Taking Care of My Kids is Hurting My Back


Carrying a baby on a woman's hip.With all our multitasking as moms, it’s easy to hurt our back, wrist, neck, and more! I have talked to so many moms who never had back issues until they had kids. With the realities of mommy life, doing all our mommy activities with proper form might not be at the top of our to-do lists, but a little extra focus and attention can go a long way toward preventing some major aches! 

Here are some tips on how to feed, play with, and transport our kids and prevent the dreaded pains that can come with it.

1. Getting the kids in and out of the car seat.

What most of us do: Most moms do the twisted car seat lift, leaning into the car seat with extended arms when getting their child in and out of the car seat. Lifting your toddler this way can do a number on your back, hips, knees, neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

What we should do: Put one leg in the car and face the car seat; this takes the pressure off your back, and if the car seat is in the middle of the back seat. Then, climb in and face the car seat as you lift your child into it. Keep your child as close to your body as possible.

2. Carrying your baby.

What most of us do: Mommies tend to assume the cocked hip posture, it’s when you hold a child with one arm and hiking the hip on the same side. This position causes postural imbalance and can strain your back and the ligaments on that side of the body.

What we should do: Hold the child close to your body using both arms and their legs wrapped around your waist. Keeping your little one centered will help you stand more upright and keep your spine neutral. Also, you can pull a switch. Be mindful of which side you tend to carry your child and try to alternate sides occasionally. Another way is to utilize some of the baby gear you registered for. Use a Baby Bjorn or a stroller if you plan to run a few errands with your child.

3. Putting baby or toddler in and out of the crib.

What most of us do: The biggest mistake that moms make is locking the knees and bending at the waist, straining their lower back to place the baby in and out of the crib. This is another source of back and knee pain.

What we should do: Bend from the knees and keep your child close to your body. Keep the mattress height raised if it is safe for your baby’s age and activity level. Use a footstool if you cannot reach over the crib railing with good form.

4. Changing diapers.

What most of us do: Changing your baby’s diaper happens very often, and what we tend to do is find a convenient place, which could be the floor, couch, or bed, regardless of the strain it puts on our bodies. This results in poor body mechanics, and combine that with the weak core and pelvic muscles that new moms often have, and you’ll have a higher risk for back pain.

What we should do: Use the changing table as much as possible when you are home. The table should be at belly button height, tall enough that you will only bend slightly from the waist when changing your little one. Keep the frequently used items (diapers, creams, wipes) in the top drawer or shelf. This will decrease unnecessary, repetitive reaching away from the body and keep you more focused on your child’s safety. The diaper pail must also be kept fairly close to the changing table, so you aren’t doing a lot of twisting when disposing of dirty diapers.

5. Feeding.

What most of us do: We tend to hunch over and tilt our heads to one side. Multiply that by 8-12 times a day for newborns, 7-9 times for one to two-month-old babies, and you have yourself pulled or strained neck and shoulder muscles. This is a common complaint among new moms as we spend so much time hunched over in a seated position while gazing down lovingly at our newborn.

What we should do: During feedings, periodically look around the room and stretch out the front and side of your neck by doing neck rolls. This may be difficult, but try not to gaze at your little one the whole time you are feeding; keeping your head down and tilted to one side puts the entire weight of your head in the hands of muscles meant to move it and not support it. Find a supportive chair and use a footstool if necessary. Support your arms and neck by using a nursing pillow, and if you are breastfeeding, bring your baby to your breast and not the other way around. If you are bottle feeding, switch sides regularly to rest your arms and shoulders.

What aches and pains would you like to avoid?

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Elysa Cruse
Elysa Cruse is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer and is the Manager of the Corporate Wellness Program for Pitney Bowes (www.pbprojectliving.com). She moved to Fairfield County after college and has been enjoying great ways to be active and eat well in the area ever since, including teaching exercise classes such as Stroller Strides, Pilates and Boot Camp. She is mom to an adorable 3 year old boy and loves getting outdoors whether hiking, biking, or running (really anything as long as it's not weeding). Elysa is still working on the ultimate in work life balance and she's okay if she never quite finds it. Connect with Elysa on Twitter @ElysaCruseRD


  1. Yikes, pretty much all of the above! I swear I’ve been achy ever since I was pregnant with L… and she’s now 19 months old.

    Great (and much-needed) post, Elysa 🙂

  2. I know Jana! It’s tough with all the things we need to do. I really have to focus on alternating sides with my little guy and keeping my shoulders/neck relaxed and not carrying way too many things at the expense of my back! Sounds like we are overdo for a mommy stretches post too. The body mechanics are important but the stretches can make us feel so much better!


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