Body Mechanics with Baby ……
As a new mom with an extremely fussy baby, I know that we will do ANYTHING to calm our sweet babies. Even as a physical therapist, I have found myself compromising my back, neck, and shoulders. So what can we do to have happy babies and happy mommas? Here are some of my tips from both clinical expertise and personal experience:
1.) Whether you are bottle feeding or breastfeeding, use a positioning pillow. I personally like the brest friend, but there are lots of great options including the pillows on your bed!
2.) Expanding on Tip 1: if you are breastfeeding, always bring your baby to the breast, not the breast to the baby. This is difficult, especially in the middle of the night, so have your pillows next to the bed and ready to go! Personally, I had my husband change the baby while I took 2 minutes to set up the pillows – your body will thank you and it allows your partner to help!
3.) Start gentle exercise early if you are cleared by your healthcare provider. I asked my MD on post-partum day 2 if I could start pelvic floor and abdominal contractions. She looked at me like I was crazy (clearly she had forgotten what I do for a living). I promised her that I would only do exercises in bed, through a pain-free range, and without weights. She eventually agreed, but reminded me that if uterine bleeding increased and was filling more than 1 large pad per hour that it was too much exercise.Your PT can help you identify which exercises are safe to do and when to start.
4.) Use post-partum support and/or a baby carrier. I tried a few different products including the bellefit and the belly bandit. I like the concept of the bellefit because it has a strap that comes between your legs and could potentially support the pelvic floor. However, the recommended size for me felt like it was squeezing my organs out. So, I switched to the belly bandit which allowed for more flexibility in the size and position. Honestly, the belly bandit is very similar to a back brace, so I do caution overuse of this and recommend actively contracting your abdominals while wearing it to avoid creating muscle atrophy. If you are not using a baby carrier, the post-partum support is nice to protect your muscles while you are performing standing and walking tasks (like singing Ohio State marching band songs while parading your baby around the living room in hopes she will fall asleep!). If your baby will tolerate a baby carrier, this is also really helpful for body mechanics, skin to skin time, and being hands free!
These are just a few of my tips to get you started. For more information or help with other activities, talk to your PT and they will help you modify your activity!
Body Mechanics with Baby ……