The arrival of a newborn baby brings lots of joy and excitement in your life. It also brings an abundance of change. Suddenly, you find yourself always carrying something. If it’s not your newborn baby, it’s a fully packed diaper bag or a hefty car seat.
Carrying your newborn can result in persistent back pain if you’re not careful. Learning to lift correctly and discovering how to properly carry a baby to prevent back pain is essential for new parents. If you already are experiencing back pain from your new life as a parent, there are steps you can take to soothe that aching back.
Carrying your baby does not need to be synonymous with back pain. Don’t just accept the fact that you’re eventually going to be carrying a 30-pound toddler, and it’s going to hurt. If you address the problem now, you’ll manage just fine when your 3-year-old comes at you with arms raised shouting “up!”
Ways to Prevent Back Pain When Carrying Your Newborn Baby
When carrying your baby, you need to consider lifting, holding, core strength, and posture. Here are four preventative tips on carrying your newborn baby that cover these four considerations.
How do I lift my newborn?
Remember to follow safe lifting practices when picking up your baby. Once your baby passes the newborn stage, which is at two months old, picking them up will qualify as “heavy lifting.” If you pick up your child without thinking about the proper way to do it, you may hurt your back. This is particularly true if the improper motion becomes repetitive.
To avoid discomfort, follow these safe lifting practices when picking up your child to carry them:
Your feet should be hip-width apart
Keep your back straight
Bend your knees and lift with your legs
Keep your baby close to your chest for the entire lift
Whether you’re using a baby carrier or putting your baby in a car seat, be sure to use these steps to prevent muscle strain and back pain.
Should I use a baby carrier?
When given the option of carrying your child or using a carrier, the carrier is the obvious best choice. While newborn babies may be easy to carry on their own, your child is only going to continue to grow.
Since infants often demand to be held, you’re going to want something that helps you with this task without hurting your back. While you aren’t always going to use the carrier, it’s your best option when you plan on holding your baby for longer periods of time. Using a carrier is beneficial to both you and your baby, allowing you to be pain-free while ensuring that your newborn baby is close to you.
When carrying your child, it is not recommended that you hold them on your hip, as this can put added stress on your spine.
Can I do exercises to help be pain-free when carrying my infant?
The key to remaining pain-free when carrying your newborn is to maintain strong core muscles. Any exercises that work your abdominal and back muscles will help with your core strength. You don’t need to be in perfect physical shape, but working these muscle groups will help you to lift and carry your baby without pain.
There are many exercises that help build your core and strengthen your back. Yoga and pilates are examples of such exercises, which not only help you keep your body strong, but also provide increased energy levels, which is especially helpful during early parenthood.
What is the proper posture for holding an infant?
Slouching - whether it’s while you’re holding your baby or not - is not good for your back. A hunched position will put undue stress on your spine, causing neck pain and headaches.
Remain conscious of good posture throughout your day as you hold your newborn. Spine-health.com reports that proper posture means that “it should be possible to draw a straight line from the earlobe, through the shoulder, hip, knee, and into the middle of the ankle.”
Relieving Back Pain From Carrying Your Newborn
While taking proper preventative steps to avoid back pain is important, you may still experience some pain, particularly as your newborn grows into a toddler. If your back is already hurting, try these methods of reducing pain.
When experiencing back pain, try heat or ice, like a hot bath, a heating pad, or an ice pack.
Sometimes a massage, either from a professional or your partner, can be all it takes to loosen your back muscles and reduce pain.
Pregnancy and childbirth put a lot of strain on the body, leaving you more prone to injury, particularly for a few weeks after childbirth as your ligaments and joints are still loose. Rest when your baby naps and try not to stand for long periods of time, which can put added pressure on your back.
Exercises, such as stretching and yoga, are beneficial for individuals with back pain. Exercise not only builds muscles that support your back, it also can restore your flexibility. Working on your core muscles not only helps prevent back pain, it relieves it.
See Your Chiropractor
Your chiropractor can not only help realign your spine after childbirth, they can help you deal with pain caused from holding your newborn. If you are experiencing back pain due to carrying your newborn baby, it may be time to make an appointment with your chiropractor. Schedule an appointment with us online or call us to soothe your back pain today.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.