Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Motherhood Can Be a Pain In the ... Back {Giveaway}

Most women understand that with pregnancy, comes back pain. Even if you don't understand the particular whys and wherefores, you've seen enough media images of pregnant women waddling around while holding their lower back to understand back pain is to be expected. Me? I wore a brace for most of my third trimester. It supported my huge belly and helped to align my spine and improve my posture. I was in agony without it.

Of course, the back pain doesn't necessarily leave you after baby arrives in your arms. Chances are that baby will be spending an awful lot of time up in those arms over the next several months and years, and that can take its toll. Boo was a particularly needy infant, and I toted him around in a variety of slings and carriers for months. As a toddler he was more often than not perched on my hip. Talk about messing up your alignment!
mother carrying infant
image from
Routinely lifting a 7-10 pound infant up to 50 times a day can create crushing damage to your back if you’re not taking proper precautions. By the time a child is a year old, a parent is lifting and carrying up to 17 pounds numerous times a day.

Regardless of the weight of the child, the combination of carrying a baby and their diaper bag puts ample stress on a new mother’s spine. With a baby in one arm and a diaper bag on the other, keeping stress off your lower back is a balancing act. Chiropractors commonly treat new moms with back pain and have suggestions on how parents can wean down the stress on their back.

Tips for new parents to reduce postpartum backache include:

1.       Keep your baby close - Bring your baby close to your chest while picking up and putting down. The closer you hold your baby to your body, the less strain on your back.
2.       A bag’s not just a bag - Choosing a diaper bag that will help distribute weight evenly across your body will help avoid the stress of isolated muscles overcompensating for unevenly distributed weight.
3.       Turn off twisting - By avoiding a twisting motion while picking up your child, you’ll avoid straining muscles.
4.       Eyes up front - Consider using a “front pack” to carry your newborn baby when you’re heading out for the day; for older babies switch to a back carrier to protect your back.
5.       If you don’t need it, leave it - Diapers, yes. Soother, check! 3 changes of clothes and half a dozen story books, you can leave that at home. You’re a new mother and don’t need to add any excessive weight on your shoulders! 
6.       Feeding frenzy – When nursing, use a comfortable, upright chair and ensure you bring the baby to you, instead of bending forward to reach. Pillows of different shapes and sizes can be used to help support your lower back, arms and the weight of baby while feeding.
7.       Stretch and stabilize  - While baby enjoys some tummy time, join them on the floor and stretch your neck/upper back or do some exercises to strengthen and stabilize your core
8.       Mommy fitness - Resume exercise as soon as your health care provider gives you the go ahead; put baby in the stroller or in a front carrier and go for a walk every day.  The exercise and change of scenery are stimulating for both mom and baby.
9.       Trouble in the tub - Bending over a tub can put a lot of strain on your back; try to keep your little one as close to you as possible to avoid reaching or twisting.  If kneeling beside the tub kneel on a non-slip mat to try to take the pressure off of your knees.

A Giveaway

The Ontario Chiropractic Association is offering one of my readers the chance to win an ergonomic diaper bag filled with items to help new moms increase their back health. Valued at $100 the prize pack will include a baby-and-me yoga video, a portable foot massager, an exercise ball, an active heat wrap for back pain, and of course, a new diaper bag for all the goodies to go in.

Entries are via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, September 3, 2014. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.  Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post has been brought to you by the Ontario Chiropractic Association. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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