Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Mommies Don't Get Workers' Compensation Part 2

In an ideal world, you spent the nine months before your baby was born
staying in shape, keeping your heart strong, keeping your muscles
stretched, and learning good posture for nursing, holding an infant, and
so forth.

But let’s say we’re too late for preventative measures.

No, let’s be more honest than that. Let’s say you spent the nine months
pre-baby working 12-hour days like a maniac, convinced you will never be
a part of the paid workforce again. You ran yourself ragged finding the
exact right shade of red gingham crib sheets, walking through miles of
malls despite your aching back and swollen ankles. You reveled in the
fact that it was the one time in your life you could gain weight and no
one would think worse of you, so you stopped caring if your hamstrings
were both strong and supple; who would notice under that pregnancy
schmata? At the end of the day, faced with the choice of hitting the gym
for 50 laps in the pool or hitting the couch for 50 re-runs of Friends,
guess which one won out. When you dragged yourself home at 10 o’clock at
night, the last thing you wanted to do was spend twenty minutes
stretching. And Kegels? Frankly, you never could figure them out and
they don’t seem to matter much since you’re peeing every 20 minutes

Stop me if this sounds familiar.

So now you’re a mommy who looks back on those pre-baby days and wonders,
“What the heck did I do all day?” You can’t believe you never found time
to work out. Truthfully, hitting the gym for a grueling 45-minute run
followed by an hour of tough weights work sounds totally blissful right
now for the simple reason that your baby wouldn’t be there and you
haven’t had a two hour stretch to yourself since your water broke.
Honestly, the gym would sound downright luxurious if you weren’t afraid
you’d hurt yourself due to sleep-deprivation. And oh, yeah, you’ve got
the baby.

Your life has become the definition of self-sacrificing, and as mommies
we happily do it. We’re in love with our babies and will do what it
takes to keep them healthy and happy, completely forgetting about
ourselves and our needs for very long stretches of time. We run
ourselves ragged and think remarkably little about our own needs. That
twinge of pain in a knee seems so unimportant when a baby’s crying
inconsolably and walking him in an endless pattern is the only thing to
help. That ache between your shoulder blades seems inconsequential
compared to your daughter’s need for food every two hours.

But here’s the thing: it is important. Your baby needs you. And needs
you healthy. You can’t do your job if you’re not healthy. So listen up.

Becoming a mommy means adding several new repetitive motions to your
daily repertoire. Bending over and picking something up will be repeated
dozens of times a day, as will holding a weight (the baby) in the
nursing position, and carrying a baby? You’ll log thousands of hours
that first year. Let’s talk about nursing first.

I’m not going to go into different positions to put your baby in for
nursing, or latching techniques or any of that stuff; check out my
Nursing Support Sites on my Top
5s page
if you need help. There are several effective positions
a newborn can be in to nurse; the older a baby gets, the more limited
your options become. Regardless of whether your baby’s in a cradle hold
or a football hold, your basic checkpoints should be the same.

First, make sure you’re sitting in a good position. If you sit with your
tail tucked under, like your pelvis is slumping, you can push on your
tailbone, which is already mobile from birth. You don’t want to strain
those ligaments, so make sure you’re sitting up on your sits bones; if
you need a pillow behind your back or even a lumbar support, make sure
it’s there every time. Have a foot rest or stool for your feet to make
your hips more comfortable.

Second, use a nursing pillow. I prefer the Boppy
to the My
Breast Friend pillow
; it allows me to hold her in more
positions. But both are great, and you’d do well to test-drive one in
the store and see which one you think you’ll like. Maddie is 10 months
old and I still use the Boppy at every feeding unless I’m out and about
with her. This enables me to be lazy and not hold her weight. Six times
a day adds up. So get used to using a nursing pillow. Baby rests in your
arms, and your arms rest on a pillow.

Third, remember that you are bringing baby to your breast, not breast to
your baby. This is why you use a nursing pillow! You should be able to
position the baby to be in a good latch while your chest is upright. As
a new mommy you’ll find you have a tendency to hunch forward over the
angel, hovering or simply trying to help out and bring the breast to
her. Don’t do it. Find a place where you both can relax and not struggle
to be in a good position. If you’re having trouble doing this, ask a
girlfriend, your OB or pediatrician, or a lactation consultant to watch
you and give some advice. Our pediatrician taught me a vertical nursing
hold that I used a ton when she was younger.

And even if you’re in a good position, you’ll find your chest caving in
as you nurse. Periodically remind yourself of that good posture you
practice (in all your spare time) and make sure your chest is open and
relaxed, your shoulders back and soft down your spine. If you get tense,
roll your shoulders forward, up to your ears, then softly back and down.
You don’t have to squeeze them together in the back; just think open in
the front. Gently roll your neck to make sure you’re not holding tension
while you nurse.

Moving on to the second repetitive motion – picking a baby up. Julie
Tupler wrote a follow-up to yesterday’s recommended reading, Maternal
, and it’s called Lose
Your Mummy Tummy
. She’s got clear illustrations on good
bio-mechanics for picking a baby up, holding a baby, getting a baby in
and out of the car, and so forth. Please read it. You can read it while
you do your Kegels and breastfeed your baby; your hands will be free
since you’re using a nursing pillow! Mommies are nothing if not master

For picking a baby up, the absolute worst thing you can do is curl your
spine forward and pick a baby up with straight legs while holding the
baby out in front of you. This puts a huge amount of strain on your
lower back. Whenever possible, bend your knees, pull the baby to your
chest with your arms, and come up with your legs. Think of it as an
opportunity to get a bit of a leg workout in a few times a day. And
those stomach muscles you were supposed to work while pregnant? You need
them now to help you protect your back during lifting. Pull your belly
button to your spine, lift the baby to you with your arms, and stand up
with your legs. The safest way to stand up with your legs, by the way,
is from a one-kneed lunge position, rather than a deep squat pushing up
with both legs simultaneously. Go down on one knee to pick your baby up,
rather than a deep knee bend, and you’ll save years on your knees. To
put baby down, again, go down to one knee.

When you’re dealing with lifting out of a crib or playpen, there are no
easy answers. It’s oftentimes difficult if not impossible to bend your
knees as you hinge over at a crazy angle. So try as best you can to
support the lift. Remember that any time you bring the baby to you
before straightening up, you are decreasing the load; your back is
having to lift from a much more stable center of gravity than it would
with your arms straight in front of you.

And speaking of drawing the baby to your chest, practice doing that with
your arms, not your chest muscles. Try to lift baby to you with your
chest open and your shoulders down your back, rather than closed off and
slumpy. Your biceps should get a workout, not your pec muscles.

And finally, carrying your baby. Obviously, we all do it, and obviously,
it’s killing us. Trying to stabilize with that belly button abdominal
will help ease the work load on your back. Making sure you alternate
which side you carry on will more evenly distribute the wear and tear on
your body. And again, your posture and muscles you use to carry are key.
Keep the chest open, shoulders down the back; use your biceps to hold
baby rather than your pecs; and make sure your head’s not thrusting
forward to “help out”.

Monday will be the last day of this lecture, I promise; we’ll talk about
what you need to strengthen and stretch as a mommy, as well as what to
do if your preventative measures let you down.

One more time with the disclaimer –

I’m not a medical professional. I did not go to medical school. I’m just
a chick on the internet who had a baby and happens to be in the fitness
field and have a penchant for obsessively researching everything she
does. So for heaven’s sake, don’t take my word for anything. Talk to
your doctor and if anything she says contradicts what I say, whom do you
listen to? Your doctor. That’s right.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.