Are you new to the parenting world? First, let us start with a big CONGRATULATIONS to you! And second, we bet you are quickly learning that your body may need some help adjusting to the demands of this new, exciting role.
Rest assured you are not alone. Many new parents – moms and dads alike – often experience new aches and pains in the first year of parenthood. Today we will share with you a few tips and tricks that you can do from home that will help. As always, we’ve got your back!
Practice Good Posture
If you only take away one tip from this article, we really hope it’s this: Posture matters. How you carry yourself as you walk, sit, lay and play with your baby has a bigger impact than most people realize.
The easiest way to begin to be more mindful of improving your posture is to tackle “the hunch.” Many baby-related activities might cause you to hunch over which will result in neck and upper back pain over time. Here are three simple ways to limit how often you hunch over.
- Adjust the height of your baby’s bassinet or crib mattress: This will allow you to have an easier time keeping a healthy posture when you pick up or lay down your baby.
- Find a stroller that’s the right height: You will know it’s the right height if you are able to stand up straight when pushing your stroller. If it’s too short, you will be forced to hunch over as you push.
- Get (and use) a tall changing table: As often as possible, try to avoid the temptation to just change your baby on a changing pad on the floor.
Some people find it helpful to maintain good standing posture by visualizing it. When you are maintaining proper standing posture, a vertical straight line could be formed beginning at your ear and ending at your ankle. That line will cross directly through your shoulder, hip and knee at the same side of your body. Schedule an appointment with CPI’s back doctors in Bedford TX to learn more about posture!
Lifting & Holding Tips
The best two tips for lifting and holding anything – but especially your sweet, growing baby – is to always remember:
- Bend at your knees, not your waist
- Lift with your legs, not your back
We know it sounds cliché, but those two steps alone will make a world of difference! This is especially true if you begin this practice now while your baby is still small. It will hopefully become a habit by the time your little bundle is a not-so-little bundle anymore.
Also, we encourage you to limit the amount of time you use a hands-free baby carrier. While it certainly offers convenience, the wrong design can do all kinds of damage to your back. The best designs distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders and hips. Try several out in the store and read reputable reviews before you buy one.
Stretching & Strengthening
One of the best things you can do to prevent back pain and injury is simply achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Outside of that, we also highly recommend a regular routine of specific stretches and strengthening exercises. Our two favorites are:
- Yoga: Many yoga routines are specifically designed for helping decrease back pain. Inquire at your local yoga studio, recreation center or gym to find a certified instructor.
- Planks: Great for engaging your core which will offer much more support and resiliency in your back and all the other surrounding areas that may be aching.
Be sure to consult your care team before you begin a new exercise or stretching routine. If you are not currently working with a pain management professional, we have Bedford doctors accepting new patients (locations also in Benbrook and Lewisville) who would love the opportunity to help address your pain.
Manage Your Stress
Sleepless nights, anxiety (and excitement) over your new babe, post-partum concerns for the new Momma – we know there are many reasons to stress out as a new father. That stress can lead to tension and pain in many areas, especially the neck, shoulders and back.
One of our favorite tips for managing this stress is a simple breathing exercise developed by Dr. Andrew Weil called the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It’s our favorite because it’s 1) easy to remember, 2) free to practice and 3) can be done anywhere!
- Let your lips part and exhale through your mouth, letting out all the air you currently hold while making a “whoosh” noise.
- Next, with your lips closed, inhale through your nose to the count of four.
- Then hold your breath for the count of 7.
- Finish with the same style exhale you did in step 1 for the count of eight.
Pain can strike in any season of life for a wide variety of reasons – new baby, injury, surgery, age, new diagnosis, and much more. We’re here for all of them. Visit one of our three convenient Texas locations in Bedford, Benbrook or Lewisville today to learn more about what we can do to help improve your quality of life and better manage your pain.