Pushing your baby in their pram may seem like a relatively simple task, however, I observe many mothers that are potentially contributing to injury on a daily basis in the way that they are pushing their little one/s around in their prams. If compare this to doing exercise using bad technique you know that over time other muscles will compensate and you are more than likely to get aches and pains from the repeated movements. Here I will go through a few simple rules you can implement in order to protect your body from one thing that you do VERY regularly when you have a baby. Get it right now and you are protecting yourself as they get bigger and heavier AND you might even find you get a better workout from all that walking you do (most of all a better bum!)
Rule 1: No creases in your wrists
Problem: Wrist pain - I speak to many women who experience wrist pain after having a baby. Generally, many mums are using their hands and arms more than they ever have done before and maintaining the same position (rocking, holding, bouncing etc.) for extended periods of time.
Solution - no creases in your wrists. Next time you are pushing your pram just glance down at your wrists - do you see any creases? If you do you will also see your hand sitting at an angle anywhere between 45-90 degrees from you wrist - this is putting constant pressure on your wrist joint especially when you add load (pushing up hill or a second child in a double pram). Adjust your wrist so that there is a straight line running from your arm down to knuckles - you will notice that that the creases at your wrist now disappear. Keep glancing down and checking for those creases and feel the tension ease from your wrist joints.
Rule 2: Keep your hips near the handle bar
Problem: Lower Back Pain - a common complaint in many new (and not so new) mums. It is a misconception that after you become a mum you should just have to put up with back ache; this isn't so, but many of the postures we assume in daily tasks do contribute to these aches and pains. The head down, bum out, bending over position many mothers take when pushing a heavy pram uphill is huge in contributing toward lower back ache. Do this regularly whilst going hell for leather in the attempt to work hard and lose weight and you could find yourself in a world of pain.
Solution - keep your hips close to the handle of your pram when you are pushing your baby uphill. Next time you are pushing your pram uphill I'd like you to stay standing tall, aim to keep your hips relatively close to your pram and find your glutes! Take big strides up the hill and drive through the bum to propel you up the hill. You should start to feel your glutes working when walking like this. Your back should hurt less AND you'll be getting a much better workout.
Rule 3 - chest up shoulders down
Problem - upper trap/back and neck pain - a lot of tension is held in our neck, upper back and shoulders when we are tired, stressed and looking after little people that need our constant care and attention. We often walk around with our shoulders by our ears and don't even realise it - add to this a handle bar of the wrong height and you will surely exasperate the problem.
Solution - adjust your handle bar height - pretty much every pram these days comes with an adjustable handle so people of different heights can be comfortable, however we share prams with our partners or don't even think about adjusting handle height (I bet many are still set at the height they came when bought). Next time you are out for a walk stand upright next to your pram - make sure your chest is up and shoulders are down, allow your hands to rest on the handle and see how you feel. If you adjusted it down a few inches would it take some pressure off your upper body and allow you to maintain that chest up, shoulders down position more comfortably? As a general rule your hands should be a little above hip height.
These may seem like pretty simple things to implement - and they are BUT they might just change the way you are moving on a daily basis and help to relieve some of those aches and pains that don;t have to go hand in hand with motherhood.