New moms need to reduce their risk of pain and injury when lifting and carrying their babies, an expert says.
“Initially, mothers may start off lifting their child of seven to 10 pounds numerous times per day. Slowly, the weight load increases and if the proper lifting techniques aren’t used, this can lead to back strain,” Dr. Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic surgeon and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said in an academy news release.
After getting their doctor’s OK, new moms can begin exercising to restore muscle tone to their abdomen and back, Strickland said. While baby naps, mothers should spend 10 minutes a day on the floor doing strengthening and stretching routines. This will help restore hip and back flexibility and strength, she said.
Strickland also advises moms to start eating a healthy diet immediately after giving birth and try to return to a normal weight within six months.
Both moms and dads can use the following tips to prevent back pain and injury:
- Don’t lift your baby with outstretched arms. Instead, bring the baby close to your chest and then lift. Do not twist your body. When picking up a child from the floor, bend at your knees, not at your waist. Squat down, tighten your stomach muscles and lift with your legs.
- Remove the tray when putting a baby in or taking a baby out of a high chair. When lifting a baby out of a crib, bring the baby close to you while slightly bending your knees.
- Use a “front pack” to carry your baby when walking. Try not to carry your child on your hip, because it overloads the back muscles. If you must do so, alternate sides.
- Prevent upper back pain while nursing by bringing the baby to your breast, rather than bending over the baby. While nursing, use a pillow or specially designed nursing pillow to elevate the baby.
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has more about preventing back pain.