by: Kimberly Bowman

` This likely has its root in the havoc played on your abs during pregnancy. Add in the hunched over state of many a newly breastfeeding mom. Then watch as she rocks on her feet, legs apart, hips shoved forward, belly out to support the little pumpkin as arm muscles give out. The look gives Quasimodo a run for his money. How do they always know when we sit down?

All these subtle moves towards the mommy slouch can be remedied. Posture while breastfeeding, in particular, not only affects your comfort but baby’s latch as well. Baby should be brought to the breast, not breast leaned into baby’s mouth. We are upright humans with our mammary glands near our faces, for a reason. We will not call upon our inner cows and nurse while staring across the landscape instead of at our babes. No offense to cows meant. When you nurse, sit comfortably with your back straight and pull the baby towards your breast, stomach to stomach and take in the wonder that is them while they return the favor.

When rocking ceaselessly on your feet, keep your carriage lifted, lock your abs by drawing your belly button back and up, or belly button to spine. Also, keep your shoulders away from your ears and scapula (or shoulder blades) in your back pockets. These are all Pilates’ mantras and have to do with the strength of your core. These simple tricks can help you to better identify those parts of your body and call upon them when needed and also help to alleviate the stress we carry in our necks and shoulder muscles.

When it comes to your belly, the goal right now is not a lean six-pack. Pregnancy gives many women about ten pounds to use as lactation fuel. You may keep this extra weight for the duration of breastfeeding; however, the longer you nurse the more likely you’ll be to lose those ten pounds and maybe more. How comfortable would that itty little baby be while breastfeeding if they rested on the spears of your pelvis? Embrace your motherly padding for the time being. You will have plenty of time later for shedding it.

That said, continuing to strengthen the deep abdominal muscles that took such a stretching out during pregnancy is a great idea. It will make you feel strong and will support your back. Your baby will get big very fast and hauling him around will use all those strengths. Be a tree for yourself and your family and see how much better it feels than a wilting daisy.  Check out our mom and baby or toddler yoga and keep fit after baby!