the skills to restore the body back to normal function, so we are in a unique position to treat both parties if required. Pair this with the advice of an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and it’s a winning combination.
Mums, when should you seek help from a Women's Health Physiotherapist for Breastfeeding?
There are a whole host of common symptoms/conditions that can arise during a breastfeeding journey that WH Physios can address for you without interrupting your feeding process.
- Breast inflammation and pain in the form of blocked ducts, engorgement and mastitis can be treated through breast massage, therapeutic ultrasound, positioning advice and kinesiotaping. Treatment with the therapeutic ultrasound is usually completed three days in a row and it is best to feed baby or pump within 20 mins of this treatment for optimal results. When caught and treated early, there is a greater chance of avoiding antibiotics or abscess formation.
- Skin integrity issues like painful cracked nipples are easily solved with photobiomodulation (LASER) therapy. This treatment is pain free, fast and a real game changer especially if you are suffering from long term wounds on the nipple.
- Musculoskeletal pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and back is a common breastfeeding complaint that WH Physios can treat. We also take into consideration discomfort from a c-section scar or perineal stitches and advise on best positions to alleviate discomfort throughout your whole body.
- Advise you on returning to exercise safely, correct bra fitting, pelvic floor/abdominal rehabilitation and optimal bladder and bowel function.
- Returning to intimacy when you are breastfeeding can be tricky as you may have pain with intercourse, vaginal dryness, leaky breasts, or sensitivity to touch and WH Physios can help you with this.
- A listening ear! Breastfeeding is complex and can be a hard road to travel and we totally get it. Often just talking it out with an empathetic WH Physio is super therapeutic.
What can physiotherapy do for your breastfeeding baby?
- Torticollis is a common infant condition that affects the baby’s ability to move their neck in certain directions and hinders their ability to latch onto the breast on a particular side. Physiotherapy can provide treatment for this and provide education and exercises for home to make the latching and milk exchange process more efficient for you both.
Finally, as it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important to highlight the importance of regular breast self-examination. WH Physios recommend a monthly check and the #feelonthefirst is a great reminder especially if you are a breast-feeding mother as sadly a small number of women will develop lactation induced breast cancer so it is crucial that you know your normal.
You can also go to Coppafeel for further resources on breast cancer awareness – https://coppafeel.org/your-boobs/boob-check-101/
Thank you to our guest blogger for October – Suzanne Carney, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Women’s, Men’s, and Pelvic Health.