I mentioned just before Christmas that we were using a baby carrier for short trips out and about in our local area. Now, at five months, V. is a little bigger, has better neck control and is more robust. So the baby carrier is becoming a more useful alternative to our pram. It doesn’t hurt that it comes in a military green colour and kinda has the feel of a flak jacket when you put it on.
What’s suprising me, though, is how much my back starts to complain after just a couple of hours of wearing this thing.
As a personal trainer, it’s a matter of professional pride to eliminate this weakness from my performance. Yes, this is how personal trainers talk. It’s also disappointing because, in my professional life, I focus a lot on maintaining a pain-free, flexible and healthy back.
I suspect that this problem is common no matter which baby carrier you have. Ours is the best baby carrier on the market – a present from my Dad. It has many adjustable straps, padded waist belt and a support bar that runs down the spine.
The manufacturer’s own website shows the waist belt being positioned around the belly button. As I have always adjusted rucksacks so that the waist belt sits on my hips, I did the same with the baby carrier. I feel this allows some of the weight to be taken on the hips and not by my lower back or shoulders. Another issue to look at are the shoes I wear when I have the carrier on.
Any shoe or boot with a heel will tilt your hips into an anterior pelvic tilt. This can put undue pressure on the low back as the lower vertebrae go into hyperextension. Could those hiking boots I sometimes wear also be contributing to the soreness? I’ve switched to flatter shoes when wearing the carrier.
Both of these strategies have helped relieve tiredness and stiffness in my back when carrying V. around.
But I see a problem further ahead. As the baby gets bigger, its common to turn her around in the baby carrier so that she can face forwards. That is great for her experience. However this means that a heavier baby has now moved her centre of gravity forwards, away form yours. As far as I understand it, this means even more demands on the back and shoulders.
Nothing new to pregnant women, of course.
Clearly, I need to think about a dedicated workout to help cope with the stresses and strains of the new dad experience.