Tips for New Parents and Baby at Home

Bringing home baby shouldn’t break your back

Becoming new parents is an exciting time and the start of an amazing lifelong journey! It’s a wonderful ride that includes its share of anxiety, fear, and fatigue along with aches and pains.

You were up all night. The baby is crying. The doorbell is ringing. You haven’t showered and have no idea what time of day it is. For most parents, this is a daily scenario all too common during the first few months of bringing baby home. Parenthood is a 24-7 job with never-ending physical demands that include laundry, baby carrying, feeding, comforting, tidying and chasing after children.

Let us consider the daily physical demands of lifting your child and the strain on the lumbar spine. On average, parents lift a 7-10 pound baby 50 times a day. By 12 months, your baby weighs approximately 17 pounds, and at two years, that child has become a 25-30 pound toddler. The repetitive lifting of your child may put you at risk for back problems. When you factor in lugging car seats, strollers, breastfeeding and bending over frequently, parenting can quickly become a pain in the back.

What’s a parent to do? We’d like to share six simple tips that can help parents avoid some common aches and pains.

1. Lifting

– Stand with your feet at least a shoulder-width apart.

– Keep your back in a neutral position and bend your knees.

– Bring your baby as close to your chest as possible, and then lift using both arms.

– Consider wearing your baby when possible on your front so you can alleviate the strain on your back and arms.

2. Lighten Your Load

– Choose a diaper bag that distributes weight evenly across your body with multiple easy to reach pockets to limit the stress of isolated muscles and one shoulder.

3. Keep Tub Trouble at Bay

– Consider using the kitchen sink for bath time if possible – it’s easier on the spine.

– Avoid reaching or twisting when bending over a tub.

– When kneeling, use a non-slip mat to protect your knees.

4. Carrying

– When carrying your little one, pivot with your feet instead of twisting your back. This will ensure that you’re turning with your hips, which will reduce your risk of back pain.

– When holding your child, try doing so in an upright position, directly against your chest.

– Carrying a child on one hip with one arm creates postural imbalances that can lead to low back pain over time and wrist pain.

– Lower your child into the crib or onto the floor by bending at the knees, with a neutral back.

– When lugging around a car seat, spare your spine and shoulders by using this wonderful car seat carrying hack shared by Chiropractor, Dr. Emily Puente.

5. Feeding

When nursing, avoid hunching and keep your baby close to you.

– Always sit in a chair with back support and avoid leaning forward to reach your newborn’s mouth.

– Instead, use pillows or blankets to support and position your baby closer to you.

6. Exercise

– Exercise can help increase muscle support for your aching back.

– While your baby is enjoying tummy time, join them on the floor and do some exercises to help strengthen your core.

 

There is no time for back pain in parenthood. Talk to your chiropractor about other great spine saving tips along with exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles so that you can stay on your toes and always one step ahead of your toddler 🙂