Parenting Posture: Can you stand it?
Parenting is a special and wondrous experience, but if we are honest, it can also be physically painful. October brings BackCare Awareness Week and National Parenting Week so in the spirit of making parenting just that little bit easier (on our bodies at least) I have shared some simple ways you can improve your ‘parenting posture’.
I have observed over my 8 years as an Osteopath and as a mother of two, that the awkward parental positions we often adopt can cause major postural imbalance leading to tension, strain and pain.
Take all the one-sided feeding, carrying a child on one hip, leaning to push a heavy buggy, car seat manoeuvring and long nights slumped against a cot ….. then add less time to rest, sleep, eat, heal and exercise and this can quickly lead to consequences for your general health and wellbeing.
Why does good posture matter?
Good posture gives us the best chance of moving freely, maintaining optimum joint health and giving our organs, nerves and vessels the best space to function fully.
We are all different, and few of us have a ‘text book’ posture. Poor posture is really when our individual ‘best possible skeletal shape’ gets pulled off balance increasing the stress on our joints and internal body spaces.
How to battle the imbalance:
Know how to stand
Follow these 3 steps to initiate your improvement then seek advice.
- Tuck your chin lightly towards your spine.
- Flatten your shoulder blades against your back without ‘flaring’ your ribs
- Spread your weight evenly through both feet putting most of your weight through your heels.
Regularly swap sides for feeding, carrying, putting your child in their cot.
Stretch it out
Counter the strain by stretching out awkward postures in the opposite direction.
Try to avoid the ‘dealing with children’ stoop.
Stand close to the buggy, with arms bent. Push from your whole body. Avoid overloading the buggy by using a good rucksack with a hip belt.
Start with isometric exercise as it is static and the safest when building up strength or recovering from injury.
Pelvic floor exercise
Use it or lose it! Do these alongside your daily routines like washing up and feeding your child so it becomes automatic. A strong pelvic floor is essential for supporting your pelvis and core.
Pilates and yoga are two of the best to help with postural strengthening and mobility.
Get this early. With less recovery time your growing aches and pains are unlikely to resolve themselves and the earlier you can get help the quicker your recovery will be.
It is very hard to assess your own posture. Everyone starts from a different point with an individual variation of ‘good posture’. Seek a professional assessment and specific exercise advice to discover the right plan for your postural needs.
For more detailed advice on all of the above, along with your own postural assessment, treatment and tailored exercise programme, please visit our enthusiastic team of Osteopaths at The Odiham Clinic.