4 Ways to protect your back when carrying your baby
New parents are always concerned about doing the right thing. From buying the right nappies to installing the car seat, they are always worried about making sure it’s safe for their new baby. But what most parents don’t think about is the strain their bodies take while hauling around the baby and all of baby’s things.
Over 70% of mums hold their baby on the left side of their body. Which means that for at least the first two years of parenthood mums (and dads!) are off balance. When you add in the time spent lugging around a car seat and unfolding a stroller, there is more than enough time to do some damage to your back.
But a few simple steps can help you prevent back pain in those early years of parenting. Which, you’ll thank me for later on when you are hauling around bags of sports gear and book bags.
Start by carrying the infant car seat correctly.
Yes, there is a right way to do this, and most people don’t know what it is. Instead of resting the handle in the fold of your elbow and bouncing it against your hip, try it.
1. Stand next to the car seat, so you’re facing baby.
2. Loop your hand through the handle and back out again, so it’s resting on the outside of the car seat, closest to you.
3. Twist your hand, grab the underside of the car seat and stand up.
Carry baby without the car seat.
When a baby is sleeping so peacefully in the car seat, and you just need to grab a gallon of milk, it’s hard to take them out. But for all those other times, consider carrying your baby without the car seat. It will alleviate the strain on your back. When the baby is old enough for a pushchair, this also allows you to keep your posture erect and help your back.
Baby wearing is a great way to help your back.
You may think having a baby strapped to you is counterproductive to helping your back, but when evenly distributing the weight of your baby, it’s quite helpful. A good quality carrier can be worn on the front or the back and will be able to be used as baby grows. Make sure you are wearing it correctly to get the most benefit for you and baby.
Think about your back.
Sometimes just thinking about how you’re holding your baby will make you adjust your posture. Take care not to lean over while changing nappies or nursing, putting strain on your back. Think about posture while walking with the baby. Try to alternate which side you hold your baby on, to even out the strain and to strengthen your muscles.