Weighing an average of about 3.3kg, newborns are small and light – so even when they have to be carried for several hours a day (everyday), the consequences may not seem so significant. We often forget that babies grow at rapid rates. By the time they have their first birthday, they weigh an average of 9kg and are often carried for the same number of hours everyday. As your baby grows, carrying him or her can put a huge strain on your back which can result in back pain.
In this article, personal trainer and mother, Danielle van der Leest from ActiveWomen shares some exercises and tips to lift or carry your baby, so that you can prevent back pain.
Exercises to Minimise Back Pain
Strengthening the right muscles is not only important for exercising or sport, but it can also help with performing daily tasks such as carrying your baby and reducing the risk of injury and pain in doing so.
Try out the following exercises recommended by Danielle.
• Start by laying on your back with both knees bent and slightly apart
• Maintaining a natural curve in your lower back, exhale as you raise your buttocks off the ground by pushing through your heels
• Inhale as you lower your body back to starting position and then repeat for 10 to 15 reps
• Beginning in a table top position, slowly extend your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm forward
• Hold the position for five seconds keeping your hips and shoulders square before slowly returning to the starting position
• Repeat for 10 to 15 reps before switching to the opposite arm and leg
• Lay on your side with both knees bent and your head and neck supported with a cushion
• Raise the top knee slightly without raising the top foot off the lower foot
• Keep the natural curve in your lower back throughout the movement
• Repeat for 10 to 15 reps before switching sides
Modified side plank
• Begin laying on your right side with your hips and knees bent and position your bent right elbow directly under your shoulder
• Contract your abdominal muscles and raise your body bearing the weight on your right forearm and lower leg
• Direct your left hip towards the ceiling staying strong throughout your right shoulder girdle
• Keep your head and neck in line with your spine
• Lower your body back into the initial position and repeat the lifting for 10 to 15 repetitions before switching sides
• Set your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned out
• Engaging your abdominals and keeping your eyes looking forward, keep your heels flat on the floor as you slowly bend at the knees and drop your hips to lower your body
• Pause for a moment at the bottom of the exercise
• Push back up to the starting position mirroring the descent and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions
Repeat each exercise for 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Tips to Minimise Back Pain from Carrying Your Baby
Practice Safe Technique When Lifting Your Baby
When picking up or setting down your baby, it’s important to do so the right way to keep both of you safe and free from any potential injuries or pain.
When lifting the baby, begin in a squatting position using your legs and glutes to stand upright. In either lifting or setting down the baby, maintain a long, straight and upright back. Engage a neutral pelvic position by tucking your tailbone in slightly.
Carry Your Baby in an Optimal Position
Hold your baby in front of you with both arms close to your body, and while keeping your pelvis centered. Your baby should be able to rest his buttocks, and if he needs support on the neck or head, you can use your other hand to gently press him close to you.
Many mums will carry their baby on their hips. While this position tends to come most naturally, it’s actually not the best position to hold your baby as it can strain the back and ligaments on one side of the body.
If you must resort to carrying your baby on your hips, be sure to switch sides regularly and ensure that you are evenly distributing the weight on both legs. This will make the load of carrying your baby easier to bear and will put less strain on your body.
Use a Baby Carrier
Carriers or slings make for a safe and practical way to move around with your baby while giving you the advantage of having your hands free.
When shopping for baby carriers, keep in mind that newborns and older babies have different needs; a newborn wants to snuggle close with their heads resting on your chest and an older baby wants to stretch out their legs and see the world.
The carrier you should opt for is dependent on each individual’s build, comfort tolerance, budget and needs and expectations for a carrier. No specific kind of carrier will suit everyone, but trying an array out to experience them for yourself can help you figure out what works best for you and your baby.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the huge selection of baby carriers available in the market, Baby Carriers Rental Singapore offers Baby Wearing Consultations conducted by an in-house Baby Wearing Educator, where you can learn the basics of, be introduced to, and explore the fit of different baby carriers in the market!