Posture Tips for After Baby
Good posture during pregnancy helps create room for baby to grow; encourages optimal blood flow and oxygen exchange; reduces aches and pains; and makes you feel better, generally.
A healthy posture post baby can help to stabilise the structural imbalance that pregnancy and newborn life has created in the body, it reduces daily discomfort, and plays an important role in healing diastasis recti.
As delicious a love bubble as it is, those newborn days of sitting, feeding, rocking, changing and snuggling quickly undermine good postural habits. Life with a newborn involves a lot of forward slouching, which creates tension and pain through postural muscles often felt most in the neck, traps, upper back, thoracic (along the bra line), shoulders and hip flexors.
While your attention will be 100% trained on your bundle of joy in those first 12 weeks (at least!), there are some simple and effective ways to minimise discomfort and avoid “new Mum posture”.
- Check your feeding posture
The milk bar is well and truly open! Often when feeding (applies to bottle and breast alike) we slouch forward over the baby, curving the upper spine and creating load in the shoulders and thoracic muscles.
Be mindful of how you are sitting. Sitting up in bed and leaning over baby (the most comfortable night time feeding position) tends to create the most postural issues – sorry!
Your best bet is to sit in a chair, base of the spine into the base of the chair, upright and relaxed. Ensure your sit bones evenly grounded into the seat. Think sternum in toward your spine to lengthen and avoiding that forward slouch and neck position. – not sure if this is the right cue?
There are so many feeding positions, much of it is trial and error to find the ones that are most comfortable for you and baby! Mix it up, but always be mindful of your posture.
- The art of baby lifting
Again, this comes back to being mindful of lengthening, and fighting the natural instinct to compress your spine in the course of daily Mum activities which, involves a lot of baby lifting!
Consider the following:
- When you pick your baby up from the floor, is your spine long throughout the movement?
- When you pick your baby up out of the bassinet are you hinging at the hips and maintaining a long spine?
- Are you holding your baby in the centre of your chest, or are you favouring one side? (This can throw your pelvis and hip alignment off!)
- Perfect pram posture
How is your posture when you’re walking with the pram? Beware the pram hunch!
The aim here is to take long, even strides; stand straight, again think about lengthening the spine. As much as you can stare at that baby all day and all night, focus on directing your gaze forward to avoid hunching and compressing your neck. It sounds like we’re re-learning how to walk, which we kind of are, but doing this will not only help you get more oxygen into your body (and feel great!), but it’ll give your hamstrings and glutes a good work out, while reducing pressure on your postural muscles.
- Breathe, breathe, breathe
Posture and breathing are inextricably linked. Rounded shoulders and a forward head posture cause the muscles around the chest to tighten, limiting the ability of the rib cage to expand and causing us to take more rapid, shallow breaths. Shallow breathing and poor posture in combination can present as anxiety, stress, pain, poor digestion, headaches and so much more.
Breathing properly is one of the simplest and most effective ways to heal body and mind in postpartum life. Diaphragmatic breathing, aka deep, belly breathing is best practice for life in general! Simply bring the breath all the way into the body allowing the belly to expand with the inhale and deflate with the exhale. Take it slow and wring every last bit of air from your lungs, and repeat.
Oxygenate the blood, calm the mind, bring awareness into the body and improve your posture. Take some time to check in and ensure you are breathing properly!
- Gentle stretching
Low energy, foggy brain, stiff and sore? All standard a new Mum! Consider getting your body moving, but gently, by doing:
- Cat stretch.
- Pelvic tilt: on the floor or against the wall.
- Chalk circles.
- Book openings.
Or, simply stand tall and raise your arms above your head, palms to the ceiling. Breathe nice and deep, open your chest, stretch your back and get some blood pumping around the body.
- Post Natal Pilates
Six to eight weeks is the minimum recovery time from pregnancy and birth. When you have been cleared by your doctor and feel ready, Post Natal Pilates is one of the best ways to heal your body and get back into structured exercise.
PFI’s Mums & Bubs group classes are tailored to the largely rehabilitative needs of the postpartum body, and baby is welcome too!
The health benefits of post-natal Pilates include:
- Posture correction.
- Restoring/healing pelvic floor function.
- Healing rectus abdominal separation.
- Building muscle and core connection.
- Back, neck and joint support.
- Stretching to release tension.
- Upper body strengthening.
- Improved flexibility.
- Stress release.
- Self-confidence: “me time”.
We like to keep numbers in Mums & Bubs small so you can get the attention you need, so bookings are essential. Book online, call, or use the MindBody App.