As a new father and experienced physical therapist, I realized being a new parent is not only a rewarding and joyous experience, but it can be very hard on the body! As Father’s Day approaches, here are some tips I would like to share on how to prevent aches and pains as a new parent.
One of the things I noticed immediately was that you will always be looking down to take care of your baby. Whether it is to feed, carry, put to sleep, or just to look at your lovely little one, your neck will always be positioned downward! I found myself having a lot of neck pain after just a few weeks. Be sure to take breaks from looking down at the baby and to extend your neck up towards the ceiling to give your neck a break!
Similarly, with all the carrying involved, make sure you straighten up your upper, lower, and mid-back to prevent your back from accumulating too much strain while you are rocking or carrying your little one. Try squeezing and pinching your shoulder blades together to help protect your neck and upper back from any further back aches.
As the baby gets a little older and bigger, make sure you are squatting with your legs and not with your back! This will protect your back from being strained after the hundredth time picking him or her up from the floor or the crib.
We all have a dominant or more comfortable arm to carry the baby with, but think about switching it up to the other arm as much as you can. This will prevent future shoulder, neck and back problems caused by imbalance by always carrying your child on one side of your body.
Whether the baby is being breastfed or bottle fed, be sure to find a comfy pillow to place behind your lower back to prevent from being slumped or slouched over. This helped my wife reduce back pain that she acquired after many hours of feedings.
I love baby carriers for comfortable transportation while walking, hands-free for chores, as well as closeness with my little one. However, it’s important you have all straps positioned properly and securely. You do not want your baby hanging too low on you or else it will actually cause more strain on the upper and lower back. Make sure you are able to stand up with good posture without slouching while your baby is attached.
It’s beneficial to get out and spend some time by yourself and get some exercise! Go for a walk or jog, ride your bike, or take an exercise class. You’ll be amazed by how much your body will appreciate you taking care of yourself. It will also help boost your mood!
Whether you’re a new parent or not, we’re always here to help. Don’t be afraid to check in with a physical therapist for more postural corrections and hands-on techniques. Our experts can help identify any problems you’re having with appointments available in-clinic or virtually through our telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.