New Mums often complain of back pain. Considering the amount of lifting and carrying they do daily, it is not surprising that strains can occur. Although new born babies “only” weight 6 to 10 pounds, on average, they grow quickly and a 2-year-old toddler can easily weigh around 30 pounds.
Frequently lifting and carrying this amount of weight, bending and twisting can all result in back, shoulder and neck ache.
Here are a few simple steps that you can take to reduce the risks and help yourself to remain pain free:
Heat or ice can both help to relieve pain. Heat improves blood flow and relaxation. A soak in the bath or applying a hot water bottle to your back may be soothing. Ice can provide pain relief and reduce swelling to knocks and joint injuries.
Your lifting technique is important when lifting your baby, heavy car seats and pushchairs/prams.
When picking up any weight, including your baby, you should bend at your knees and not at your waist. Always lift with your legs and make sure you bring your baby close to your chest before lifting.
Try not to carry your child on your hip and avoid twisting whilst holding them.
There is a lot to think about when you are also tackling day-to-day activities, but a strained back can put you out of action so it pays to be careful.
Keep your back straight when breastfeeding:
To avoid upper back strain due to breastfeeding, keep your back straight and bring your baby up to your breast. Try not to bend over your baby to feed them. An upright chair rather than a soft couch is best. You can use cushions to help in positioning your baby.
A massage (from your partner or a professional therapist) will provide welcome relief as well as some time to unwind and relax. Specialist treatment and advice will enable you to look after yourself between treatment sessions.
Take time to rest and look after yourself as well as your baby. For a few months after childbirth your ligaments and joints will still be relaxed and more prone to injury. Try not to stand for long periods as this puts extra pressure on your back.
Take up offers of help from friends and family and ask for any support that you need.
Whenever practical use carrying aids such as pushchairs and baby carriers to take the weight of your baby. A front carrier rather than a back carrier can be better for your back when you are walking.
Car seats for babies are heavy and as your baby grows, they become even heavier. It may be easier to fasten the seat in place in your car first and then place your baby into the seat.
Exercise and activity are the most important ways of helping yourself if you have back pain.
Exercise can help you build the muscles that support your back and improve your posture. Stretching exercises and yoga will assist you in restoring your hip and back flexibility. Pilates is good for strengthening the muscles of your abdomen and spine to prevent back pain and injury.
Please get in touch if you need any help or advice.