Every new mother soon learns that lifting their infant can put a surprising amount of stress on the back, especially the spine. It is not unusual for mothers to pick up their infants 30, 40, or even 50 times a day. In just two years, your child could weigh 30 pounds or more, causing even more back strain.
It can be tough to make changes as a new mom, especially with all the unique and exciting aspects of raising a child. However, it can be much easier than you may think to prevent back pain as a new mom!
How to Help Prevent Back Pain After Having a Baby
There are several ways to help prevent back pain if you are a new mom. Wearing a front-facing baby pack can avoid pain by helping to distribute your baby’s weight across your entire body equally.
The best way to prevent muscular injuries is to condition your body through regular training and to avoid moving in ways that can cause damage. Make sure to discuss what exercises are safe for you, and when you should start them, with your doctor. For example, if your baby was delivered by C-section, it can take much longer to recover. It may also limit which exercises you can participate in safely.
Your priority, once you can exercise again, is to work on hip and back flexibility. This can be accomplished using light yoga exercises or other basic stretches. Try to incorporate these into your few free moments, like when your baby is down for a nap.
If it is feasible, consider joining a group exercise class. Your local gyms likely offer Pilates or yoga classes, potentially even ones geared toward pregnant women and new mothers. This can help you stick to your exercise regimen. A professional fitness instructor, especially one that is trained in postpartum exercises, can be especially beneficial for preventing injuries and ensuring proper form.
Lifting and Caring for Your Baby
When picking up your baby, observe safe lifting practices. Make sure to bend from the knees if you are reaching toward the floor, keeping your waist and back straight. When you bend, tighten your stomach muscles as you squat down. Lift with your legs, not your back. Before you lift your baby, bring them close to you rather than lifting with your arms extended. Bringing your baby to your chest first makes lifting them less strenuous. Also, try your best not to twist when holding your baby.
You should also avoid carrying your baby on your hip, as this puts a lot of strain on back muscles. Try using a front-facing pack when taking your baby for walks, and make sure you sit or kneel on the seat of the car when adjusting the car seat or putting your child into it. If at all possible, don’t carry your child in their car seat – instead, put the car seat in first, secure it properly, and then buckle your child in.
Breastfeeding is a common source of upper back pain for new mothers. Make sure never to bend over your baby to feed them. Instead, bring your baby to your breast and place a pillow on your lap to help them reach. If possible, sit in an upright chair over a couch.
As you begin this new chapter of life, we hope that you find this blog helpful – we want to help you enjoy these moments as much as possible! Here at Prairie Orthopaedic we offer comprehensive orthopaedic care, including in-house physical therapy; so, if you’ve been dealing with back pain or other orthopaedic issues, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!