Children, we love them… but sometimes our bodies don’t! We enter parenthood prepared for sleepless nights, but no-one tells us about the toll that weeks, months, and years of cradling, and picking up little ones will take on our bodies.
Lifting them out of cribs, into cribs. Rocking them to sleep, coaxing a toddler into a car seat, all the while bent over trying to get the straps done up. Undertaking chores with a toddler perched on your hip. Giving piggyback rides…. The list goes on. The result? We’ve seen everything from bad backs, to painful elbows to achy shoulders.
Our top five dos and don’ts
Do think about your posture when picking your child up. It’s the same technique for lifting any object, even your child. Lift using your legs and not your back. Bend down into a squat and lift with a straight back. Never bend over from the waist as this will strain your back muscles.
Don’t carry your child on your hip. It’s easy to do but standing with your hip out will cause damage over time, not just to your hip but to your pelvis, back, neck, even your arms. If you don’t have a carrier or stroller, carry your child in front of you, with their arms and legs wrapped around you, so that their weight is distributed evenly.
Do take time to position your body correctly when taking your child in and out of their car seat. It’s an awkward space and it’s easy to twist something while maneuvering your child.
Don’t pick your child up from sitting. Staying seated and leaning forward places pressure on the spine. In fact, the pressure on your spinal discs as you lean forward increases up to as much as ten times the weight of your little one. That makes for one heavy toddler!
Do find time to look after your body, even if it’s undertaking some strengthening stretches. For example, cobra is an excellent stretch. It opens up the chest and stretches the muscles in your lower back and abs, as well as stretching and strengthening the muscles in your shoulders.
Don’t suffer – seek help
The best course of action is to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Unlike an injury picked up playing sport, you can’t take time out from your children so you’ll just keep aggravating the injury. Plus, the longer you leave it, the worse it can get and the longer it will take to heal. Give us a call as soon as you feel that first niggle so we can keep you running around after your brood.