Q: I am a new father and like to get out with the baby. I am getting some lower back pain already and the baby is barely 20 pounds. Can you offer advice on protecting myself from painful situations?
A: One of life’s simple pleasures is getting out with a new baby for a walk, hike or run. The American Chiropractic Association offers some tips on how to enjoy the experience best and avoid injury to you and your baby.
Push carriages are among the most popular methods of transport. Here are some of the features you should consider when choosing one: Large, adjustable handlebars that fit hands comfortably. That’s important for control and for being able to set the bars at a height that doesn’t strain the back. Large bicycle-style tires add stability and make the carriage easier to push. A screen across the front will protect the baby from airborne debris.
For carrying a baby while walking, the recommendation is a front-side baby carrier as opposed to a backpack-style carrier. Backpack-style carriers allow an infant’s head to bob
in an uncontrolled manner. In a child less than one year old, the cervical spine, the neck and upper portion of the spine, is not fully developed and this motion can be harmful. Using a front-side carrier lets you observe and better control the head. A carrier is also going to affect your body, its balance and posture, so try it out on short outings at first.
Don’t forget to stretch out tight muscles when you notice them so as to not let the stress cumulate in the muscle. The longer tightness stays and the larger number of episodes of tension you let build up, the harder the it becomes to loosen up the tight muscles.
If you let it go too long and feel pain, headache, or general stiffness, don’t hesitate to let your chiropractor do an adjustment and help get the problem corrected. This goes for the infant too. If you notice that the baby has been not sleeping well or is uncomfortable often (or keeps a consistently awkward posture), many chiropractors will check their spine and make them more comfortable too. Ask your chiropractor for tips more specific to you.
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