The majority of new parents we meet at Wear My Baby are experiencing some combinations of bad backs, aching shoulders and other uncomfortable niggles. Holding baby, feeding baby, lifting heavy car seats – not to mention readjustment and recovery from pregnancy and birth – all take their toll.
A well-fitted baby carrier can support a good posture and make your baby feel (just about) weightless, and help alleviate some of that discomfort. But we often still recommend new mums, especially, see a local osteopath.
How can an osteopath help new families? And what does osteopathy have to do with baby carriers? We asked South West London based osteopath Laura Tilson.
SO, LAURA. WHAT DOES AN OSTEOPATH ACTUALLY DO?
Osteopaths are trained to assess your body and the way it moves.
Whether you’re a tired mum with upper back pain from long hours of feeding or pelvic pain from the birth, osteopathy can help. We assess the joints, muscles and ligaments and our gentle treatment aims to get the body moving better.
HOW CAN AN OSTEOPATH HELP BABIES?
As osteopaths we don’t treat conditions. Instead we assess and treat babies for any soft tissue tension or joint restrictions either from the position of the baby in the womb or from the birth process.
We find that by getting a baby’s body moving freely they can settle more easily because they seem more comfortable which in turn may have an impact on their feeding, digestion and sleep.
For example getting a baby’s head and neck moving as it should can prevent conditions like torticollis (wry neck syndrome) and plagiocephaly (head flattening).
HOW ABOUT OSTEOPATHY FOR PARENTS?
As an osteopath I spend the majority of my time showing patients how osteopathy can benefit them. But trying to persuade busy parents – especially mums – that they should put themselves first for half an hour a day to sort out their bad back or that dodgy shoulder will be my mantra for the rest of my career.
Mums are renowned for putting others first and bravely soldiering on – because they are mums and that’s just what they do. And now – as mother to two small children – I can see why. My days blur into one – each a haze of coffee, marching around parks and attempts at housework, never mind trying to fit in brushing my hair or getting a little admin done.
So perhaps I am biased, but over the last few years I have seen for myself how osteopathy has helped me and my little ones.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST EXPERIENCE OSTEOPATHY?
I went for four treatments after having my first baby. Once a month, I carved out the time and made it a priority because I’m set on practicing what I preach. But the results speak for themselves.
The osteopath I saw sorted out the pain in my back where I had had an epidural by finding restricted joints in my back and tight muscles and getting them moving again. With massage and pressure over my upper back she helped to release aches from hours of bending over during feeds.
With the gentlest touch and movement she helped to encourage my baby to look comfortably to the left (he only looked to the right after a fairly traumatic ventouse delivery).
So perhaps I am biased but I cannot rave about it enough. This, along with a slow and steady commitment to getting fit again has been my rehabilitation back to a stronger self and I could not be more grateful.
WHY DO YOU RECOMMEND CARRYING BABIES IN SLINGS?
I love recommending slings to parents. As a mum of two small children I know how practical they are. You can keep your baby close and have your hands free . A well fitted sling benefits your posture, and can make a world of difference to your aches and pains.
In paediatrics we know that developmentally baby’s benefit hugely from being held by their primary care givers, to help them learn to stabilise their heart rate, breathing rate and in forming attachment bonds.
I love what Wear My Baby offers because I see a lot of parents in clinic with back pain from wearing a badly fitted sling. I can’t wait to offer them the babywearing workshop in our clinic.
Join us for an Introduction to a Babywearing ‘Essentials’ Workshop at Laura Tilson Osteopathy at Fresh Ground, 25 Northcote Rd, Clapham, London, SW11 1NJ, on Monday 22 January 2018, 11am-12:3opm. Open to all, costing £20 per person / £30 per couple. Advance booking required.