Mums often worry about back pain, and with due cause, often an epidural can leave you with some persistent back pain throughout the first few months, and then the constant picking up and carrying of a little one who is craving comfort, closeness and attention is surely going to put pressure and strain on your back. A lot of parents worry that Babywearing is going to just cause extra stress and strain, carrying your baby for long periods will surely increase the pain, but I am here to tell you that Babywearing is a great way of reducing the pain and if you are willing to find it there is a Baby Carrier out there to suit you and your back.
Babywearing is a great way to take the stress and pain off your back, I know of lots of Mums who after being introduced to babywearing have found the pressure easing, and their aching neck and shoulders easing along with the back pain. Let me take some time to guide you through the various Babywearing methods and carriers out there and highlight the benefits of babywearing with a bad back and also some things you should look out for to make sure babywearing doesn’t put any extra pressures or pains on your spine.
Babywearing is a great way to take the stress and pain off your back
Slings spread out the baby’s weight across your back with the fabric strip running diagonally from shoulder to hip. Both Ring Slings and Pouch Slings have this shape and design. If you are prone to back pain or are suffering in these early months then a sling would be good for shorter carrying periods because they are putting all the weight across one shoulder, you can of course swap shoulders but once you are used to one way of wearing a sling it is really odd trying to get used to it the other way round (try folding your arms, and now fold them the other way round – see what I mean, our brains quickly get used to doing things a preferred way!)
Two shouldered Carriers are much better if you are someone prone to backache as the weight is distributed equally over both shoulders, but also they are spreading the weight across your whole back using their cross over design. Mei Tai’s will hug tight and with their large wide straps the weight is distributed over a larger area putting a lot less stress on your back. If you are a backpain sufferer and you have chosen a Mei Tai I would recommend making sure you tie baby nice and snug to your body.
the top of the class when it comes to Babywearing and Easing Back Pain is the Soft Structured Baby Carrier
By far the top of the class when it comes to Babywearing and Easing Back Pain is the Soft Structured Baby Carrier. Like the Mei Tai this style of Babywearing spreads baby’s weight equally between your two shoulders and across the back, but these carriers (Babybjorn, Littlelife, Bushbaby) really can make your baby feel weightless because they are designed to transfer the majority of the weight to your quadriceps which are your most powerful muscles, this is done with the structured waists you find on this type of carrier.
I have heard of Mums whose back pain has been greatly reduced from wearing their little ones in wraps and slings and Mei Tai’s for the first few months but as Baby gets bigger the back pain comes back. This has nothing to do with Babywearing, it has to do with the child’s weight changing and the Mum not changing the style of carrying. I am not saying you have to change the Carrier, but more look at the different positions your little one can be carried in and alter the position until you find the one which suits you and baby. However with these ‘Material’ Carriers changing the carrier is sometimes the best way to stop the back pain if it returns, this is because over time and with increased weight from a growing baby the material will stretch and baby will start hanging lower thus putting more pressure on the back.
I also hear of Mums who find the Soft Structured Carriers a real strain on their backs, again as Baby gets bigger. Again, this can be corrected by simply altering the position of baby and altering the carrier. These carriers are designed to grow with baby, and need to be tailored and tweaked as baby gets bigger to keep spreading the weight evenly. I hear time and time again of Mum’s who don’t watch the DVDs supplied with Soft Structured Carriers, or who don’t read the instructions fully. These instruction booklets and DVDs need to kept somewhere safe, so as Baby grows you can check the manual and adjust the carrier accordingly.
the beauty of Soft Structured Carriers is that Dad’s love wearing them too!
If you are a Mum suffering with back pain I not only recommend Babywearing but also I fully recommend massage. I think new mothers should really receive regular massage therapy, firstly your back is going to be altered and affected throughout the pregnancy, epidurals and labour can strain the back further and then breastfeeding can put your shoulder into an unnatural position, all this along with carrying baby is putting pressures on your back. It is really important to take care of your back now to save real nightmares later, and I know it can be unrealistic but once or twice a month if you are able to get a massage I know you will feel the benefit.
So my top marks go to Soft Structured Carriers, they are suitable for both long and short periods of Babywearing, they spread the weight to where it is going to cause the least amount of strain, and they are adjustable and will grow with baby so you won’t have to replace them because they stretch out of shape. These carriers teamed with some massage therapy will make sure you are feeling fabulous, and the beauty of Soft Structured Carriers is that Dad’s love wearing them, so it means he will be keen to carry baby more often giving you more time to put up your feet and rest that back!
Babywearing With Back Pain
Recommended Baby Carriers for Back Pain Sufferers
The Hippychick Hipseat is a small padded seat worn around the waist which can save you years of back pain, have a read of our review to find out what we think of the Hipseat and why it works so well.
The Bushbaby Elite Carrier is a terrific and manly carrier prefect for hiking and the outdoors, read all about its uses and features in our detailed review.
A really stylish and sleek carrier from those clever swiss guys! With loads of great features meaning comfort for you and baby is key. Read all about it in our review.
The Close Baby carrier is like a Mei Tai without the ties, a Warp without the wrapping, a soft structured carrier without the buckles. Read all about it in our review.