Being a new parent is a beautiful experience filled with joy, but it also demands a lot from new parents and caregivers, both physically and emotionally–often with limited sleep.
Despite receiving lots of advice on parenting, few new parents receive tips on how to prepare physically for their new journey. Many of the repetitive activities that come along with caring for a baby can lead to back pain.
Constant lifting, carrying, and reaching for your baby can place repetitive stress on your muscles, tendons, and nerves, resulting in injury. This can range from a strain to more severe injuries like a herniated disc or pinched sciatic nerve.
How Can Your Perfect Bundle of Joy Cause Back Pain?
Common parenting activities that can lead to back pain include carrying your baby, lifting them from their crib or the floor, feeding (either nursing or bottle feeding), putting your baby in and out of a highchair, bathing and changing your baby, carrying a toddler (and their car seat, diaper bag, toys, and other necessities), and more.
Babies grow rapidly and can quickly increase in weight from 6 to 10 pounds to 15 to 30 pounds in their first year. This growth puts additional stress on the body, making it crucial for new parents to be aware of their movements and take preventative measures.
To prevent back pain when caring for your little one, follow these tips:
- Use Proper Lifting Techniques: Make sure to lift from your legs, not your back, and avoid twisting when lifting. This helps distribute the weight evenly and reduces strain on the back.
- Take Care When Nursing or Feeding: Feed your baby in a chair with back support, sit up straight, and use pillows to prop them up. If nursing, squeeze your shoulder blades before starting to activate your back muscles.
- Invest in a Baby Carrier: Carrying a heavy baby for extended periods can put a lot of strain on your back. A quality baby carrier helps distribute the weight evenly and reduces strain on the back.
- Strengthen Your Core with Exercise: Strong core muscles support the back and prevent injury. Don’t hesitate to jump back into a workout routine once your doctor gives you the go-ahead. Consider incorporating planks, sit-ups, and yoga into your routine to strengthen your core and improve posture.
- Practice Good Posture: Maintain good posture when lifting, sitting, or standing for extended periods to avoid back pain. Keep your back straight and bend your knees when lifting.
- Take Regular Breaks: Taking breaks helps prevent back pain. If you are sitting or standing for long periods, take a few minutes to stretch and move around.
- Invest in Ergonomic Baby Gear: Ergonomic equipment such as strollers, high chairs, and baby carriers reduce the strain on the back and promote good posture.
If you experience chronic back pain as a new parent, it’s best to seek professional help. The team at South Orange Rehab and Wellness can help with an appointment to see how we can alleviate your pain and improve your overall physical well-being so you can fully enjoy the journey of parenthood. Contact us to learn more.