5 Tips from a physical therapist on how to care for yourself Momma while caring for a newborn.
Taking care of a newborn is never an easy task. After carrying the growing fetus for nine months followed by x-number of hours of labor and delivery, a new mom’s body is beaten up; and in this vulnerable state, your body is more prone to injury whether it is your first, third or fourth. But your mind is probably on the crying baby; hungry, needing a diaper change, sleepy, or just seeking for your warmth and comfort. How can you think of your own needs then? Truthfully, it is challenging but not impossible. All mothers would always want to give the best to their kids. And what is the best and most important gift of all — YOU! That’s why it is necessary to take care of yourself, Momma.
Here are some helpful tips from a physical therapist on how to care for yourself while caring for your newborn.
1.Keep the baby close to your body. It is important to carry any load of weight close to your center of mass to prevent undue strain on your back and arms. This way, you are using a large group of muscles, improving your stability and efficiency. Avoid too much leaning back, keep your spine straight. If you can, try to incorporate some core muscle activation for a few seconds. You may want to make use of a baby carriage or sling, this will give your arms some break and allow you to make use of your hands for something else. Just make sure to choose the safest and most comfortable kind for you and your baby.
2. Bend at your knees, not at your waist. Be mindful where you bend whenever you pick up your baby from the bed, crib or bassinet. You may want to adjust the height of the crib to help you with this task. Bending at your waist puts too much stress on your spine and can eventually cause terrible back pain. Also, keep your back straight, face your baby when you need to pick him up. Never pick up from your side, twisting and bending at the same time.
3. Set up your diaper changing table at waist level. Make sure everything you need is close to you if not within arm’s length. This will prevent too much bending over, but if you are changing the diaper on the floor or floor bed you may kneel on both knees or sit on your heels to improve stability and back support.
4. Determine the most comfortable nursing position. This is very important as you will be in this position/s every 2-3 hours for at least 15 minutes. There are nursing pillows commercially available that are great to use to provide enough support on the baby so you need not hold him every single time. A side-lying or C-position may work for you and little one, just don’t forget to slide a pillow in between your legs to ease your back from unnecessary strain. If possible, change your position every feeding time to allow your muscles to stretch.
5. Start simple and short calisthenics or stretching exercise routines. A 10-15 minute stretching exercise targeting your neck, upper and lower back, arms, and legs is a great kick-off in your journey in getting back to your pre-pregnancy body and in preventing injury or body aches from caring for your newborn.
Remember, a healthy mommy, a happy baby! Set an appointment with your physical therapist for more helpful tips on proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and exercise routine. Tribeca Physical Therapy is officially reopened for in-person physical therapy sessions and continues to offer Telehealth PT or Virtual PT. Call us at 2124068080 or message us and book your first session free.