Today, whilst at the traffic lights in front of the park, we nodded to the man standing next to us with the same brand of stroller. (Uppababy, in case you’re curious. It’s amazing and I’d highly recommend it.) He looked at us and said “Nice stroller”. We thanked him and returned the compliment. He mentioned that his son was 7 months old and it was handing well. And then my other half couldn’t resist,

- “And how much does your son weigh, may I ask?”

- “8.5 kilos. “

Clearly the man thought that his son was heavy because he hastily added “But he’s tall for his age!”.

The traffic lights changed and we said our goodbyes. On the other side of the road we giggled. 

“What do you think he’d say if we told him that our daughter is just over half his son’s age and weighs 7 kilos already? Oh! But she’s tall for her age!”

I’m not sure how our baby who was delivered at just over 2.5kg ended up flying up the weight percentile, but she’s suddenly heavy.

And my back and knees are feeling it. So here are a couple of tips on how to reduce the stress on your body…because after all, they’re only going to get bigger and heavier!

Generally, the key is to hold them as close to your spine or midline as possible, so that you use your largest muscle groups to lift and tote them about. And whatever you do, don’t twist them as you’re lifting. Roll or drag your baby (sounds lovely!) as close to you as possible before you lift or move them.

Be aware that you may be hunching your shoulders up which puts additional strain and tension on the nerves in your neck. If this happens, take a few seconds to breathe and relax your shoulders down.

1. Feeding

This one kills me. For some reason, I can only feed her on one side. My neck now cricks to the left and turning it right is painful (almost impossible) because I’m stuck in the “leaning-slightly-sideways-looking-at-my-bundle-of-joy” position. What I should have been doing from day 1 was leaning back against the chair or sofa, and placing something behind my lower back to support it and help me sit straight. Use a pillow (or whatever is close to hand) to bring your baby as close as you can to nipple or comfortable bottle-feeding level.

If you’re feeding your baby in a highchair, don’t lean over to do so. Sit down in a chair, and scoot it as close to the high chair as you can.

2. Crib Pick-Up

When putting your baby down, hold them close to your chest. You should stand facing the crib or cot, with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees “loose” and squat slightly before lowering your baby straight down. Do not twist if you can avoid it. If you tuck your tailbone under and tilt your pelvis slightly forward, you’ll activate your abs and this will protect your lower back.

3. Floor Pick-Up

Make sure you bend your knees and squat down low. (alternatively, you can get down on your knees) You should keep your back as straight as possible. Pick your baby up, and immediately give them a squeeze, pulling them close to your body. Again, move them so that they’re as close to you as possible before you pick them up. This means that you pull them to your feet or knees, and drag them close up your body, rather than leaning over and lifting from the floor directly to your chest.

Put your weight back in your heels and push through them to stand up.

If you’re on your knees, step one foot up, push your weight through the heel of that foot and then step up on the second foot.

4. Baby Wearing

Make sure that you adjust the straps to spread and balance the weight of your baby across your whole body and hold the baby close to your chest.

5. Stroller Driving

Surprisingly, this can lead to all sorts of strain and tension in your shoulders, neck and upper back. As I mentioned above, we have an Uppababy Vista, and one of the reasons we chose it was because the handle extends for tall people (my other half). This means he doesn’t need to lean forward or hunch to push (or pull, run or do “wheelies” in the park).

Generally, walk close to the stroller, and keep your elbows in close to your body.

When getting your child in and out, remove any obstacles (like the restraining bar), get down low with your back straight and again, pull your baby in close before you stand up.

 

My baby is now a little older (nearly 5 months). She is just starting to sit unsupported and given any chance she likes to show off her wobbly standing skills. I now roll her to sitting and pull her up to standing (with me holding her weight) before I lift her. That way she’s a few inches closer to me before I start. As above, I pull her in close for a sneaky hug.

Ah! It’s the little things….

Do you have any advice on avoiding back or neck strain when lifting your (sometimes not-so-little) bundles of joy? We’d love to hear in the comments!