Have you ever wondered why back pain really gets you down?
Apart from the constant ache every time you try to bend or sit down, back pain suppresses serotonin, a compound found in your blood which, amongst other things, contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.
Back pain is a real problem in mothers. This is mainly due to the physiological changes in the body during pregnancy, which takes a while to recover from after birth, with many mothers suffering 12 months or more later.
However, the main reason problems persist during infancy is because of bad posture when breastfeeding and the strain of lifting and carrying an increasingly growing baby.
When breastfeeding, you will often be hunched up trying to support your baby, with your shoulders rolled forward. Think about changing your posture, pulling your shoulders back occasionally and straightening your torso. You could consider wearing a posture corrector for a week or two - it will certainly help.
Simple stretches will help ease back pain – look at these from Do You Yoga. Always consult with your obstetrician before starting an exercise regime but stretching shouldn’t be a problem. Start with head roles and kneeling exercises. This guide produced by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons should prove helpful.
Normal manual handling techniques should also be applied when picking your baby up – bend at the knees, don’t twist and hold your baby close to your chest before standing up.
A baby carrier will help to ease back pain by supporting your baby's weight and spreading this across your shoulders and upper back or around your hips. Most back pain occurs in the lower back, the area that takes the most strain when carrying your baby, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. So, by spreading the load, lower back pain is eased.
Types of Baby Carrier
The oldest form of baby carrier, the sling has been in use for centuries in one form or another. In its basic form, a sling is little more than a scarf tied around the neck and the baby is placed in this whilst the mother carries out her daily chores.
There are modern versions of this in the marketplace these days, but the principle is the same.
There have been reported injuries and even deaths from using this form of carrier, either from the baby falling out or through asphyxiation due to poor positioning. These are addressed below.
This is in some ways a misnomer because many wear it on their front (in fact this is the recommended way for babies under 6 months), but it is basically the same piece of equipment. Again, this has its background in ethnic groups using a shawl to hold the baby in place on the back (or front) leaving your hands free to work.
Modern versions can be quite sophisticated with straps and buckles which can be adjusted to suit the parent and baby.
This is basically a belt that you wear around the waist and it has a seat on which your baby sits. You need one hand to hold your baby so it does limit your activities, but it is very easy to put on (some use Velcro for speed) and it goes a long way to easing the strain on the back.
What are the dangers?
As I said before, there have been many instances where babies have been injured or even killed as a result of using a baby carrier of some sort but to be fair in most cases, it is the fault of the parent rather than the carrier. Nevertheless, manufacturers have worked to improve safety standards and produce guidelines on usage.
It is recommended that newborns be carried on the front, facing you, up to 3 months old, then facing forward after that. Only place on the back from 6 months on. Always follow the advice on TICKS for safe babywearing, and check regularly that your baby is comfortable and their airwaves are clear to allow normal breathing.
As a follow-up to this, I have a blog post I'd like to share with you on Baby Carrying Safety. with another cool acronym - B SAFE & SURE. Make sure you read this if you're babywearing for the first time, or considering it.
Other benefits of Baby Carriers
Whether ‘babywearing’ helps to develop a bond between baby and parent is still open for debate. In truth, the benefits are probably greater for the parent than for the child in this respect, but if it feels good, do it!
Apart from easing pressure on the lower back, the biggest benefit of using a carrier is that it frees up at least one hand to do things like open a car door, load a washing machine or vacuum the floor.
What does Baby Knows Best have to offer?
This low-cost buckle sling allows you to carry your baby in five different positions. The sling is easy to put on and take off with the help of its unique two buckle system. A large side release buckle is connected to two straps to make adjusting your sling easy. A smaller safety buckle is included for your peace of mind. The cushioned shoulder pad ensures all-round comfort while your baby stays snug cradled softly in the cotton hammock of the carrier.
For something a little more sophisticated, try our 2-part Ergonomic Baby Carrier consisting of a backpack and hip-seat, which can be used separately or in combination. There are 6 different ways this baby carrier can be used, making it the most adaptable model on the market.
I hope you found this interesting and informative. Please feel free to leave a comment.