Undoing the Stresses and Strains of Baby Care

The best remedy for your aching shoulders, arms, and back is to hold your body or move in ways that counter the constant reaching forward, bending over, picking up and carrying positions in your daily life – to literally change the “shape” or spatial form your body has assumed. This is like rolling a mat the opposite way to undo the curled shape the mat has taken on from being rolled up. Our bodies are living, pliable structures, so consciously inputting different and recuperative shapes and qualities of movement can help undo our painful holding patterns and create more balance and ease.

Unfortunately so many of our daily activities put us in a forward rounded shape – primarily in the sagital or wheel plane. Even sedentary positions tend to be with forward head and rounded shoulders, i.e. computer work, sitting in cars, even reclining and reading. Our spines are continuously bent forward with our limbs and head pulling away from the center of our body. Add to this picking up or carrying a load repeatedly on one side and we are setting ourselves up for overload, strain and over time damage to our soft tissue and joints.

You may not have time for that much needed yoga, movement class, or swim. But if your upper back, shoulders, and neck ache from holding and schlepping your little one and baby gear or long hours sitting at a computer, try clasping your hands behind your back, pulling your arms down, squeezing your shoulder blades together and opening the chest. This will help relieve the forward-reaching stressors on your shoulders, arms, and back.

In addition to this chest opener try some of these other hints and moves:

Do Things Differently

  • Use an Ergo, Baby Bjorn, sling or other carrier even around the house for better support. Holding the “load” closer to your center of gravity is more efficient and easier on your body.
  • Try picking up and carrying baby and other objects on the other side of your body (Yes you can!)
  • Use a Boppy or pillows to make seated or lying positions more balanced and comfortable when holding or feeding your baby.
  • Place one foot up on the shelf under the sink or on a stool when doing food prep or dishes – to relieve low back strain from standing.

Take Mini Recuperative Breaks to Stretch and Enliven

  • Hike your shoulders up to your ears, hold for a moment, and then release down.
  • Do standing side extensions. Reach one arm sideways over your head, extending the
    spine into a side curve while keeping your body facing front.
  • Twist your trunk easily from side to side, allowing your arms to swing loosely.
  • Take a hot shower at the end of the day to help melt away muscle tension.
  • Schedule a massage or a movement session to ‘jump start’ bringing balance and ease back
    into your body.