The bodies of women who have just had a baby are rapidly going through many changes. It is very common for new moms to develop new aches and pains. It is easy for new moms to get into bad posture habits which can cause pain. This is especially the case with holding the baby and nursing. The quote below may be an all to familiar description of the pain that new mom’s can experience.
“I have a 7 month old baby whom I breast-feed and also carry frequently on one side or the other throughout the day. By nighttime, I have pain and burning in my mid-back area. What can I do?”
The scenario described above is very common among new mothers. There are several possible reasons for the symptoms. The position of breast-feeding tends to place the mother in a slumped forward posture with the added weight of holding the baby. To maintain the normal curve of your spine while stabilizing your hips make sure your feet are supported. To avoid a slumped posture, use a pillow under the baby to support your baby’s weight and under your elbows and forearms during nursing. Placing another pillow behind your back can assist in maintaining good posture so that breast-feeding can be an enjoyable experience, not a painful one.
Carrying and lifting a baby frequently throughout the day can cause burning and aching in the mid to low back area. When a baby is held on one side, it forces the hip to hike upward on that side and the spine to slump forward and sideways. This causes the spine to be held in an awkward strained position. When the weight of the body leans away from the vertical position, the muscles must work overtime to hold the body up and the joints are loaded in an imbalanced way. Obviously, a mother will need to lift and hold her baby frequently, but there are techniques that can minimize the stress placed on the back.
- The spine functions best when it is kept in good postural alignment (vertical).
- When holding the baby, maintain a balanced posture by keeping your abdominals tightened.
- Even while indoors, wear comfortable shoes with good arch supports to improve shock absorption through the spine and promote alignment.
- Learn and practice correct lifting techniques, like bending from your knees, not your back, when picking up the baby.
- If standing for a prolonged period of time in one position, prop one foot up on a footstool to help maintain a proper curve of the spine.
- Keeping your body fit with a walking or exercise program while help your body withstand the strain of carrying your baby.
If your pain persists you should contact your physical therapist for help.