Ergonomics for Baby Wearing
Baby wearing can be super a convenient way to keep your baby safe and happy while also being handsfree and able to multitask. When looking for a carrier you want to find one that is comfortable for you and also distributes the baby’s weight evenly. I will show you the ones I use but I encourage you to do some research to find the one that works best for YOU and fits your needs. That being said, carriers are NOT a magic cure for any pain you may be having that is caused by carrying your baby around all the time. It all comes down to strength, so even if you use the worlds most comfortable and ergonomically correct baby carrier, if you don’t have strong back and core muscles, you will still experience pain and discomfort. The strength training included in the Expecting & Empowered Pregnancy and Postpartum Guides will help strengthen the proper muscles needed for motherhood.
Another important part of baby wearing is being extra mindful of your posture. Wearing a baby on your front puts strain on your core, which can cause you to fall into bad postures that become bad habits. For example, putting the extra weight of the baby on your front will pull your ribs forward. This can cause back pain. You should try to minimize this as much as possible.
Proper Posture: Your ears should line up over your shoulders and your shoulders should line up over the middle of your hip joint and arch of your foot. Do not let your ribs be pulled forward. Cue yourself to think about someone pulling your pony tail (located on the crown of your head) upward creating space in the vertebrae of your back. Retract your shoulders back so that they are not in a slumped posture.
Here are some tips for positioning your body while wearing baby. When you look for a carrier you should make sure that you are comfortably able to move your body into these positions while wearing it.
Lengthen your spine (use the cue that someone is pulling the top of your ponytail)
Retract your head back so that it’s over your shoulders
Relax your shoulders- do NOT hike them up.
Soften your ribs- they should be stacked in a straight line over your hips
Keep your pelvis in neutral
Do not hinge at the hips to create space between you and the baby. You want to keep the baby as close to you as possible.
Proper posture is also important for overall pelvic health. Poor posture can slow the healing of diastasis recti. Training proper posture will help the connective tissue to heal properly, which will heal your DR quicker. Proper posture also alleviates pressure on the pelvis, whereas poor posture puts more pressure on it. More pressure on the pelvis means more pressure on surrounding organs, muscles and joints. This is bad because they have to adjust to function constantly under high pressure. In addition, poor posture can lead to all types of musculoskeletal pain, including SI and pubic bone pain hip pain, back and spine pain, and even shoulder and knee pain.
Thick shoulder straps and/or distribution of back support
Create space around your sacrum- the lower strap should be placed tightly around just above your hip bones so that your pelvis is still able to move side to side.
The carrier should distribute the weight of the baby’s pelvis evenly (see video below)
Once you get into this proper positioning, you will want to focus on using your core to support it. You can do so by practicing your diaphragmatic breathing- inhale to feel your chest and belly expand, exhale to feel your pelvic floor lift and tummy flatten without losing your good posture.
You want to practice these good posture habit as often as possible so that you reinforce proper muscle and joint mechanics.
Another consideration is getting a backpack carrier. I typically only use this when going for walks or hikes but they are great because they are specifically designed for hiking so they provide ideal weight distribution. The one pictured below I got from Goodwill but you can purchase the equivalent here.