Like quite a few mothers I know, I too have had trouble with a bad back that seems to be related to parenthood.
I was lucky in that I was not bothered at all by any sort of back ache throughout my pregnancy except towards the very end. Labour pains, contrary to all popular belief, can completely circumvent the abdomen and stay entirely limited to the lower back.
None of the many pregnancy books I read, classes I attended, nor the internet in all its wisdom, had warned me about this. I found out entirely by accident, having put the back ache and the upset stomach to a giant pizza I had eaten the night before. Turns out, I was twelve hours into labour with my first and only child. And if it weren’t for the timely intervention of an experienced friend, I would have ended up giving birth in my front room.
The next time I suffered from a bad back was when my little baby was growing bigger and stronger and we had to move the mattress in his cot bed right to the bottom to stop him climbing out. This meant I had to lean all the way over and lift him right the way up each time. J was a chunky little thing, so this was by no means an easy feat. Result – back ache.
It took me a while to figure out a strategy to help me with my sore back. I am sharing it with you in the hope it will help some of you. This is based on my experience alone and not meant to replace any advice given by a medical professional.
Here are my 5 tips to help with back ache as a parent:
Support your back
Whether you are sat in a chair watching television or breastfeeding, make sure your back is well supported. Use all the cushions in the house if you have to. Avoid those deep, comfy sofas that engulf and suck you in. They do feel rather lush, but do nothing to support your back.
Strengthen your core
Suck those tummy muscles in every time you get the chance. Not only will it help build a strong core, you may even regain your gorgeous pre-pregnancy flat belly sooner than expected. A strong core is important if you are trying to avoid back pain.
Watch your posture
They teach you all about load handling when you take up a new job. But nobody ever talks about the right way to lift that precious bundle of joy that is your baby. Try and ensure your weight is evenly distributed through both your legs when you are carrying your baby. Engage those core muscles when lifting baby up from ground level and bend through your knees and hips rather than through your back.
Carrying your little one
Switch between a one-sided hip carry, a piggy-back carry or a more traditional in-your-arms carry option depending on how old your child is. Make sure they have their arms and feet wrapped around you, so that their weight is evenly distributed. Plus it makes for great cuddles!
Your bed has to be of a good height so you are not stooping to get in and struggling to get out of it. We had a very low bed when I was a new mum and it was a nightmare getting out of it, which was every couple of hours when you are breastfeeding a newborn baby. It wasn’t long before we made the switch to a high divan bed and it made such a difference to my poor back.
Also, the mattress has to be right for you in terms of firmness and yield. Go for something that offers good support and adapts to the contours of your back. If you have a preference for sleeping on your back or on your side, make sure the mattress you choose is comfortable for your sleeping style.
These are my tips to avoid back pain. Is it something you have experienced after becoming a parent? How did you deal with it?
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.