5 Moves to Help with Breastfeeding

With August being Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we wanted to support those breastfeeding mamas out there with what we do best, help you move better in your body. So what better way to do that than to introduce some of our favorite moves to release tension from nursing and build up strength in the muscles needed for proper alignment.

Vessel Pilates founder, Jessica Sowyrda, specializes in Prenatal and Postnatal Pilates and is certified as a Postnatal Corrective Exercise Specialist. Supporting the perinatal body is her passion as she personally experienced the power of Pilates during and after birthing her three children. “I’ve learned so much in my years of teaching, growing little humans, and deep diving into the anatomy of the woman body. As a new mom after my first was born, I realized how much my body needed to heal and what additional support was necessary,” said Jessica. She now strives to educate clients, whether pregnant, newly postpartum or those who’s babies are grown, on ways they can strengthen, realign, and improve their mobility.

The following moves will not only release tension in your neck and shoulders from breastfeeding, but further open your chest and strengthen the muscles necessary for proper alignment. Keep in mind that as we nurse our babies, we tend to slouch forward, furthering creating this forward rolling posture in our shoulders. By opening up the chest and strengthening our spinal extensor muscles, we can bring our alignment back to a neutral position and relieve tension typically carried in our upper body.

Please consult your physician before doing any exercising to make sure you are cleared to move.

  1. Foam Roll Arm Circles. Align your spine along a foam roller (head to tailbone should be supported on the roller) with knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Inhale as you circle your arms up overhead, then exhale as you circle down. Focus on opening the chest and reaching arms towards the floor as you circle. Perform 8-10 circles in both directions.

2. Toe Taps. Lift your right leg into a tabletop position (90 degree angle in both knee and hip) as you exhale. Inhale to lower and tap your toes on the floor, activating and engaging your deep core muscles, and exhale as you lift your leg back to starting position. You can stay on single side before transitioning to the other, or you can alternate back and forth marching in place. Advanced modification would be to lift both legs into tabletop position and lower/lift both at the same time. If you have a Diastasis Recti, please watch for doming in the abdominal wall. You can perform flat on the floor and stay with single leg until you can advance further.

3. Chest Opener & Shoulder Stretch. Grab a theraband and hold onto ends in front of your body. Inhale as you raise your arms overhead, then exhale as you circle back behind your body towards your hips. Inhale as you lift arms up overhead and exhale as you circle back down in front of your body to the starting position. Complete 5-10 arms circles.

4. Shoulder Adductors. Hold onto theraband at the ends with slight tension in band in front of your body about chest height. Exhale as you open arms to a “T” position, then inhale as you release and brings arms parallel in front of your body. Open and close 10-15 times.

5. Arms with Thoracic Extension. Wrap theraband around your midback and hold onto the ends with both hands. Start with elbows bent in towards your waist. Exhale as you lengthen arms out with a slight thoracic extension. If you have Diastasis Recti, do without the extension. Perform 10-15 reps.

We have plenty more moves that will support your body throughout your postpartum recovery. Feel free to contact us at hello@vesselpilates.com for any questions!

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