You got this (back ache), mama!

Chances are, as a new mom you did not anticipate all the back aches that come with nurturing your new baby! We contort our bodies in all sorts of ways while comforting, feeding, and picking up our little ones. Today on the blog, we have guest writer, Heather Snyder Ippolito from The Graceful Body (@good.posture.mama), to give us new moms some helpful tips on saving those backs! Here’s what she has to share:

As a new mom, there is so much to focus on. Is the baby eating enough? How can I get her to sleep more? Let’s see if I can carry those packages while also carrying the car seat. Oh no, the toddler is running for the stairs! I have to run and grab him! We do all of this and just keep going . We are good multitaskers after all! What usually falls to the side, however, is us.

Unfortunately, how we are carrying around that baby and picking up that toddler can have a negative affect on our backs, necks and overall tension patterns. We don’t need more tension as we already have enough so let’s find ways we can focus on ourselves and help our bodies to feel better as we navigate motherhood. Fortunately, there are simple things we can focus on to help us keep our bodies strong and healthy and feeling good!

Here are a few posture tips for all the new moms out there: 

Breastfeeding 

I’ve been a Posture Coach for 15 years but breastfeeding threw even me out of my alignment! It’s so hard to focus on getting the baby to latch properly, holding the baby, relaxing enough so your milk flows AND sitting with proper alignment. Proper alignment usually got thrown out the window for me in the first 3 months of breastfeeding. I was constantly stressing my neck and shoulders just to get my son to eat! 
However there really are ways to make it work without the constant strain on your shoulders and neck. First, find a chair where you can sit all the way back in it. Possibly put a pillow behind your upper back to shift you forward towards the baby. Now consider investing in a breastfeeding pillow to lift the baby to you without having to drop your upper body to him/her. 

Picking up children

If I ever use my body poorly and forget my alignment and everything I know, it’s when I’m running after my 1 yr old to pick her up! It’s possible, however, to practice picking up and holding our kids in healthier ways so we don’t hurt ourselves. Our spines are not meant to lift heavy things by bending at the waist. Putting strain on the mid back by bending over and lifting a child can do damage to your mid and lower back. We are meant to use our legs and arms and core to lift, while making sure not to round the spine.

Pushing stroller

Going for a walk with the stroller is a great time to bring awareness to your body. Make sure the bar is at a good height so you don’t have to lean over to push it. Lengthen up through your spine and push on the stroller using your mid and upper back, your lats (latissimus dorsi), and let your neck and shoulders relax. 

Holding your baby

When holding your baby, try to not arch your back. Taking on the additional weight of a baby naturally drives you to lean back. Try to keep this from happening by engaging your core and using your arms and lats to hold more of the baby’s weight. You may feel like you don’t have the strength to do this and that is a natural feeling when you start to shift your postural habits. Practice this a bit each day and you will find yourself getting stronger every day!

For more posture tips, you can find Heather at The Graceful Body and on Instagram at @good.posture.mama

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