Yesterday we looked at pain while baby wearing in the neck and shoulders. Today we’ll talk about some of the possible fixes for pain in the lower back.
Before we go further, we should emphasise the fact that everybody’s ability to bear weight is different. Babywearing in a great carrier distributes the weight well, but always consider your own needs while baby wearing. If your body is telling you enough is enough: listen. Especially after pregnancy when your body is still readjusting, there’s nothing wrong with putting the sling down for awhile and enjoying your baby on the couch. There’s also nothing wrong with exploring the world together with the pram if that’s what your body is telling you.
However, pain in the lower back is often a fixable issue. In my experience it can come from two or three particular problems.
The first problem is unevenness in the distribution of weight. If you’ve been using a lot of hip/one sided carries, this may cause you some pain if you’ve been at it too long. Either change sides or change to something with a better distribution: or snuggle sitting down if you can. It’s OK to take a break.
Lower back pain can also be caused by a front carry that is too low on the wearer’s body. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll remember that 9 months’ pregnant belly everyone told you was so beautiful. It was! But having all that weight out the front of your body and down low commonly causes back pain. It’s the same in baby wearing. Try retieing your carrier higher or a back carry. Remember the baby should be held to you firmly, not loosely or slumped down. A nice smooth curve to the child’s back is what you’re aiming for.
If you have a back carry that’s causing you lower back pain, it may be that there is too much space between you and your child. Sometimes the top straps or rail can feel quite tight, but your little houdini has squirmed into a position where his/her bottom is sticking out creating a pocket between you and the baby/toddler. Try retying with this in mind and you may find the carry gets more comfortable.
Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) like the Ergo, Manduca or anything with buckles can be quite specific when it comes to pain. Common causes of pain include the waistband not being situated quite correctly, sometimes it needs to be right on the hips. Other causes can include a child outgrowing the carrier and “leaning” out of it, or the shoulder straps not being tight enough. A chest belt (home made, as we discussed yesterday or carrier-specific) can often help. If your SSC is giving you discomfort then it’s worthwhile taking the time to adjust it so it feels great. A local sling group, Baby Carriers Downunder here or on Facebook or any one of a number of supportive baby wearing sites are a good place to start. Specific brands often have great Facebook pages willing to offer tweaks and tips too.
In the last couple of days I’ve given you a few simple tweaks that may help you be more comfortable while baby wearing, but never forget that your body knows best and to listen to it!
Those of you with troublesome backs may find an older post of ours on babywearing with a back injury interesting- the comments especially have some personal experiences in them that may be helpful. Alternatively, some babywearers experience pain after a caesarean and these posts here and here may help.
If you’re experiencing pain in your carrier and need help troubleshooting, feel free to leave a comment below, we may be able to help! If you’re a babywearer who has dealt with pain and found a solution, we’d love to hear what worked for you.