Posture, Lifting and Carrying Tips for New Parents
The arrival of a new born baby is a very exciting time, but it is also a time when parents and caregivers are at risk of developing back pain due to neglect of their own health. Below are a few simple tips for posture, lifting and carrying which can be used to daily to help prevent pain developing. It is hard to actively think about these all of the time; however, the more you do it, the easier it will get.
- Sit in a chair where the low back is well supported, this can be enhanced by placing a stool or thick book under your feet so they are flat on the floor and or a pillow behind the low back to support the curve.
- Place a pillow under the arm that is supporting the baby, and if bottle feeding also place some support under the arm that is holding the bottle
- Switch arms with each feed
Lifting and Carrying
- Ensure you are standing with your feet shoulder width apart and as close as possible to your child before attempting to lift them
- Keeping your back as straight as possible bend at your knees.
- Retaining a straight back use both arms equally to lift your child then use your thigh muscles to stand up.
- When carrying and moving a child, pivot with your feet until you are facing your destination, then lower the child by bending at the knees and keeping your back straight. Bending and twisting puts the most load on the lower back structures.
- Try and alternate the side on which you are carrying your child or ideally carry them in the middle directly against your chest.
Putting Babies into the Car
- When putting your baby into the car, hold them close to you as you move towards the vehicle.
- Keep your back straight and only bend your knees when you have got as close to the car seat as possible.
- Only at this stage should you reach out to put the baby in the seat.
- If you’re carrying the baby in a chair, rest the chair on the edge of the car seat, then manoeuvre it into position within the car, keeping your knees bent and back straight.
Don’t try to reach out too early and avoid bending from the waist.
As your baby grows and develops into a toddler there will still be many times when they will want/need to be picked up, however try to avoid directly lifting them.
- When they want a cuddle sit down and try to encourage them to climb onto your lap instead of lifting them up.
- At bath time avoid directly lifting them, instead assist he/she to step over the bath, thus minimising the weight you have to take, work together and encourage them to develop their own body movements and control, while still keeping them safe with complete hands on assistance and supervision.
- Use the push chair when you’re out so as to prevent you having to hitch them on your hip when they are too tired to continue walking any further.