My Aching Back
While you were pregnant, you began to carry yourself differently to balance your growing stomach. Continuing this new posture can strain your back, as can nursing (remember to use a nursing stool and bring your baby to your breast rather than leaning over your baby) and the constant lifting and carrying a new baby needs.
Ice, heat, and massage will help when it gets serious, but it is more important to learn careful lifting, bending, and carrying techniques. To minimize the stress on your back, rediscover your correct posture. Stand in front of a mirror, naked, and close your eyes. Rock from side to side, shrug your shoulders, take a slow, deep breath, and exhale. Then, without opening your eyes, try to find a centered position. Open your eyes and look in the mirror. Are your shoulders even? Is your bottom tipped up? Are your knees tilted in? To adjust your alignment, put your feet just under your hips, then tip your pelvis forward and back until you find its center. Tuck in your bottom, and straighten your shoulders. You may need to do this a few times a day until you get used to your new center.
Why sleep with extra pillows?
Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees, or on your side with a pillow between your legs to preserve alignment and reduce additional stress.
Become aware of how you hold and handle your baby. When you bend down to pick her up, bend your knees, support her close to your chest, and use your leg muscles to lift — don't lean over. The same goes for the car seat. Climb into the car as far as possible and lift your baby up against you before squirming backward out of the car. Once your baby is too big for the sink or baby tub, think about taking baths with your baby instead of leaning over the tub. When you are on the floor changing a diaper or playing, squat or sit cross-legged to reduce awkward leaning.
Try to carry your baby in the center of your body as much as possible rather than on one hip. Or, if you carry your baby on your hip, switch sides often (the same goes for carrying your baby in a sling). Regularly using your hip as a baby chair can, after a while, cause muscle and nerve damage that can take years to recover from.
*If you are having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming your baby, tell your doctor or a trusted friend immediately.