Top Five Neck and Back Pain-Relief Tips for New Parents

As a new parent, you’re probably no stranger to aches and pains, especially in your neck and back.

Between lifting your new baby out of their crib, carrying them around on one hip while trying to cook dinner with the other, and falling asleep in a rocking chair during nighttime feedings, pain is practically inevitable.

You might not be able to totally avoid the aches and pains that come with new parenthood, but there are lots of things you can do to lessen their severity. Read on for five great tips that will help you avoid back and neck pain while caring for your new baby.

1. Lift Your Baby with Care

It’s essential for new parents to take care when lifting their baby, whether they’re picking them up off the floor, out of their crib, or out of a high chair.

It might not seem like it’s necessary to pay attention to your posture when you’re lifting a newborn baby. But, it only takes one improper lift to cause some serious back pain.

When you’re picking up your baby, make sure you’re bending at the knees and engaging your abdominal and back muscles. You should also make sure you’re pulling your shoulder blades together and down your back. Try to keep them in that position after you’ve lifted your baby, too. That’ll help you avoid hurting your neck or trapezius muscles.

2. Carry Your Baby Carefully

After you pick your baby up, make sure you’re also carrying them carefully.

One of the best ways to carry your baby is to hold them at your side with one leg in front of you and the other behind.

Focus on supporting them with your bicep, rather than your hand or wrist, and keep your palm facing up. Make sure you’re using your upper body to carry the baby, rather than pushing your hip out to support them — this will put extra strain on your lower back.

Don’t forget to alternate arms when carrying your baby, too. This helps prevent muscle imbalances. You can also wear them in a carrier on your chest or back so that you’re evenly supporting them.

3. Adjust Your Position When Feeding

When you’re feeding your baby, whether you’re nursing or giving them a bottle, it’s easy to let the shoulders slouch down. This posture puts a lot of stress on the muscles at the back of the neck. Over time, this repeated stress can contribute to chronic tension headaches and a permanently slouched posture.

Focus on sitting up straight with the shoulders pressed down. Lift your baby up to you, rather than hunching over toward them. This also benefits your baby. Sitting them up a bit when feeding them can also help mitigate common conditions like gas and acid reflux.

4. Pay Attention to the Way You Sleep

As a new parent, sleep is in short supply. If you’re like most new parents, when you get a couple hours to yourself to rest, you probably just collapse into the closest chair and don’t pay attention to your posture. Poor sleep posture can make neck and back pain worse, though.

Sleeping on your back is typically the best option, especially if you’re trying to relieve neck and back pain. This posture keeps your spine in a neutral position. If this is your preferred sleep posture, just make sure you’re elevating your head a bit with a supportive pillow — this helps prevent acid reflux and snoring while you sleep.

If you have a hard time staying asleep on your back, consider looking into ergonomic braces for sleep. These comfortable braces keep your neck in a stable, neutral position while you sleep so that you don’t aggravate your neck or shoulder muscles while you sleep.

5. Stretch Regularly

To relieve any pain that you’re currently dealing with, and to keep your muscles nice and loose, it’s also important to stretch regularly. Some good stretches to do on a regular basis include:

  • Chest stretch: Stand in a doorway with one arm extended. Lean into the doorway, keeping your shoulder pressed down, until you feel a gentle stretch in your chest.

  • Neck stretch: Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear toward your shoulder.

  • Side stretch: Stand up straight, then, while keeping your shoulders back and chest lifted, tilt to one side to feel a stretch on the opposite side of your torso.

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