It is up to you which method you choose to feed your baby. Each option presents different issues to consider when you have PGP.
There is no evidence to support the suggestion that breast-feeding will slow down recovery with PGP. Many women have been advised to stop and found it made no difference to the symptoms, and other women have made a full recovery while exclusively breast-feeding. As we have said elsewhere in the website, PGP is a mechanical problem, so the main reason that breast-feeding impacts on pain is if you are sitting or lying comfortably to feed your baby, so make sure that you find a supported position to feed right from the beginning.
Breast-feeding is one of the things you can do for your baby even if your mobility is very restricted, and many mothers find this is a really important time to bond with their baby and enjoy spending time with them. Breast milk is also the best food for your baby and provides all the nutrients that are needed as well as helping to build immunity to a large number of childhood illnesses. It also protects you against osteoporosis (important in a condition like PGP) as well as some breast and gynaecological cancers (see the Unicef website for more details for the benefits of breastfeeding).
However, as for all mothers, positioning is important and feeding is not always straightforward at first. It takes time for both of you to learn. In addition, it is important that your pelvis is comfortable while you are feeding. It is better for your pelvis to avoid sitting in bed with your legs straight out, so it is usually preferable to sit in a chair. A crescent-shaped, bean-filled pillow can be a great help with breast-feeding and take the new baby’s weight, while cushioning your symphysis pubis so that you can hold him or her more easily in the early days.
If you are breast-feeding and need to express, make sure you have everything you need and sit back and relax! There are many local sources of support for breast-feeding so make the most of them: local breast-feeding clinics, NCT breast-feeding counsellors who will visit at home, baby cafés in various areas, breast-feeding friends, midwives and health visitors.
There is no evidence-based research to suggest that breast-feeding increases the recovery time for women with PGP. Some midwives and doctors believe it does, but having spoken to many women with PGP who have fed, often for extended periods, there appears to be no link between giving up breast-feeding and recovery. Women can enjoy breast-feeding for as long as they wish (the World Health Organization recommends at least two years’ breast-feeding to give you and your baby the most benefit from breast milk) and make a full and normal recovery.
If you are formula-feeding remember to plan ahead, i.e. make up batch bottles of boiled water to store in the fridge. However, do not store prepared bottles of made-up formula (because it is not sterile).
Night feeds can mean extra trips up and down stairs. You could invest in a night and day feeding system that enables you to store bottles in a cooling box and heat up the bottles in a steam heater after adding formula powder just before use. Alternatively, use a travel kettle and jug to heat bottles. Sterilised bottles of ready-prepared feeds (as provided in hospitals) can be obtained from some manufacturers. Teats for these bottles are available direct from the manufacturers or from Boots. The milk can be ordered through a pharmacy; it is expensive but can be very useful.