One of the many reasons people seek babywearing help is because they are unable to get their carrier comfortably adjusted. Babywearing should not be painful or uncomfortable for anyone! There is a carrier option (style, position, etc) that should work for you, but it may take a little "tweaking" to get things just right. Many people assume that means changing something about the carrier, but it can also mean changing our posture, or even a combination of the two.
To help us learn more about babywearing and posture, I interviewed Dr. Dara Lynne DaCunha.Dr. DaCunha is a chiropractor, doula, professional babywearing educator, and a mother of two. Her practice in Scottsdale, Arizona focuses on pregnancy, postpartum, and infant care. Dr. Dara is known for her treatment protocols with infants and feeding issues through chiropractic care and various forms of body work. Her experience as a personal trainer and yoga instructor support the priority she places on rehabilitating the postpartum body.
Q: What is the main consideration about posture when wearing?
A: The main thing to consider is your posture! Most caregivers are focused in on child and dismiss their own body, only to pay the price later on.
Q: How does posture affect comfort while wearing?
A: Well, at first, the majority of wearers won’t even notice they are uncomfortable. Discomfort from suboptimal posture is gradual and varies widely from person to person. Even without wearing a child suboptimal posture can be uncomfortable. Posture is the framework to movement.
Q: What are some ways you see people change posture (and therefore are uncomfortable) when they put baby in a carrier?
A: Some of the most common ones are rounded shoulders, rounded upper back, forward head posture, and hips pushed forward or to the side.
Q: Are there certain carrier types or certain carries (in a wrap) that can be helpful for certain posture problems?
A: Yes of course there are! I do believe that (physically) there is a carrier that can fit every caregiver, you just have to find it. A way to narrow down the search for a perfect carry is to think of counter-weight. For instance, if you have a upper torso that rounds forward, than a carry that pulls you upright might be more comfortable and even help correct posture. The carrier type will vary for everyone. Experimenting with different carries is the best way to discover what works for you.
Q: What exercises can we use to improve our posture for wearing?
A: There are many exercises that can help. One general stretch would be to lay on our backs, flat on the floor. We often don’t spend any time laying flat. We are hunched over a child or bending over our desk, sitting at a computer, staring at our phones, driving. All of these things round our shoulders forward and cause us to slump. Time flat our our back, letting our body relax into the ground.
Q: What are some common adaptations or position tweaking suggestions?
A: When you stand up straight and look at yourself in a mirror, from the side, your head, shoulder, ribcage, hip, knee, and ankles should all be in one line. Adjust your posture by looking in a mirror, after you have put the carrier on. This will give the wearer an idea of what it feels like to be in optimal posture and eventually it will be a subconscious movement.
When you first adjust your posture you may have to adjust the carrier. The pressure points, shoulder height, hip stance will all change and therefore the carrier will fit differently. Slight adjustments are necessary at this point. Some people find, at this point, the new adjustments to the carrier remind them to keep the optimal posture.
Q: Are there any circumstances in which you advise avoiding wearing for a period of time?
A: There are definitely circumstances in which you should avoid wearing a child. Some cases that could fall into this category are surgeries, acute trauma (physical or psychological), and recommendation by your physician. If you are currently under the care of a physician, please consult them before babywearing.
Many thanks to Dr. Dara Lynne for sharing her expertise. Being in tune with our bodies is important to reduce the chance of injury and strain while babywearing!
One of the recent "trends" in the babywearing world is the fitness or dance class that parents participate in while babywearing. Keeping your baby close while working out with other parents sounds like a great idea, right? It checks all the boxes: fun fitness activity, socialization, baby is cared for. Your baby was accustomed to your movements throughout pregnancy, so it makes sense to dance with your baby after he's arrived. If this type of class sounds intriguing, then here are some general guidelines that you may want to keep in mind:
These are only a brief summary of things to consider. A qualified instructor may provide more guidance for your specific activity and body. Not all of these suggestions may work for every class, every baby, and every wearer, so trust your qualified instructor, and consult with your local babywearing educators if needed.
Hopefully these safety suggestions help you enjoy the experience of moving with your baby! Yes, you are getting a workout but ultimately you are sharing a special time with your baby and connecting with him through movement. Have fun!
(This post was written with input from Shayna Rose of www.ShaynaFitness.com.)
Beth. The babywearing lady.
copyright 2016 Beth Secrist
All photos used under the Creative Commons license through Flickr. Photography by: littletuesday12