Postpartum tips – carrying/picking up your baby

Simple postpartum tips

In this blog post, I am going to share simple postpartum tips to help make those repetitive tasks gentler on you.  This is my third blog post together with Squishy Tushy.  It has been super fun to work on these blogs.  Nuri asks the questions and I provide the insight.  The first blog was on burping your baby and the second on crying babies, be sure to check them out.  However this week we wanted to focus on the moms.

Motherhood is seriously tough on the body and quite literally everything else. In my experience as a chiropractor, I found that protecting your body postpartum and preventing pain is all about balance.  Because let’s face it, it’s not always possible to have perfect posture and alignment. But making small, mindful changes can go a long way to improve the overall health of your body and spine.

How are you picking up things?

As a mom, you are lifting so many things throughout the day – babies, toddlers, babies and toddlers, car seats, diaper bags etc.  Protecting your body during lifting is not just relegated to lifting in the gym, but every aspect of your life as a mom.  It’s important to be mindful of how you are using your body to lift these objects.  What is especially important to consider is the repetitive nature of these tasks.  Lift your baby off the play mat once with your back might be fine, but add to that changing nappies on the bed 10+ times a day to bending over the bath and you will definitely start feeling some aches and pains.  Below are postpartum tips for better ways to pick up not only your baby but other heavy objects too.

Postpartum tips on bending down

  • Use your legs, not your back (I bet you’ve heard that a million times).  Lifting with your back is EASIER, you use less muscles, don’t move as far and you don’t have to work as hard.  BUT, it puts a huge strain on your spine.  Get used to squatting or kneeling positions to grab objects.  When standing up, use those strong leg and butt muscles.
  • Hold baba/heavy laundry basket/other heavy objects close to your body, this reduces strain on your back and arms.
  • It’s quick and easy to change baby’s nappy on the bed, either you’re bent over or sitting in a twisted position.  Doing either of these multiple times a day is going to cause significant strain to your back.  Make sure you have a waist level changing surface to work on which brings baby’s bum to you rather than you to it.  This also limits the amount of work your muscles and back have to do.  Use this principle even when working with bulky heavy objects like your laundry basket or groceries.

Tips for carrying things

Give yourself little reminders throughout the day about your alignment and posture.  Not because it needs to be obsessed about but to be gentler on your body when you can.  The body is truly remarkable.  It is designed to handle all the awkward positions and postures we put ourselves in and the adapt/adjust as needed.  The problem, however, arises when we LIVE in these positions.  Our bodies are placed in a constant state of stress-strain-pressure and misalignment.

  • Look for a backpack style diaper bag.  Let’s face it you will be carrying the bag not only with your baby in your arms but probably many other things too.  A backpack allows for better alignment, evenly distributes weight, places less strain on the shoulders/upper back and allows more freedom of movement when you are being a superhero mom.
  • Don’t have a separate handbag, use that diaper bag to carry all your essentials.
  • Try to hold baby front and centre, rather than on your hip.  If you tend to hold your baby on your hip then be sure to swap sides often.  Trick – swap before you feel pain.
  • Use a baby carrier.  What’s better than having your baby super close and two hands free?  I’ll be sure to do a blog post on baby carriers soon.  This is literally a game-changer.  There are so many wonderful products on the market, find one that suits you and your needs.  They all have some pros and cons and you need to find what works best for you and your baby.

Postpartum tips for carrying baby

The postpartum period

The postpartum period is absolutely remarkable because not only is your body healing from the biggest physical feat it will ever endure, but it is also strengthening and adapting to the physical, emotional and mental reformations of motherhood.  Being gentler on your self is not only important for your back, but also to your core and pelvic floor.  You can do all the exercises to get stronger, but if you aren’t changing your daily movement patterns you may never completely heal.

We hope these postpartum tips help you to be mindful of your body on this journey.