Growing babies are fascinating to witness, and it seems like babies almost grow overnight. However, it may begin to feel like your growing baby is taking a toll on your low back, shoulders, and pelvic region. We likely pick up our babies around 15 times a day and carry them a significant portion of the day. Prior to having a baby, if someone told you to carry a 25-pound weight around with you for about 50% of your day you would think that sounds crazy. During motherhood that 10-25-pound like weight comes in the form of a little bundle of joy that just keeps growing at ultra-speed.
Below are some simple concepts to think about when holding, maneuvering, and handling your baby to reduce strain on your low back, shoulders, and pelvis. Forming these small habits now can help prevent many aches and pains later.
Chest hold: Baby in front using both arms or a baby carrier
The fix: Pelvis should not be thrusted forward with weight all on your heels. Stack your ribcage over your pelvis, keep butt relaxed, and shift your weight to your mid-foot.
Side hold: Baby propped up on side of hip
The fix: Keep your hips even and shoulders away from ears. If you must use your hip due to lack of strength make sure you switch hips often.
Picking up baby from floor: Without bending over many times from the waist
The fix: Perform the half kneel to stand maneuver. Bonus, it is also a great gluteal strengthening exercise.
The car seat enter and exit: One of the worst offenders
The fix: This maneuver is difficult and the one that got my back the most irritated postpartum, especially when recommendations are for the car seat to be in the middle for safety. You can even tell by Skye’s face below, it is not my favorite. I find actually letting myself sit in the car next to her and placing her on my lap, and then turning my whole body to get out the most helpful.
The best way to prevent many body aches and pains postpartum is to work on retraining your body for function with exercise. Variability of movement is very important for moms to have since babies and toddlers do not sit still for us to have perfect posture with everything we do. Performing some strength training exercises for just 20 minutes a couple of times a week can make a big difference in making you less likely to injure yourself with sudden loaded movements while handling your baby. Remember to make some time to work on redeveloping your strength! Self-care is never selfish.
With an Open Learning Mind,