New Parents: Preventing Aches and Pains by Lifting Baby Safely

Lifting Baby Out of a Stroller

Picking your baby up out of a stroller is similar to picking your baby up out of a crib (figure 4). Before you pick up your baby please make sure to lock the stroller wheels and get rid of any bags you are carrying to leave your hands free so you can lift the baby with both hands. Then follow the directions above on how to lift.

Figure 4

DON’T Do This:

This is a common mistake that parents make when lifting their baby out of a crib or  stroller (figure 5). Can you see what it is?

Figure 5

Answer: You can see Mom is too far away from the stroller; she is bending too much in her back and her knees are not bent. If she lifts her baby out of the stroller like this every time, she risks straining her back.

Lifting the Baby in a Baby Carrier

As with the previous lifts, try not to carry anything else when you lift your baby in a baby carrier. Put everything down first. When you lift your baby in a carrier:

Figure 6
  • Bend at your knees and hips, not your back. Bow down towards the baby carrier by bending in the hips and knees until you feel you can get a secure grasp on the baby carrier.
  • Make sure you are in good alignment by centering your rib cage over your pelvis prior to bending over.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. You can place one foot in front of the other, like in a mini-lunge position.
  • Stand directly in front of the carrier to avoid twisting your back.
  • Slide the carrier closer to your body (figure 7).
Figure 7
  • Place your hands on either end of the seat, as if you were carrying a basket of laundry. Try not to lift the carrier from the center handle (figure 8).
Figure 8
  • EXHALE as you lift the baby carrier (figure 9).
Figure 9
  • If you need to turn, turn your entire body by circle stepping with your feet or pivoting with your feet; don’t twist your back.

When you need to put down a baby carrier, try doing the reverse.

DON’T Do This:

Can you find three things wrong with the way the woman in the illustration below (figure 10) is lifting her baby in the car seat?

Figure 10

Answer: In this picture you can see that Mom is talking on the phone, she isn’t facing the carrier and is using only one hand to pick the baby up. This could lead to a terrible accident – mom could drop the baby or strain her back.

It is important to remember to take care of your body so that you can take care of your baby – it is hard to look after a baby when you have aches and pains. Try out some of these tips to feel your best as a mom.

MARIANNE RYAN PT, OCS is an award-winning author, physical therapist and board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist with more than 30 years’ experience treating prenatal and postpartum women. She is the owner and Clinical Director of Marianne Ryan Physical Therapy in New York City and the creator of the groundbreaking DIY “Baby Bod” program, which is the first of its kind to bridge the gap between medical care and fitness advice. As a leading women’s health expert (and a mom), Marianne is passionate about helping women reclaim their changed bodies, whether they are pregnant, recently took part in the joy of birth or are experiencing the “joy” of menopause. Watch her TEDX video, “What Your Momma Never Told You About Childbirth” at

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