Since my last article on what was the right sling for you, I’ve been having discussions about back pain. This can be a problem for people carrying their babies in slings, wraps or carriers. Indeed it can be a problem for people carrying their baby in general.
While baby “wearing” can be hard on other parts of your body – sholders can really feel the impact too – the back tends to be the place where problems occur more frequently. Those problems tend to be more serious, too. While sore arms generally come down to sore or strained muscles which recover quickly, back issues can take much longer to recover from and can involve nerves, the spinal cord, as well as the muscles.
Using Carriers the Wrong Way
A lot of injuries from carriers – and slings and wraps too – is down to incorrect use. While there might be some soreness and stiffness when you first use a carrier of some sort, due to your body getting used to things, this should be short lived.
If instead you find your body hurting every time you use the wrap or carrier then it could be how you are using it. Carriers in particular can be hard to use. Check the instructions and make adjustments till you find what works for you. While things might be tricky it should be possible to find a set up that works.
If the problems keep persisting despite your best efforts then you might need a different wrap, sling or carrier. Or the issue might be something else…
Is Your Baby Too Heavy for You?
The next most common cause of back issues is simply your baby. He or she might be now too big to be carried. You might not be strong enough to bear their weight, even when using a sling or wrap that is can safely bear the weight of your child correctly.
Although sad, the truth might be that your baby – in one way at least – has outgrown you. It happens to every parent eventually.
There’s no easy way to tell if this is the case other than your own instinct. When picking up your child do you really feel the weight in your arms? Is it a bit of a struggle to hold your baby comfortably? If so, consider if it is time the carrying stopped.
What To Do When Your Back is Sore
If your back is sore then it can be worth taking a break from baby carrying for a little bit. Use a stroller, or get someone else to carry them. For most baby carrying related injuries this is usually sufficient, even for back injuries. See how you feel after a day or so. If you’re good as new then chances are its just some minor strains.
You can treat minor strains and sore muscles in a number of ways. Ice or a hot bath can help. So can some over the counter pain relief medication (but this should not be used repeatedly).
When that doesn’t work, or pain quickly reoccurs in the same part of the back, then it is time to consider professional help. A doctor or physiotherapist can help diagnose if the issue is muscular, nerves or something else, and devise appropriate treatment from there.
Targeted muscle exercises might be recommended if the problem is connected to a weak or underdeveloped muscle group in your body. Yoga can sometimes be good for this sort of thing.
At this point it might be better to stop carrying you baby for an extended period of time. If so, it is then necessary to put away your sling, wrap or carrier and instead use strollers as the prime means for transporting your baby.