We want to give new moms some tips on how to lift, carry, and hold their babies and toddlers with good form. Incorrect lifting is one of the key issues that we see at Legacy Physical Therapy. We hear new moms commonly complain about having back or shoulder pain from all of the additional lifting and carrying they are doing now that they have a baby. Improper lifting can be a cause of these types of aches and pains.
Let’s talk through different things that you can think about to help make sure that you are using your muscles and your body correctly, getting you in the most supportive position as possible.
One of the things that can be really helpful when you are lifting is to try and get as close as possible to whatever it is you are lifting. We get it– sometimes that’s not possible, but do your best to get your body as close as you can before lifting. For older kiddos, you might even try having them climb up onto a couch or chair instead of bending down to them all the time in order to bring them closer to you.
Another thing you can do is try to pre-engage your core before you lift by using the “blow before you go” technique. The “blow before you go” technique is done by blowing your air out, or exhaling, as you lift. Or simply put– exhale and move. Blowing out teaches you to lightly engage your abdominals and pelvic floor (your deep core muscles) so that you have a more support from your core before you go to lift.
One key thing to remember with blow before you go is that as you lift your baby or your toddler up, continue to blow out with the lift. Do not hold your breath. Proper breathing can help regulate the pressure in your abdominal cavity and create good core support.
The next tip is about bending because we will have to pick up kiddos, the toys, car seats, and heavy bags off the ground at some point. When you do bend over to lift, think about bending from your hips and knees rather than bending from your back.
Let’s switch gears from lifting and talk carrying now. It’s really common to do the hip hike where we set our baby or kiddo off to one side on our hip. There’s nothing wrong with this way of carrying, but we want to even things out a little bit. If you tend to hold on the right side, switch off to the left side to keep things even. Also think about spending some time holding in the center. Holding in the center is a great position where we’re not putting so much pressure onto one side of our body or the other. Consider using a baby carrier to help with carrying in front.
Our last tip about is how to help sit and hold your baby. We see a lot of moms dealing with neck, back, or shoulder pain which could be from poor holding and feeding posture. A lot of moms position their upper bodies to hold or feed hunched forward and rounded in their shoulders and upper back. We recommend that instead you position yourself first with comfortable support and then position your baby or toddler. Support your back and shoulders in an upright and neutral position– using pillows, towel rolls, etc.– then bring the baby up to you. You might need additional pillow support under the baby to get them in the right height to be comfortably positioned.
We hope this is helpful. If you are dealing with any postpartum aches and pains related to how you are lifting and carrying, we are happy to talk with you more. Feel free to contact us at 636-225-3649.