Pregnancy and childbirth are well-known for causing aches and pains, but once the baby arrives, new parents often find themselves dealing with a whole new set of physical challenges. Adapting to carrying your child, adjusting your sleep, and figuring out the best positions for feeding can all contribute to discomfort. In this article, we’ll discuss the common causes of new parent pain and offer some tips for alleviating discomfort so you can focus on taking care of your little one.
Common Causes of New Parent Pain
There are three primary causes of back and neck pain in new parents:
Carrying your child is a necessity, especially before they can walk. Even after they start moving on their own, you’ll frequently find yourself bending over to pick them up for safety or guidance. This constant lifting and carrying can take a toll on your back, particularly the upper back muscles between the shoulder blades. Overworked muscles can lead to pain or even misalign upper rib joints, causing chest pain or shoulder issues.
The Baby Carrier Dilemma
Baby carriers, while convenient for moving a sleeping baby from the car to the stroller, can be ergonomically problematic. Carrying the baby carrier away from your body increases the strain on your back, and using your elbow to hold the handle can cause neck pain and numbness in the arm. To reduce strain, keep the baby as close to your body as possible, switch sides frequently, and use the carrier only for short distances.
Sleep is often disrupted when you have a new baby, and awkward sleeping positions can lead to lower back pain and neck pain. Proper pillow positioning is crucial to ensure comfort during the limited sleep you get. For advice on pillow placement and sleeping positions, see my article on how to sleep comfortably.
Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding can lead to awkward positions that strain your back and neck. Leaning forward with hunched shoulders places extra pressure on your spine, similar to poor computer posture. To alleviate pain while feeding, maintain a posture with shoulders back and down. Use a pillow to support the baby, rather than cradling them in your forearms.
Addressing New Parent Pain with Chiropractic Care
Parenting a child for the first two years is one of the toughest times on your psyche and your body. Dr French, a chiropractor in Norwalk, CT understands the biomechanics of the body and the daily struggle of taking care of kids. If pain is making this time even more of a challenge than it has to be, contact us with questions, or click the button below to make an appointment to start feeling better fast.