Have you noticed the epidemic of poor posture in our society lately? How does this happen? How can you help your children develop good posture habits so they can avoid the chronic back, neck and shoulder pain so widespread in adults today?
The first thing you can do right at the start of their lives which supports your own and your baby’s natural posture at the same time is to carry your baby on your back. This is not new; mothers in traditional societies have been doing this for thousands of years. In combination with very active lives this has ensured that these people rarely, if ever, had the forward-hunching, excessively curved spinal posture so prevalent in our society today.
There are many ‘baby carrier’ products on the market today, most of which carry the baby on the front of the parent’s body. This is okay while your baby is tiny, but after the first month or two they are heavy enough to go on your back. This doesn’t require expensive equipment – just search the internet for instructions for wrapping your baby in a sling on your back. Any new parent knows there are many demands on your back when you have a new baby to carry around, so minimizing the impact on your body is important too. It is far better for your own posture to carry any heavy weight on your back, which is why Sherpas and other people who carry heavy weights for a living do the same. (They often carry big items on their heads too, though this is unsuitable for a baby!). With your baby on your back you will be holding much of their weight evenly balanced on your hips, and as long as you lean your body weight slightly forward FROM THE HIPS rather than from the shoulders, you will support your own back to remain upright.
When you carry your baby on your front, their weight pulls your shoulders and torso forward and your body has to counter this pull by tightening the muscles of the upper back around and between the shoulder blades and push the pelvis forward to avoid falling forwards. This can create stabbing pains in the upper back and pain in the lower back because your pelvis should be directly under your torso and slightly behind you when carrying a weight.
Your baby’s own posture is also supported better when carried on your back because their own pelvis sits slightly behind them while their upper body is resting along your straight back. When they are carried on your front their body is crumpled up in a curve. Unfortunately baby car capsules and most child car seats do the same thing, pushing the pelvis forward and curving the baby’s upper spine forwards.
So give their posture the best start you can by carrying them on your back when you need to be mobile. Be sure to give them plenty of time to lie on the floor during the day when they’re awake as well (with equal time on their back and their front) to stretch out their spines and move their arms and legs.
This information is offered as my opinion and should not replace medical diagnosis or treatment.