Winchester Chiropractor Max Atkinson has some useful tips for new Mums on preventing back pain when caring for their new baby. He says that Mums-to-be are all too aware of the stresses and strains placed on their bodies during pregnancy but may not have considered how to protect themselves from potential injury when lifting or carrying their little one once he or she has arrived in the world.
A recent survey showed that 83% of Mums who suffered from back pain believed this was caused (or made worse), by pregnancy and lifting and carrying babies or young children. (Survey: Maclaren Buggies and Back Care). Poor posture and the resultant pain may be helped by Chiropractic so, if you are a new parent who needs help in this area, call Bradford House Chiropractic Clinic now on 01962 861188 to arrange an appointment.
Here Are Our Top Tips for New Mums (and Dads!)
Babies are heavy! Many Dads who regularly work out at the Gym find the demands of lifting and carrying a baby or young child, exhausting. Gym users learn correct techniques for safe lifting – but many new parents are unprepared for the demands placed on their bodies by having a new baby in the house.
Lifting Your Baby
- Whenever you lift your baby bend your knees, support his/her neck with one hand and his lower back with the other. Hold him/her as close as possible to your body, lifting slowly while straightening your knees until your back is straight.
- When lifting from the cot, do not be tempted to reach over the side without lowering this to lift him/her out as not doing so, puts extra strain and stress on the back. Always avoid bending from the waist and trying to move too quickly.
- When lifting your baby from the car seat, put one leg into the car and turn so that you are facing your baby in the car seat. Lift the baby from as close to you as possible, minimizing the strain of rotational forces on your body, particularly on your back, knees and shoulders.
- When sitting and lifting your baby or toddler up onto your lap, it is important not to lean forward from the back of the seat as doing this repeatedly can cause injury. Instead, move forward to the edge of your seat and, keeping your back straight, bend your knees, lift your baby close to your body and then sit back into the seat.
- Carrying Your Baby
Although the hips seem to form the perfect ‘shelf’ on which to rest your little one, his weight will cause muscle tightness and an imbalance between one side of the pelvis and the other. Of course, it is inevitable that you will carry your baby on your hip for part of the time and your Winchester Chiropractor can show you some simple stretches for the muscles concerned that you can do at home to reduce the potential for injury.
A baby carrier worn over both shoulders that enables your baby to be held close to your body satisfies two important needs at once:
- Your baby will be calmer and more settled held close to you.
- When correctly positioned in a baby sling, baby’s weight is borne evenly by your back, hips and shoulders so you can carry your baby for longer without tiring and have your hands free too.
Carrying Your Baby in a Car Seat
Carry the car seat as close as possible to your body, distributing the weight evenly. The best way to do this is to carry the handle in both hands with bent elbows held at your sides and the seat in front of you.
Choosing a Buggy
A lightweight buggy will help, especially if you need to lift it in and out of a car or bus. Correct lifting techniques will protect your back; your Chiropractor can advise you on this. A buggy that allows for adjustment of the handle height for you and your partner and with handle grips that are vertical (rather than horizontal), is the best choice. Relax your shoulders, keep your elbows in and, when pushing the buggy, make sure it allows you to walk normally, without shortening your stride to avoid striking your shins.
Posture When Feeding Your Baby
Whether you are breast or bottle-feeding, make sure that you are leaning against the back of a comfy chair with your neck relaxed and aligned. Feeding can take a while, so support your baby with a pillow underneath – as this will take the strain off the shoulder, wrist and elbow of the supporting arm.
When feeding solid foods, sit down with your baby so that you are close together at a similar height; Ensure that you are not leaning in or leaning over your baby each time you offer a spoonful of food.
Chiropractic Can Help
As mentioned, Chiropractic may help alleviate the pain caused by poor posture, exacerbated by the additional demands of lifting and carrying a baby or toddler. Bradford House Clinic can provide nutritional advice to support you after the stresses and strains of pregnancy and birth and help in improving your posture. Call us today on 01962 861188.