Babywearing with a Bad Back
Below, Kadri shares her experiences as someone who had a back condition before having children. She relates how becoming a mother fueled her search for a truly comfortable baby carrier. One that would make Babywearing with a bad back beneficial and enjoyable!
Woven wraps were the most comfortable way she found for Babywearing with a bad back. And Babywearing helped her so much that she now carries woven wraps in her own store in Estonia which you can find here.
Profile of a Babywearer – Kadri
I used to get a lot of headaches and backaches, even younger. When I finally went to a masseuse, she refused to massage my neck until I brought her an x-ray of it – she found some weird abnormality there. My G.P. looked at the x-ray stunned. She said that it was the neck of a 60 year old office worker and I was a 23 year old waitress at the time.
Two of my vertebrae in the upper back have grown together and due to that I am always tilting my head, just a couple of degrees so no one had ever noticed it – not even me. This causes some salt growth in the neck that my masseuse felt under her fingers. This can be dealt with (massage, yoga) and the pain gets less but it eventually always comes back.
Most of the time, like today (it is the afternoon), my back feels very very tired and I am just constantly aware of my neck and shoulders. They feel like a weight I carry around and not a part of me.
Motherhood, Babywearing, and Back Pain
When my first child was born six years ago I got a Björn from one of my cousins and a ring sling from another, but as my sister was then still babywearing her 18 month old daughter in a long wrap, it seemed like a no-brainer to get a wrap too. She had this beautiful Girasol and I loved the idea. I don’t remember though ever trying to wrap my niece. It wasn’t a love from the first sight. My big sister did it and so would I.
I was lucky. The shop where my sister had bought her wrap had a consultant working there. So when I bought my divine Hoppediz lightweight Dublin I got a consultation from a person who had been taught at Trageschule (a European Babywearing School – WYB). The tips of up and tight and baby bottom never under the line of belly button came from her. I knew nothing about the frog-position or M-position of the baby’s legs, the relief of the fact that I had never bothered to adjust the björn for myself came later. The ring sling at that point I never figured out, it seemed too difficult 🙂
Working Mom and Woven Wraps
I have now my own business, where among other things we are selling wraps from Amazonas and Hoppediz and teaching families how to carry their babies. I have a 16 month old daughter who is about 12kg and we babywear a lot. The pram in the corner is mostly collecting dust 🙂
I am mostly wearing my baby in this 4.6m hoppediz dublin – my favourite. I put her in the wrap when she was 10 days old (FWCC) and it was the only carry I used for at least six months. After that I started wrapping sometimes as Hip Cross Carry.
Wrap Tips for Comfort while Babywearing with Back Pain
I find it very important to me that the wrap is spread out on my shoulder, so the baby’s weight is not on my neck but on my shoulder bone. And I always follow the belly-button rule. Even on the hip. Human as I am I too sometimes do a lousy job at wrapping, mostly when my five year old is already storming outside and I try to follow as quickly as I can. When the wrap is too loose or my girl is too low then I feel it immediately. It starts to weigh my back and shoulders down. If I don’t bother doing a new wrap then welcome migraine in the evening. If it is too loose then I immediately feel as if my shoulders were in between clothespins, this is not the case with wrapping high enough and tight enough.
If Your Wrap Is Uncomfortable
So it always makes me really sad to hear a mother say that she bought a wrap and tried it a couple of times but her back hurt and it didn’t suit her. I know that there is a solution and a way to carry a baby without pain. I now mostly wear my baby on my back or on my hip. I still do a Hip Cross Carry, and on my back I like Christina’s Ruckless Back Carry or my recent favourite – Rucksack Carry with a knotless finish.
I also recently got an Ellaroo Aloe size 2 (a short wrap that used to be called a rebozo). I have tried it a couple of times and it was nice, the key…I can spread it out on the shoulder. I have tried different ring slings with a narrow ending or a padded one. They sink into my shoulders and neck and I cant adjust them to be comfortable. I have also tried to babywear in a Manduca, but it was never as comfortable as a wrap. Bondolino I found more comfortable but not enough to switch my wrap. Amazonas Smart Carrier I have only used on my back and again I have to say that nothing beats a wrap. Right now my daughter has awakened from her nap and off we go, with her on my back 🙂
Note from Diana (Wrap Your Baby)
Babywearing with a bad back will be different for everyone, because every back and every back condition is different. However, a woven wrap is the best bet for most people with back trouble. This is because there are so many wrap carries that distribute weight differently. So you should be able to find one that will work, comfortably, for your bad back! If you need suggestions, I’m happy to help you figure out babywearing with a bad back – email me or find me on Facebook!