The Ergonomics of Parenthood
By Sara Butler
By the time your baby finally arrives you’ve probably read just about everything you can get your hands on in an attempt to prepare yourself for one of the most important roles you’ll ever play in someone’s life. Parenthood is a challenge, and not just mentally either. It’s very easy for parents to lose sight of caring for themselves when they’re caring for little ones. That’s exactly why it’s important to remember that, just as there are things that need to be done to encourage your baby’s health, there are things every parent should be doing for their own health, too.
The little things – feeding, walking, and lifting – can lead to big problems for parents if not done the right way. Here are the ergonomics that are important to keep in mind when you become a parent.
Whether you choose to bottle or breastfeed, it can be a process that takes quite a while, which means you may be stuck in one position for quite some time, and if it’s a position that’s terrible for your back and neck you’ll find yourself in a lot of discomfort. In an effort to keep back and neck pain at bay, remember:
- Don’t lean too far forward – Just as with any other activity, leaning forward puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders, neck, and upper back. Bring the baby to you when in a feeding position instead of leaning down to the baby.
- Get a comfortable chair – Since you’re going to be here a while, sit in a chair that offers cushioned support of your back.
- Keep your feet on the floor – Or you can place your feet on a stool in front of you, just avoid crossing your legs so you’re not twisting your pelvis or back.
- Use a pillow under the baby – This can help to remove some of the strain that holding even a tiny baby can put on your back, neck and shoulders after a while.
A baby may be small, but you still need to lift and carry him or her the right way in order to avoid hurting your back. Make sure you:
- Change the baby on a table – Get a changing table or use a surface that is tall enough that you don’t have to bend over.
- Hold the baby close – When you’re lifting the baby, don’t stretch your arms out and lift, bring them close and then lift. Always avoid twisting!
- Use a sling or carrier – Carrying a baby around on your hip on just one side can be bad for your body, so try instead to use a carrier or sling that keeps the baby close and distributes the weight a bit more evenly.
Of course, there’s always more to know when it comes to parenting, but these tips are a start. Seeing your chiropractor regularly can help you to keep aligned and may also help you to discover issues before they become bigger problems. If you ever have any questions about the ergonomics you should use with your child, talk to your chiropractor at The Joint, where walk-ins are welcome and there's a hassle-free no-insurance policy!