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5 Essential Stretches for New Moms: Relieve Tightness and Improve Posture

stretches for new moms

As a new mom, taking care of your baby is a full-time job that requires a lot of physical effort.

Whether you’re nursing or bottle-feeding, holding your baby in a variety of positions can cause tightness and discomfort in your upper back and neck muscles due to postures sustained for feeding and holding your baby. This can also lead to weakness in your arms and shoulders due to the same muscles being overworked.

Fortunately, there are a few stretches that new moms can do to alleviate these issues and feel more comfortable and relaxed.

These stretches for new moms can be done in the comfort of your own home and don’t require any special equipment.

  1. Upper trapezius stretch

The upper trapezius muscle is located in the upper back and neck area and can become tight and painful due to sustained postures while nursing or holding your baby. To do this stretch, sit in a comfortable position with your head facing forward. Gently pull your head to the right using your right arm until you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck. Breathe into the stretch and hold for about 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

  1. Levator scapulae stretch

The levator scapulae muscle is also located in the neck and can become tight and painful due to sustained postures while nursing or holding your baby. To do this stretch, sit in a comfortable position and turn your nose toward your right armpit (about 45 degrees). Use your right arm to grab the crown of your head and gently pull diagonally toward your right hip until you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck. Hold for about 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

  1. Pectoralis major stretch

The pectoralis major muscle is located in the chest and front of the shoulders and can become tight and painful due to sustained postures while nursing or holding your baby. To do this stretch, stand in a corner or a door frame with your arms at about shoulder level and your elbows bent. Keep your posture tall and gently lean into the corner until you feel a stretch across your chest and front of your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.

  1. Cat/Cow Pose

The Cat/Cow Pose is a yoga pose that can help relieve tension in your spine and neck. To do this pose, start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Inhale as you lift your head and chest, allowing your lower back to relax down (cow posture). Exhale as you round your spine and drop your head down to create an arch in the mid-back (cat posture). Complete 5-10 breaths moving through these positions.

  1. Open book stretch

The Open book stretch is a gentle twist that can help relieve tension in your spine and chest. To do this stretch, lie on your side with your knees bent and your arms extended in front of you. Keep your top arm straight and begin twisting to the side to open up your chest. Keep your gaze on the moving hand to create a gentle twist in the neck as well. Hold the open position for 10 seconds before returning to the start position. Complete 3-5 times on each side.

By incorporating these stretches into your daily routine, you can help alleviate tightness and discomfort in your upper back and neck muscles, as well as strengthen your arms and shoulders. However, if you’re experiencing persistent pain or discomfort, it’s important to seek the help of a professional.

At Rebalance Physical Therapy, we offer specialized treatment for new moms! Contact us today for a free consultation to get your body back on track.

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