Most couples who are expecting their first child are aware of the sleepless nights that lay ahead. However, many developing families do not anticipate the type of back pain that comes from carrying and holding an infant for many hours each day.
Lifting a newborn is one of the most common causes of back pain for new parents. Even more so, holding a seven to pound baby while also carrying a diaper bag or stroller adds significant pressure to the ligaments and muscles that surround the spine.
Fortunately, there are particular techniques and tips parents can use to avoid back pain. By simply modifying your approach to carrying your baby and taking proactive measures that strengthen your back muscles, you can enjoy all of the wonderful new experiences that come with being a new parent without any pain!
Carefully picking up your newborn
- Lift with your knees: When lifting up your newborn from a crab or stroller, make sure to place your weight on your knees and to squat down instead of bending over at the waist. Keep your back in a set, straight position and place your feet hip-width
apart. When lifting up your baby, keep them close to your chest and use your legs to stand up straight, instead of your back.
- Reaching down: As the parent of a newborn child, you will spend a tremendous amount of time leaning over your baby’s crib to take care of them or to pick them up. If you haven’t purchased a crib yet, try to choose one that has adjustable sides so that you can attend to your child without bending at the waist.
Carrying a newborn
- Hands-free carrying devices: Baby carries are helpful for transporting your newborn around but can contribute to back pain. When selecting a baby carrier, choose one that comes with durable, well-padded shoulder straps and a belt that helps keep your child close to your chest. Also, make sure to position your baby higher up on your chest so that their head is close to your neck. Should you have to hold your child for a long time, you will not experience any type of strain or discomfort.
- Keep your baby in front or behind you: When holding and walking with your newborn, do not carry them on your hip. Doing so places a disproportionate amount of weight on one side of your body, which causes back strain. Referring to the last recommendation, choose a hands-free carrying device that can firmly hold your child either on your chest or back.