How to Carry a Child without Hurting Your Back
Babies and toddlers may look small, but any parent knows they can be heavy. While we’re happy to hold our children for as long as possible, there are also times that it can be physically painful or even cause long-term damage to our bodies. But there are ways to carry children that are protective to both the parent and the child, and paired with the care of a Charlotte chiropractor, it is possible to avoid injury and pain while still keeping your children close.
Why Carrying a Child Can Hurt
Any time we lift something heavy, there is a risk of injury and pain, and this is especially true when lifting children. It is common for children to be lifted up to 50 times per day, even as they grow and become heavier. Certain things can increase the risk of injuring your back – for example, lifting an infant car seat can be particularly difficult. Not only does the seat add up to 20 pounds, but they are also usually carried on one side and contribute to a significant imbalance.
It is also common for parents to hover over their baby or stoop down before lifting a baby, especially a newborn who is always on their back, which can cause back pain. And when you do pick them up, holding them in one position for a long period of time can also cause imbalances and discomfort.
Proper Carrying Techniques
When you need to lift your child, there are a variety of techniques you can use to preserve your back. There are three key things to remember:
- Be sure that you do not bend at the waist when you reach for your child, but bend the knees and lift with your legs. This reduces strain on the back by shifting it to the legs.
- Maintaining good posture, like keeping your shoulders down and chest back, can help protect the integrity of your back. Before you stand, you should also hold the baby close to your chest and avoid twisting.
- Be sure that when you lift, your feet are hip-width apart to balance and brace the body for lifting.
You can also use alternatives when possible, like a stroller, a hip seat, or a baby carrier to take the strain off the back.
Proactively Protecting Your Back
In addition to using the proper technique for carrying a child, you can ensure that your back is strong and protected before you even lift them. Using exercises like stretching, yoga, core work, and light weightlifting can all be beneficial to your overall health as well as your back strength.
Regular chiropractic adjustments by Dr. Grant Lisetor are another great way to protect your back against any injury. When the spine is properly aligned, it is less susceptible to injury and can better sustain the pressure. The team at Greater Life Chiropractic can also suggest adjustments to your posture and carrying technique to help you carry your child for as long as possible without pain! Contact the team at Greater Life Chiropractic in Charlotte to book an appointment.
Dolan, P. Adams, M.A. “Repetitive lifting tasks fatigue the back muscles and increase the bending moment acting on the lumbar spine.” Journal of Biomechanics, 1998 Aug; 31(8): 713-21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9796671/
Havens, K.L., Severin, A.C., Bumpass, D.B., Mannen, E.M. “Infant carrying method impacts caregiver posture and loading during gait and item retrieval.” Gait and Posture, 2020 Jul; 80: 117-123. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32502794/