How to Carry Your Baby and Avoid Low Back Pain
Whether you’ve given birth, adopted a little one, or are a caregiver of little ones, we’ve got tips for you to not only help yourself avoid low back pain while carrying your baby, but actually help baby’s development in the process. Postural changes of pregnancy occur over nine months. Postural changes of postpartum take place over several hours: labor. Like any other event, our bodies need proper training and support to embrace these changes.
Why Does it Hurt to Carry My Baby?
The biggest obstacle to carrying a baby is the frequent necessity of one free hand. Throwing that baby on one hip or constantly holding the baby on your non dominant side can set you up for a future of aching and burning in your low or mid-back. Add to that baby is not yet sitting up on his or her own which means the head will need to be supported at all times, making this even more difficult to do with a single hand. If this resonates, we can help.
Best Ways to Carry Baby
This hold allows for one free hand while allowing you to keep a neutral, upright spine, proper activation in your
own core, and offers baby full spine support. You can achieve any position with this hold including a deep squat, leaning forward at the hips to grab something, or placing baby a safe distance away from any hot object you are handling in the opposite arm, like frying your breakfast eggs. Baby is also able to turn outward and observe the world from this position without bringing their eyes to the vertical plane before she or he is ready. Remember to switch arms for equal strength between right and left arm, but also full use of core and side body muscles.
- Inward facing midline
A baby snuggled right up to your chest with their spine parallel to yours puts equal distribution of force
throughout your core and upper and lower body. Be sure to keep head support and spine support for babe, especially if she or he cannot yet sit unsupported. While this hold doesn’t usually allow for a free hand, it is ideal for transferring baby from car seat to house or when baby is sleeping and you are choosing to get some extra skin to skin or close contact time.
Don’t be afraid to wear baby and have two free hands! Some babies love to be worn and some don’t. I encourage you to try different types of carriers to determine what works best for you AND babe (remember this is a mutual relationship). Some brands, like Lillebaby, come with an extra back support for mama and distribute the load nicely. Remember, before baby can sit on their own, she or he should be worn facing inward on the front. After an unassisted sit, babe can face outward on their back or front. Read more on baby wearing and carriers here.
What if it Hurts When I Carry Baby?
All of these options are more accessible with neutral spine and proper core function. If at any point you notice your low back pain increasing, check in with your posture, breath, shoulders, and pelvis. Notice where you are holding tension and what feedback you can take from the discomfort.
If you are reading this blog before becoming a parent, great, you can be proactive! If you’re already in the thick of parenthood, it is never too late to start. I encourage you to find a BIRTHFIT Regional Director and BIRTHFIT Professional near you for a chiropractor that specializes in the Parenthood Transition as well as implementing the Functional Progressions into your daily movement routine.
Cheers to baby snuggles, a free hand, and less low back pain!
Peace and Love,
Erica BolandBIRTHFIT Professional Director, BIRTHFIT Wisconsin Regional Director @birthfit_wisconsin @emomdc