When you’re on the go with an infant, the last thing you’re probably concerned with is yourself. Between making sure you have a stocked diaper bag and buckling the baby correctly, your primary goal is getting to your destination. However, knowing how to carry a car seat can save your back from unnecessary strain. Adjusting to your new life after a baby is hard enough as it is - you don’t need lower back pain making your life harder! Find out how to safely lift and carry a car seat so you can travel around with confidence.
Heavier Than You Think
Adding your baby’s weight to that of a car seat ends up being heavier than you think, even with a newborn. Even detachable base models weigh up to 15 pounds. Add the weight of a constantly growing baby, and you end up putting tons of strain on your recovering body. Before you know it, you’re hauling around a 30 pounds weight – and that’s just the baby!
Proper Posture is Key
Your posture and technique play a huge role in avoiding lower back pain. While how you choose to carry the seat is up to you, the right method doesn’t matter without the right foundation. Whatever way you choose to carry, it can’t be stressed enough that good posture will help protect your back. After childbirth, your core muscles are probably weak, especially after a C-Section. Remember, make sure to get your doctor’s clearance for lifting after a C-Section.
Whether you’re a regular at the gym or have never lifted a weight in your life, there are a few quick tips you can use to improve your strength and posture that will help when carrying a car seat.
Your shoulder and back muscles are no good when they’re hunched up by your ears. Stress and anxiety can make your shoulders creep up, so be mindful to keep your shoulders relaxed and low on your back. Make sure you stand tall!
Even weakened core muscles are doing a lot of work. Core muscles are a huge group of muscles that support your torso, so use that to your advantage. Keep the car seat near your torso and brace those muscles when lifting.
Remember to breathe! For some of it’s, it’s instinct to hold our breath when we do something strenuous. But that only does harm since we need oxygen to fuel our muscles and keep blood circulating.
You’ve probably heard it before, but it can’t be said enough: don’t lift with your back! Bend your knees and use your larger leg muscles to take the brunt of the load.
Give your arms break a break every now and then. Find a seat, bench, or couch at waist level that can safely hold your carrier. Keep your baby closer and avoid having to bend to the ground.
You don’t have to be experienced with weightlifting to get started! Even a pair of 3-lb weights will help with your muscle tone. Start slow, find some basic moves, and stay consistent. You’ll start to notice a change quicker than you’d think!
Top 3 Carrying Methods There’s no one right way it comes to how to carry a car seat to avoid lower back pain. It all depends on your own strength, the type of car seat you have, and the weight and activity level of your baby. However, finding the right way for you is important to both your back and child safety. 1. The first method is best for when you’re standing for long periods of time without walking much. Hold the handle of the car seat right in front of you using both hands. The reason this hold is best while standing is that you use both arms for weight distribution. Secondly, the car seat sits in front of your hips so that walking will jostle the seat too much. Plus, using both arms help keep you standing straight without leaning to one side.
2. This next method is a bit out of the box but is brilliant once you give it a try. Please note that this only works with certain types of car seats. Place the car seat on the ground next to your feet. Bend your knees, looping your arm through the handle from behind. Turn your wrist toward the car seat to grab the latch, then lift with your knees.
3. The last carrying method is perfect when you don’t have both hands free and need to be on the move. Put the seat on the ground the same way a method two, then put your arm through the handle and bend it into your elbow. Since this is a bicep-heavy lift, make sure to switch arms often and hit the weights if you’re up for it! Find tips about how to carry a car seat and more with Dr. Angela Martinez-Yoder on Facebook and Instagram!