As parents we all know that having children is not for the faint hearted! It is the toughest job you will ever do, physically, mentally and emotionally!
One thing that we have been seeing a lot of in practice is pain and dysfunction in the spine and body after a parent has fallen asleep ‘weirdly’ with their child or in their child’s bed!
Thus, we thought it would be good to go over a few of our top tips every parent should know to prevent back pain, as we know that parenting is hard enough, let alone with a sore back or neck!
Our Top Tips to look after your back putting the kids to sleep…
Sleep tips for babies
- If your child is still in a cot then move the side down and kneel down to their level before picking them up. This obviously only works if the side of your cot can move, however the constant bending forward (flexion) of the low back is a recipe for disaster, especially with a weight (ie. your child). If your cot doesn’t move down, then make sure that you have your core engaged before picking them up (pretend that you are busting for a pee and have to hold it), and have your weight even on both legs and are facing forward (no twisting)!
- If you have a clingy baby that can only sleep on you, put them in the carrier (we love Mandukas and Ergos – to help protect you and your baby’s hips), and sit on a fit ball and bounce up and down (this is to simulate you walking – we know that they love movement and will cry when you stop)!
- If you breastfeed to sleep, try laying down while feeding in bed and get as comfortable as you can, that way when you wake up with your babe still on your boob you will be comfy (well at least it’s better than falling asleep on the couch) haha!
Sleep tips for young kids
- If you have a young child who is waking up at night (and you know that you will need to probably sleep with them for a period of time), get a double or a queen mattress (put it on the floor if you can), so that you can both comfortably sleep without falling out of the bed or with a child on your head (we know that this may still happen, however at least you can push them off you)!
- If you have children who ‘need’ you to be in the room with them while you are putting them to sleep, lay on a Posture Pole (or bolster/rolled towel) while you are waiting in their bedroom. This will help to combat all of the lifting and ‘parent duties’ accumulated throughout the day. Place the pole along your spine, from the back of your head to your tailbone, bend your knees and flatten your spine along the pole, relax your shoulders back with your palms out facing the ceiling. Extra bonus points for doing deep diaphragmatic breathing, meditating or putting on some headphones and listening to a guided meditation while you are there!
…and if you just need some space and want the kids to go to sleep without you (we are talking older ones here) put on a sleepy time audiobook or meditation. We love ‘Tales from the lilypad’ in Spotify, or ‘Bedtime meditations for kids’ by Christiane Kerr.
There you have it, our top tips for looking after your back as a ‘super-parent’!
If you have tried everything and are still in pain (or your body needs some TLC) give us a call on 08 9336 1180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, we are more than happy to help support all the amazing parents out there!
Until next time…
Yours in great health,
Dr Andy & Dr Jacinta