Align your Life
Your life changes after a baby – and your body does too….
I’m writing this blog post while sat on my stability ball [thank goodness – for my own professional credibility!] and mindful of my posture. Don’t get me wrong; I love my sofa but I have to remind myself not to slouch during a TV program or one of James’s mega-feed sessions!
As Kathryn Peden – physiotherapist and Women’s Health Specialist – reminded me at a recent UK Guild of Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Instructors’ webinar on diastasis recti (abdominal separation) we need to align our lives.
It’s vital for us to work on correct and safe postnatal core exercises [read: work with a postnatal specialist!] after we’ve welcomed little people into the world. But, if we’re not sitting correctly at home, when driving, at the desk […you get the picture…] we’re undoing all this excellent hard work on regaining core strength.
In undoing that hard work by poor alignment, intra-abdominal pressure is not in the right place and our bodies are compensating all over to accommodate this. So, be mindful of posture when sitting, driving, standing and when lifting, nursing, and / or bottle-feeding little ones.
Our body changed significantly throughout the course of our pregnancy, in order to accommodate a growing baby and in preparation for birth. Biomechanically, our centre of gravity shifts and we typically develop a ‘lordotic’ (tummy-out) posture. In the months after baby is born, our body is changing back and re-aligning its structure.
For instance: the pelvis is readjusting, and we’re also dealing with the continued presence of Relaxin. Relaxin is the hormone that helped prepare our body for birth by making joints more lax, more flexible and better able to adjust for a growing baby. However, throughout pregnancy and in the weeks and months after baby is born, Relaxin also makes the body more susceptible to injury.
Lifting newborn baby, your other children, nursing and feeding – and all with those pesky, heavier milk-filled breasts – all may cause your shoulder posture to become more rounded and thus, again, having an effect on your core. This means even more effort from an already-tired mom to align your body position in normal day-to-day activity. This is another good reason to make sure that you: avoid high impact repetitive exercise where both feet leave the ground; focus on strengthening your core, including pelvic floor; and therefore prevent injury as your body slowly adjusts. Especially when you are extra tired….
When my youngest son was experiencing another growth spurt in July (at 4 months old), I had been experiencing some lower back pain at night and in the early mornings. I judged that this pain was caused by poor nursing posture overnight when I was particularly tired. I had used an off-the-shelf nursing pillow with both of my boys, but I found both pillows to be too high; and, even after an emergency C-section, they were pretty much useless to me. (One was promptly given away and the other sold.)
At the recent Elm City Baby Expo, I was so very lucky to be standing next to Courtney Larkin [the fabulous momtrepreneur!] and her team at Luna Pillow by Luna Baby.
My youngest came along for the afternoon session of the Expo and as I was about to nurse at the end of the afternoon, Courtney kindly lent me one of her beautiful pillows in a helpful [not a hard-sell!] kinda’ way! The first thing I noticed was that the material is super-soft – just the kind of material you want next to a newborn. It’s fully washable and, even more wonderfully, it’s handmade here in Fredericton. Like many, I love supporting local small business and, even better, reducing my carbon footprint.
Instantly, my posture improved, and with its generous size and soft fill I could feel it adjust snuggly to James’s and my body shape. Remarkably, I was sat perfectly upright! Courtney explained that the pillows could be customized to accommodate ladies of different shapes- which is wonderful. As I packed away James’s newborn clothes later that day [sob!] I debated on the purchase for maybe an hour before I hit the Lunababy Pillow Etsy shop.
Everything about the pillow is personal-it’s hand-stitched, beautifully wrapped, hand-delivered, and accompanied by a handwritten card. So special in every way!
We love our Luna Pillow - it has helped my posture; I use it whilst feeding by day and by night, working at my desk and when my little one wants to snuggle.
Luna Pillow by Luna Baby was launched in April 2018. Courtney, the CEO and founder had suffered from painful Carpal Tunnel in both wrists with a newborn and felt the same frustrations about feeding pillows. ‘I researched and designed, and came up with the unique luna pillow design. Our luna pillows provide soft yet firm support for your baby, and posture support for mom (or whoever may be feeding the little one).’
Be mindful of your posture; strengthen that postnatal core safely before all else (i.e. high impact exercise can wait-see my last blog post!); align your life; and be patient and kind to yourself. There are tools, professionals (chiropractors, pelvic health specialists, postnatal fitness specialists etc ) and techniques out there to help you. Find time for yourself each day even if it’s just 5 minutes for a mind-nap, for relaxation, meditation- maybe postnatal yoga- it all helps in a holistic approach to mind and the postnatal body. Remember you just grew a tiny human-be patient!
Much love, Sarah x
Find out more about Courtney and Luna Baby Pillows on Facebook.
*This blog post was not sponsored by luna pillow by luna baby in any way
Stroller Strong Fall Exercise Classes (SOLD OUT) start @EnchantedWoodsPlayCafe Sep 27- registration required.