Carrying Your Child While Saving Your Back
We all like to snuggle and care for our young children. But those five to 40 extra pounds can lead to an aching back if we don’t take care of ourselves. Here are a few tips to save your back but love your child:
- Squat down to pick up your child keeping him or her as close to your body as possible.
- Tighten your stomach muscles to help keep your back straight as you use your legs to stand up. Be sure to bend your knees and use your stomach muscles when you put the child back down.
- Carry your child in the center of your body keeping him or her close to you. Avoid having the child ride on one hip as much as possible. If the child does sit on one hip, alternate which hip you use and do not stick your hip out.
- Use a sling or backpack equally over both shoulders. If using a sling, frequently change the shoulder used.
- When putting on or taking off a backpack, rest the child safely on a higher surface such as a table. Avoid twisting to get the straps on. Bend your knees and tighten your stomach muscles to lift the child.
Using Car Seats, Strollers, and Cribs
It can sometimes be overwhelming looking at all of the baby equipment options out there. But not all of them are right for every parent, especially based on your height and environment. Here are a few tips on what to look for when shopping for baby equipment.
- Infant carriers are very helpful when you have a newborn but can be awkward to get in and out of a car. Be sure to bend your knees and shift into the car by placing your knee on the seat. Lift the seat out of the base with your knees and not your back. Always stay close and keep your back straight. For older children, have them climb into and out of the car seat if they are able. A small fun footstool may be helpful for them to reach their car seat.
- Strollers need to be tall enough so that you can stand upright to push without bending over. Some let you adjust the handle height which is very helpful if you and your spouse are very different in height. Be sure that you squat down to pick up or put the child into the stroller, using your stomach muscles to protect your back.
- Cribs usually have adjustable mattress heights. For infants, put the mattress at the highest setting. Once the child can sit up on his or her own, the mattress needs to be lowered for safety reasons. Bend at the knees and keep the child close to your body when lifting or lowering.
For additional questions, please contact the Physical Therapy Department, North Country Hospital Rehabilitation Services, 802-334-3260.
Amy Barrup PT, CWS is a Physical Therapist at North Country Hospital. Amy has worked there for 20 years. She is a native to the area having graduated from Lake Region UHS prior to receiving her Physical Therapy degree at UVM.