Looking After Your Posture as a Mama
I remember in my antenatal classes, the midwife and physio made a big deal about how we need to stand to support the growing baby in our bellies. It was a “big deal”. Yet now it seems silly there was no mention about looking after our bodies once the baby was out. Because damn, my back has never been so sore.
From the moment our bubs are born, they become like an extra attachment. That baby carrying thing doesn’t go away once he or she is out of the womb. Nope, they just continue to get heavier.
We mamas spend our days rocking, carrying, wearing, pushing, lifting, jumping, walking, dancing with and holding our little ones. We sit on the floors and breastfeed. We bend over cots and get bubs in and out of car seats.
What all this means is now is a very critical time in our lives to pay attention to our posture, or we will end up with back problems (and more) later in life. So how do we do that?
It begins with simply being aware of your posture. Make it a priority as part of looking after your health. The last thing you need as a parent is a sore back!
- When breastfeeding, hold your baby up to your body, instead of bending over to meet his mouth. Use a pillow to get him up higher if you need to.
- When rocking, keep your back straight. Use your arms to support your baby’s weight instead of your lower back. Instead of bending your head down to look at bub, just look down, but keep your head up high.
- Try to use a carrier that distributes your baby’s weight without you feeling it in any one part of your body. It shouldn’t put strain on your shoulders or back.
- Walk with a straight back, especially when pushing a pram.
- If you’re on the floor with your baby, try to sit up straight instead of bending over. Or lie down so you’re on the same level and not having to bend.
Something I do at the end of each day, which I can seriously recommend as being a-mazing and worth every moment, is doing ten minutes stretching.
After I put my baby into her bed each night, I go straight out onto the floor, where I have a yoga mat already set up (minimise the effort it takes to get started), and I do the same set of stretches. At first, they are really difficult, because my back is so sore, but by the end, my back feels fine and the stretch is easy. If I didn’t do those stretches, I wouldn’t even realise how much damage my back was taking each day. It’s so simple to do a few stretches, and it is so worth it.
Here are some of the basic stretches I do, though any sort of basic yoga or sports stretching will be beneficial.
Basically just hold each stretch for twelve seconds. I try to repeat the set of stretches three times, or until my back stops hurting. Sometimes I do some different ones for variety. Note - this usually doesn’t even take ten minutes, but I like to commit to that much time anyway.
Ten minutes is easy to do. Even if you can only do it every couple of nights, it’s still worth it. Just think, ten minutes a day is 60 hours in a year. 60 hours stretching…well that’s a pretty sure way to take care of your body.