Baby wearing, in a sling or a soft carrier, is a good way to keep your baby close to you while you complete chores or errands. It may allow you to walk more places, as it can allow you to move over rough terrain and up and down stairs. It can also help you and your baby develop a strong bond. Unfortunately, with all of the benefits, there is a risk that you will strain your lower back while carrying your baby. If you start to feel aches and pains while wearing your baby, it is important to adjust your behavior and seek treatment immediately to prevent serious damage.
Adjust Your Carrying Position
Each caregiver usually finds a favorite carrying position or style that works for them and the baby. However, as the baby gains weight and grows, it is important that you keep trying new ways to carry your baby to avoid lower back fatigue. Some common position issues include carrying the baby too low in the front, not supporting the baby's legs, failing to distribute the baby's weight over your hips or upper back, and relying on hip carries too often.
You should try adjusting your carrying position so the baby or toddler is snug against you and you do not feel uncomfortable while wearing them.
Try a New Carrier
As your baby grows, your carrier needs may change. Many parents select stretchy wraps for their first carrier, as these can easily support a newborn. However, as your child gains weight, they may pull against a stretchy wrap, separating from you and causing strain in your lower back. At that point, you should look into a woven wrap or a soft structured carrier.
Switch to a Stroller
After wearing your baby for a few months, it may be difficult to switch to a stroller for both you and your baby. However, as your baby grows, they will likely develop a greater interest in the world around them and want to explore in ways they cannot while they are in a carrier. You may want to use a stroller part-time and save the carrier for nature walks or other places it is difficult to take a stroller.
Let Your Child Walk More
If your child can walk, allowing them to explore on foot can take significant stress off of your back. You can keep a carrier tied around your waist in case they get tired or distracted. However, you may be surprised at how much distance a toddler can cover if you set out early and give them plenty of time to explore.
Visit a Chiropractor
If you start to have lower back pain, or have continuing lower back pain from your pregnancy, you should ask your chiropractor about getting an adjustment of your lower spine. This will usually entail a short visit with a physical examination and a series of passive poses and stretches that they will guide you through.
A chiropractic clinic like TLC Chiropractic can also recommend exercises that you can do at home to prevent further injury and point out other factors, besides baby wearing, that may be contributing to your lower back pain.
Strengthen Your Core at Home
To help take the stress off of your lower back, you should strengthen your stomach and back muscles. This will improve your posture and help you be able to carry greater weight for longer periods. Yoga, crunches, and back extensions all build your core.
It is difficult to recognize the benefits of baby wearing if you are in constant pain because of the practice. If you experience lower back pain, make these adjustments and seek help as soon as possible.