As a parent, you protect and support your kiddo - but the care shouldn’t stop there! From feeding to lifting, and all the changes that come along with parenthood, don’t underestimate the importance of protecting and supporting your body, too.
Feeding positions often require a rounded posture, so it’s important we know how to support ourselves during this important time for baby’s growth and development.
- With bottle feeding, try to switch sides often
- Use pillows under your arms and under baby
- Try to relax your shoulders, keeping them away from your ears
If you find yourself continuing to round your shoulders during feeding time, consider some exercises and light massage techniques to help support your posture:
- Cat-cow will mobilize the spine and help avoid tightness
- A lacrosse ball massage on the chest will loosen up your muscles that get tight with shoulder rounding
The position that is safest in which to lift your baby will depend on their position in relation to your body. If you’re lifting from the floor, your movement pattern will be close to what your deadlift looks like. Consider these points as you set up for your grab-a-baby hip hinge:
- Have baby as close to your stance as possible
- Bend your knees and use your legs to lift
- Keep a neutral spine
- Don’t forget - deadlift!
If you’re lifting from the crib, consider that while the baby is closer to you, you have to maneuver around the crib railing:
- Make sure the top of the crib’s railing is at waist height or lower
- Stand close to the crib and avoid rounding the spine as you reach in
- Bring baby as close to the railing as possible
- Hinge at the hips (deadlift!)
Diastasis recti is the natural separation of the abdominal muscles as the body makes room for baby to grow. It is present in every pregnancy over 35 weeks, and can lead to improper coordination of the core muscles, resulting in back pain
In addressing diastasis recti, the goal is not to close the gap! With exercise, the gap may lessen, but the focus should be on activation and strengthening exercises that support a strong core:
- Core activation: Practice bracing and holding for five seconds at a time by sucking in your belly and then relaxing
- Core stabilization: Hold planks on a mat, balancing either on your toes or knees - whichever is most comfortable for you
- Core coordination: Perform bird-dogs to practice coordination, and graduate to dead bugs when you’ve regained some strength.
Mother’s thumb, or De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is the aggravation and inflammation of the tendons that run along the side of the wrist to the thumb. It is caused by repetitive loading at that tendon, such as the position of picking your baby up.
If you’re having issues with Mother’s thumb, here are a couple quick remedies to help calm that tendon down:
- Keep your thumb glued to your hand when lifting
- Ice your wrist, below your thumb; alternate 10 minutes on and off
- Apply heat and light massage to the forearm below the area of discomfort
- Use a brace to immobilize the thumb
Remember, you’re strong like a mother!
Taking care of baby is a feat of mental and physical strength, so make yourself the strongest version of you by protecting and supporting your body!
If you’re looking for some pointers, the Wellness and Coaching teams at One Academy can be a valuable resource. Book your chiro or physio appointment today, or work one on one with a coach!
By: Dr. Julia Marshall