I have seen a lot of mums come to my classes with sore necks and sore backs. It is a common complaint in those first 12 months of being a mum. From talking to quite a few of them, I do think there are some tips that can help reduce the chances of pain and soreness that I have learnt from being a mum myself and from specialist post-natal Phyios.
Pram Power 5 tips for new mums to reduce their chance of pain and soreness.
1. Best Breastfeeding Posture
Posture when breastfeeding is SO important. Make sure you have good support from your back with a cushion or pillows behind you to keep you upright – this is especially important if you end up breastfeeding in bed. Bring baby up to you by having them on a pillow. This way you are not slumping over for long periods of time.
2. Stretching after exercise
Exercising burns calories and so does breastfeeding (300-500 calories per day). So think about breastfeeding as a workout and do your stretches at the end of it! Gently stretch your neck side to side and rotate in both directions. Open your arms wide to stretch those chest muscles and add a few shoulder rotations!!
3. Lift before you Lift.
Yes I’m talking about the pelvic floor. As a mum you are constantly lifting heavy items repeatedly – prams in and out of cars, baby car seats, heavy shopping bags and of course your growing baby (or toddler). So before you pick up something heavy, it takes half a second to scoop in your lower belly, drawing on your deep tummy muscles and lifting the pelvic floor at the same time. This will protect your back as your lift. Especially important in those early months post birth.
4. Lift baby close to your body.
Due to the laws of physics, the greater the distance from the lever point the the greater the force on the lever. So in plain language, if you bend over to pick up your baby at arms length rather than close to you, the force on your back is increased 10x from 7-10kg for example, to 70 – 100kg. So try to have them as close to you as possible when picking them up from cot, pram, floor and not make them heavier than they need to be!
5. Reset your posture throughout the day
Having good posture will get those deep tummy muscles working and tone your tummy at the same time. Think about your posture while pushing the pram, in sitting (on bottom bones, not slumping) and in standing will reduce your chance of back and neck pain.
A lovely client once told me she wished she had paid more attention to these things. She would have avoided expensive trips to the Physio only to be told to do the same as above.
It all starts with awareness. Being aware of your posture, bending and lifting will help you look after yourself so you can look after your family.