Protect your back: How to carry your kids safely
Parenthood. Where the hours are long but the years are short. Where moments are precious, rewarding, exciting … and can be exhausting. Not just because your own sleep can be interrupted, broken or sometimes non-existent; physically caring for your child can take a huge toll on your body and lead to back pain, injury or discomfort.
The Everyday Weightlifting of Parenthood
It all starts out at a manageable rate. On any given day, you’d pick up your baby (of around 4kgs) numerous times a day. Fast forward 6 or 12 months – suddenly you are lifting your baby numerous times a day whilst they weigh 8 to 10 kilos!
As with any repeated physical labour, it’s very easy to strain your shoulder, neck, upper or lower back. In conjunction with regular chiropractic care, it’s important that you follow good basic technique to limit the wear and tear on your body.
How to Carry Your Baby
From the moment they’re born, you carry your child as you best know how. Friends, family and medical professionals encourage you to hold your baby in a huge variety of poses. The advice can be conflicting and only consider the needs and comfort of your adorable offspring. But, what is the best way for you, and your exhausted body, to hold a baby?
Here’s how you can safely carry your baby whilst protecting your spine (and reducing the risk of ongoing back pain):
- Up to 6 months:Hold your baby evenly at the front of your body, ensuring their head is in line with your chest (specifically, your heart). Cradle your child by placing your interwoven hands underneath their bottom with their legs tucked comfortably.
- 6 months and above: Just as when they were younger, carry your child on the front of your body. From 6 months, your baby can support more of its own weight. Therefore, it can wrap each leg around your body (past your hip) instead of being tucked up. Try to avoid carrying your child on your hip or to one side. This includes toddlers too.
Look After Yourself
As a busy parent, self-care can be one of the first ‘luxuries’ to go. If you can find even a small amount of time to dedicate to caring for yourself, you’ll find you have more energy, ability and mobility to be the best mum or dad you can be. Here’s a few tips:
- Lift from the knees: Before you pick up your baby, remember that good basic technique applies. All you need to do is:
- Bend your knees
- Squat down to their level
- Bring your baby close to your chest
- Engage your core
- Push with your legs
- Regular stretching and exercise:Keep your body as mobile by remembering to stretch or complete light exercise yourself. Yoga, pilates, or a series of stretches can make a huge difference to a weary body. Speak to your chiropractor for some suggestions if you need. If you are a new mum, get the green light to exercise from your GP first.
- Wearing a carrier? Look after your shoulders: Reverse the effect of your shoulders being pulled forward by your baby carrier. Complete some shoulder rolls 3 times day. You can also build strength in your shoulders by completing this rowing-style exercise – grab an elastic resistance band, tie it to an anchor, and pull both hands towards your belly.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain or injury and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.