New Parent Back Pain Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Being a new parent is a joyful time. But it’s also a demanding experience that requires a lot of energy and physical exertion from parents and caregivers, often while sleep-deprived.
While most people receive tons of parenting advice when they have a baby, very few receive tips on how to physically prepare for the event. Many of the repetitive activities that come along with caring for a baby can lead to back pain.
How Can Such a Little Bundle of Joy Cause Back Pain?
Constantly lifting, carrying, and reaching for your baby can put repetitive stress on your muscles, tendons, and nerves, leading to injury. Commonly, this strain can result in a sprain or strain, but in some cases, a forceful or awkward movement may cause more severe damage like a herniated disc or a pinched sciatic nerve.
Parenting activities that can potentially lead to back pain include:
- Carrying a baby on a regular basis (especially when you add in a car seat, stroller, diaper bag, and other necessities.)
- Lifting your baby from their crib or from the floor
- Feeding your baby (whether nursing or giving a bottle)
- Putting your baby in a high chair or taking her out (it’s best to remove the tray)
- Bathing or changing your baby (especially if you diaper your baby on the couch or floor)
- Carrying your toddler, especially when carrying other things as well
- Carrying your child’s car seat and putting it into the car
It’s crucial to keep in mind that babies grow rapidly. Although a newborn may only weigh 6 to 10 pounds, a baby can quickly grow to 15 to 30 pounds in their first year. This sudden growth puts added stress on the body, making it important for new parents to be mindful of their movements and take precautions to prevent injury.
Here are a few key ways to avoid getting knocked out with back pain when you have a baby that needs your undivided attention.
- Use Proper Lifting Techniques: When lifting your children, make sure to lift from your legs instead of your back. This will help distribute the weight evenly and reduce the strain on your back. Additionally, avoid twisting your back when lifting, as this can cause strain and injury.
- Take care when nursing or feeding: When you feed your baby, do so in a quality chair with back support. Sit up straight and use a few pillows to help prop the baby up. If nursing, you may also want to squeeze your shoulder blades before you start nursing to activate your back muscles.
- Use a Baby Carrier: Carrying a heavy baby in your arms for extended periods of time can put a lot of strain on your back. Investing in a good quality baby carrier can help reduce the strain on your back and distribute your baby’s weight evenly.
- Exercise to Strengthen your Core: Strong core muscles help to support your back and prevent injury. Don’t hesitate to begin your workout routine once you receive the green light from your doctor. Incorporating exercises such as planks, sit-ups, and yoga into your daily routine can help strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture.
- Good Posture: Maintaining good posture is crucial for avoiding back pain. When lifting your children, make sure to keep your back straight and bend your knees instead of your back. Also, be mindful of your posture when sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
- Take Regular Breaks: Taking regular breaks can help prevent back pain. If you are standing or sitting for extended periods of time, make sure to take a few minutes to stretch your back and move around.
- Invest in Ergonomic Baby ‘Things’: Ergonomic equipment such as strollers, high chairs, and baby carriers can help prevent back pain. These items are designed to reduce the strain on your back and promote good posture.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain as a new parent, it’s worth seeking professional help. Your baby is only going to keep growing and will get busier and busier.
The team at Cianci Chiropractic Center can develop a personalized exercise plan to help alleviate your pain and improve your physical well-being so you can fully enjoy being a new parent. Contact us to learn more.