New Parents: Preventing Aches and Pains by Lifting Baby Safely

Author and Physical Therapist, Marianne Ryan shows you how to avoid the back and neck pain that can be caused by the repetitive lifting of a new baby.

If you were to stop and count the number of times you lift your baby every day you’d probably be surprised at how high the number is. Although a newborn baby only weighs around 10 pounds, many new parents are not aware that the repetitive bending and lifting that is part and parcel of being a new parent can lead to back and neck pain. To reduce the risk of developing aches and pains I would like to share some tips on the best way to lift your baby.

Since this is a move you repeat so many times every single day, you definitely want to learn how to do this with the least amount of effort and in a way that prevents strain on your body.

Here are some tips on the best way to lift your baby:

  • Stand close with your body directly facing the baby so you don’t have to twist your back when reaching and lifting.
  • Bend your knees and hips rather than your back.
  • Prior to lifting place your bags or telephone down to leave your hands free so you can lift your baby with both hands.

Lifting Baby Out of a Crib

  • Stand close to the crib and right next to where your baby is resting to avoid twisting your back (see figure 1).
Figure 1
  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. You can place one foot in front of the other foot, as in a mini-lunge position. Or you can place one foot on top of a stool to prevent straining your lower back.
  • Make sure you are in good alignment by centering your rib cage over your pelvis prior to bending over.
  • Bend at your knees and hips instead of your back. Bow down towards your child by bending in the hips and knees until you feel you can get a secure grasp on your baby.
  • EXHALE as you lift your baby with both arms and bring him or her close to your chest (figure 2).
Figure 2
  • Then straighten your knees and hips to return to a full standing position (figure 3).
Figure 3
  1. Keep your baby close to your chest as you carry him or her around.

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