If you’re a new mom throwing out your back and wondering what the heck is happening to you, there’s a perfectly valid reason: lifting and carrying a baby around all day is not for the faint-hearted. So, what exactly are you doing wrong? First, you have to figure out how to carry your baby correctly, but there’s other reasons, too…
You bend over to pick your baby up out of his cot
Incorrect lifting technique doesn’t just strain your back muscles, it can also result in disc or joint injury which can lead to pain and numbness in your buttocks and\or legs, warns experts from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Do this instead:
To avoid stressing to your back, you can lift your baby by gently tightening your lower ab muscles. Then, bend from the knees – not your waist or back.
Before you actually lift her up, make sure she’s close to your body – this will reduce the strain of her weight on your back.
Of course, even the best lifting technique won’t save you from back pain if you’re out of shape, according to experts at Stanford Childrens Health. If you’re unfit you won’t be strong enough to lift or carry anything heavy – and let’s face it, baby gets heavier as she grows!
Their experts suggest that you start with light exercises like stretching, walking or even swimming if you can 6-8 weeks after you’ve given birth. But before you do, just make sure your doctor has given you the go ahead.
It’s best to avoid any high-impact exercise because hormonal changes during your pregnancy may still affect your joints and ligaments up to 5 or 6 months after delivery.
You’re hunched over your baby while feeding her
Let’s face it, whether you’re breast- or bottle-feeding, it can be exhausting, especially in the first few weeks when you’re still establishing a routine. And in the middle of the night, when you’re tired to the bone, we know you’ll do anything to find a comfy position. But all that slouching over your baby while feeding her over time can result in back pain in the neck area or lower back.
Do this instead:
First prize is to invest in a good high-back armchair. Get a small footstool for you to rest your feet on so your knees are a bit higher than your hips. Put a small cushion or a rolled towel in the small of your back to support your back.
If you’re breastfeeding, make sure your baby’s chest and tummy are directly facing you. And instead of hunching over your baby, it’s better to use some pillows to bring your baby to your breast.
Of course, you can lie down when breastfeeding, too, which will take the strain off your back. If you’re unsure how, ask a lactation consultant or your midwife for advice.
You lean over the bath to wash your baby
Your baby might love splashing in the bath when it’s bath time, but every mom knows that it’s a killer on your back!
Do this instead:
When bathing your baby, instead of stooping down to wash her in the bath, which can really put a strain on your back, use a changing table that’s higher than your waist or place a bath tub on a sturdy table so you can stand and reach her without having to lean over and strain your back.
Content editor and writer on Living & Loving, Sonya has over 25 years experience in the media industry. She edited Living & Loving magazine for six-and-a-half years and is the former editor of Longevity magazine. She’s won numerous media industry awards and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of moms and children.
Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.
Learn more about Sonya Naudé.