Body Mechanics After Baby: Tips for Improving Movement and Decreasing Injury
Life with a new baby is exciting, tiring, and always an adventure. But you don’t need to settle with new aches and pains that come with caring for your newborn. Your hormone levels are still changing, you are trying to navigate breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding, you may have discovered that holding your baby is sometimes awkward and hard to manage. You may be experiencing a lot of changes after all and are still getting used to this new way of life. A lot of times we are so worried about caring for a newborn we forget to take care of ourselves! It is important to keep your body healthy & strong so that you can keep caring for your family without pain. Check out Part 1 of this postpartum blog series. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind:
Tip # 1: Protect Your Spine!
To prevent neck and shoulder pain, you want to pay attention to your body position while breastfeeding. Bring your baby to you rather than you going to your baby. What I mean by that is if you are breastfeeding, use pillows to support your baby and bring him/her as close as possible to your breast. This will prevent you from rounding forward through your shoulders and slouching in your back to try and get your baby to your nipple.
Tip #2: Care for Your Core!
Make sure you know how to safely get in and out of bed. This will help protect your abdominal wall that may still be healing and reduce any strain on your lower back. Use a log rolling technique to get out of bed. If you are lying on your back, first roll to your side. Then, bring your legs off of the bed as you use your top arm and bottom elbow to help press your body up into a seated position. Reverse this when you are trying to lie back down. Check in and continue to breath as you transition in and out of bed.
Tip #3: Be mindful of your movements!
Stand up from a chair with a support. To properly get out of a chair, scoot forward to the edge of your chair. Next, bring your feet underneath your knees and lean forward so that your nose is over your toes. Inhale before standing up and then start exhaling (imagine you are blowing out birthday candles) and stand up. Ideally you will be in a chair with arm rests. During the early stages of healing, you want to push with your arms as much as possible to get yourself into a standing position.
Tip #4: Variety is key!
Make a conscious effort to change which side you hold your baby, feed your baby, and change your baby. This will keep you from overusing one side, which could lead to bigger pains down the line.
Tip #5: Care for your body!
It is also important to take the time to care for yourself. Get rest when you can, sneak a little nap in when the baby is napping. Furthermore, you want to start gradually strengthening your body. It has been through a lot and needs patience and consistency to rebuild its strength. Check out our blog on gentle exercises to start postpartum.
It is easy to forget about taking care of yourself in the those early postpartum days. We hope these tips will help prevent or at least ease any aches or pains your may be feeling. If your pain persists, or you are experiencing any bladder, bowel or sexual problems, reach out to one of our pelvic floor physical therapists at Atlanta PT.