Why Does My Baby Carrier Hurt My Back?

WHY DOES MY BABY CARRIER HURT MY BACK?


Either because it’s not adjusted properly, or your baby has outgrown it.

If your carrier fits you and your baby and is adjusted correctly, it should NEVER:

1. Make your back, shoulders or neck feel sore or painful
2. Cause you to lean in any direction
3. Make you want to rip it off after 20 minutes.

If you’re experiencing any of these things, you might need to change or upgrade your carrier, so please check out our buying guide to the best baby carriers for different ages and stages.

Your baby may have outgrown it – the maximum age listed on the box is usually nonsense – or it may not be well suited to your body shape.

A sling should always mimic how you carry your baby in your arms: snug and high up on your chest so they’re close enough to kiss.

Tightening your carrier (usually) or loosening it (sometimes) just a few centimetres here and there can make a vast difference. As can positioning the waistband higher up on your body. The clue is in the name: it’s a WAISTband, not a hip belt.

Making your carrier HIGHER and TIGHTER will usually make a huge difference to your comfort!

Why tightening? If your carrier or wrap is too loose or sitting too low on your body, your baby’s weight will pull away from you. Your centres of gravity will no longer match and it’ll put extra strain on your back.

WHICH BABY CARRIER HAS THE BEST BACK SUPPORT?


The most supportive carrier – whether you’ve got a ‘bad’ back or a regular one – is one that

1. Is suitable for your baby’s age and developmental stage
2. Suits your body shape and – now this is the MOST important bit
3. Is fitted and adjusted properly around you and your baby.

Even the most well-designed, expensive, feature-packed carrier will NOT be fun to use if it’s not adjusted properly for you and your baby. Your baby will feel heavy. They might not settle well. It can exacerbate your existing back problems. A badly fitted baby carrier can even cause back pain.

A well-fitted baby carrier can be part of the solution. A tightly fitted, well-adjusted sling will hold your baby’s weight up and into your body; making you stand up straight (maybe for the first time in a while), with your spine in a neutral position.

It will distribute your baby’s weight evenly around your body. It will make you engage and strengthen your core, which in turn will protect your back.

You might want to opt for a carrier that features a lumbar support pad, like an Ergobaby Omni I find that some parents with chronic lower back concerns find the additional snug ‘push’ of this pad into the spine gives quite a nice release and makes carrying comfier.

We have additional Tula lumbar support pads – designed for Tula baby carriers, but they’re pretty universal and slide neatly onto the waistband of most other carrier brands.

However, some parents with mid/lower back issues find that slings with zero padding on the waist, like an Izmi Baby Carrier or a stretchy wrap, are preferable. These slings spread your baby’s weight more across your upper torso, so the lower back can move freely and easily.

Fabric wraps and soft, tie-on carriers are often THE comfiest options for those with back pain. Even if you’ve got an older baby or toddler. When you’ve got a sling that is infinitely adjustable and moulds perfectly around your and your babies body, their weight is 100% supported. So no pressure points for you.

Try back carrying once your baby is 6 months old. Check out our top recommended back carriers for serious levels of comfort!

Avoid carrying your baby world-facing/ facing out for long periods, or at all,

HOW CAN I GET RID OF NEW-PARENT BACKACHE?


Lugging around car seats, feeding, leaning into cots and holding a small human in your arms for hours each day: new parents’ postures take an absolute beating.

If your sling isn’t comfy, it’s easy to assume ‘Baby Carriers Don’t Work For Us’ or My Back Isn’t Up To It’. But I’ve worked with many, many thousands of families: parents with broken backs, slipped discs, scoliosis, arthritis, sports injuries: 99.9% of the time I’ve found a carrying solution.

That said, I also spend a lot of time signposting parents to GPs, physiotherapists, osteopaths, pilates teachers etc.

Mums and Dads can all too easily assume a bad back ‘just happens’ when you have children. That you have to put up with it. News flash: It doesn’t, and you shouldn’t.

Strengthen your core, seek medical advice and get therapeutic attention for those aches and pains. You only get one back: look after it.

Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace

One of the UK's top babywearing consultants, Hannah founded Wear My Baby in 2014. She has worked with over 10,000 families and has trained with Slingababy, the School of Babywearing and L'ecole A Porter.

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