Are you experiencing back pain, neck pain, shoulder or hip pain? If you are it may be due to carrying a heavy car seat, awkwardly leaning over the crib to lie baby down, or carrying baby on the same hip. There are ways to perform daily tasks with baby and avoid hurting yourself along the way. You can buy all the fancy gadgets but being aware of body mechanics can save your back and neck and pocketbook. Below we will cover some tips to help save your back while carrying your baby or toddler.
- Skin-to-Skin Contact
Referencing last week’s blog, the first thing to implement is Skin to Skin. Research has shown the more time spent skin to skin during the first few months postpartum can have a positive effect on mom and baby. Mom may reduce postpartum depression, reduce the time baby cries, and aid in calming down yours and baby’s nervous system. There are a wide variety and styles of baby carriers. A properly fitted carrier can provide great skin to skin contact and save your back by avoiding the one-sided hip carry. Check you the FM Babywearing page where they can have someone from the leadership team assist you in finding the best carrier. They also have monthly meetings that are open and free to the public. (Currently on hold due to COVID-19)
- Be Aware of your Posture
We all have all done it – the forward pelvis tilt, the lean to the side, and our arm cradled with baby nestled in. We need to be aware of this posture and do our best to undo this classic parent pose. It is not only uncomfortable, but holding our body in this position is the main cause of neck, back and hip pain. Parents need to hold babies close to our bodies with both hands under the bum so baby may help support their own weight. If you must carry on a hip, please make sure to switch sides frequently. By keeping baby’s weight close to our center of gravity we can avoid unneeded strain on our muscles and joints.
- How-to Lift Properly
There are some techniques when lifting baby that we must avoid. You may be lifting and placing baby in the crib multiple times a day. This action can wreak havoc on your back. That is a long way down and the bending at the waist while we stand on our tiptoes doesn’t work without causing back strain. When you put baby down, hug baby close, plant feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, bend the knees, and hinge your hips backwards, slowly lowering baby into the crib. Maintain this same posture when picking up your child. Try to always maintain a straight spine and avoid twisting movements. When you lift baby from the floor be sure to use your legs and glutes to squat to baby. Stay tuned for a video series demonstrating the proper way to lift and set your baby down into their crib.
- How-To Properly Carry the Car Seat
Watch this short video on how to carry that heavy car seat without hurting your back. When the weight of the car seat becomes too much you are better off leaving the car seat in the car and carrying baby by following the tips above.
Hopefully you find these tips helpful. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Youtube Channel for the upcoming video demonstrating how to lift baby from the crib and ground. We are here at Venture to help you move better, feel better, and be better!
- Melanie Dockter, DC CACCP