Stretching

Stretches for the Nursing Momma

5 stretches that will help reduce neck, back and arm pain associated with nursing.

Neck stretch #1: Feel the stretch on the side of the neck from the ear to the shoulder.

  • Gently bring right ear toward right shoulder feeling the stretch turn on along the left side of the neck.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 15-30 seconds.  Relax the head back to neutral and repeat again.  Then stretch the right side of the neck by bringing the left ear toward the left shoulder.  Repeat 2-3 times each side.  Stretch intensity can be increased by gently weighting the head with opposite hand and by holding the hand behind your back to keep the shoulder down while stretching the neck.  Attempt the stretch without the “extras” first.

Neck stretch #2: Feel the stretch from the back of the head to the shoulder blade.

  • Gently bring the chin toward the right armpit feeling the stretch turn on along the left side of the neck.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 15-30 seconds.  Relax the head back to neutral and repeat again.  Then stretch the right side of the neck by bringing the chin toward the left armpit.  Repeat 2-3 times each side.

Chest stretch: Your chest muscles become tight over the course of nursing from rounding the shoulders forward and holding the baby.  This stretch should help increase flexibility across the front of the chest.

  • Clasp hands behind your back.  Gently lift arms up, moving hands away from your back.  Once you feel a strong stretch across the chest and front of the shoulders, stop and hold for 15-30 seconds.  Relax the neck, do not strain the neck.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Trunk Stretch: This stretch may be felt along the sides of your trunk, along the sides of your shoulder blades, through the mid or low back.  Relax the neck when performing this stretch.

  • Claps hands above your head.  Gently move arms to the right side feeling the stretch turn on along the left side of the trunk.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 15-30 seconds.  Relax the neck, do not strain the neck.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Forearm stretches: These stretches will help stretch the front and back of the forearm muscles.  You may also feel the stretch up higher in the arm as well.

  • Raise right arm in front of you, palm down.  Using left hand to assist, bring the palm toward you until a strong stretch is felt along the top of the forearm.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 15-30 seconds.  Relax the neck during this stretch, do not strain the neck.  Repeat 2-3 times. Then repeat on the left arm with the right hand assisting with the stretch.

  • Raise right arm in front of you, palm up.  Using left hand to assist, bring the fingers down toward the ground until a strong stretch is felt along the top of the forearm.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 15-30 seconds.  Relax the neck during this stretch, do not strain the neck.  Repeat 2-3 times. Then repeat on the left arm with the right hand assisting with the stretch.

Follow the 5 tips for healthy and safe stretching found on the Stretching Page

Did you try the stretches?  Are they helpful?  Give us feedback!  Help US learn from YOU!

**If you are currently being treated for a condition by a clinician, consult your clinician before attempting these stretches.  Always consult your physician prior to starting an exercise program.**

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