In the last post, we explored the prevalence, significance, and impact of back pain during pregnancy. Today, we will show you how joint and back pain is only accentuated by baby products on the market, including some of the most popular baby items sold to new parents such as most infant car seats.
The fact that infant car seats are removable from a vehicle is convenient to most parents, yet detachable car seats also increase the risk of postpartum back injuries in women. An average infant car seat weighs approximately 15 pounds and is over 2 feet in length and 18 inches wide. When using infant car seats to carry their babies, caregivers are tasked with transferring the infant car seat in and out of the car while the infant remains in the car seat.
If you break down the basic mechanics of lifting, you can understand the risk of injury when carrying a baby in a car seat. The farther an object is from the center of gravity of a person lifting the object, the more effort is required to lift the object. In fact, the force is measured by multiplying the weight of an object (car seat plus baby) with how far it is from the center of gravity (middle of the body), making things really hard on the spine. People also generally carry infant car seat off to the side of the body, resulting in increased forces on those discs in the front part of the low back, which increases the risk of disc herniation or injury.
In addition to the load on the spine, new mothers can develop carpal tunnel syndrome and other upper arm maladies from pregnancy and then carrying their infants. This gets exacerbated when carrying a car seat on one arm, causing an increased risk of injury to the carrying arm of a parent.
Further, the spine and abdominal muscles work very hard to counterbalance the weight of carrying the car seat. Since these muscles are already stretched and weak in the postpartum period, the risk of injury is further increased.
In addition to the trouble that car seats can cause, soft baby carriers come with their own issues. Most soft baby carriers require that you wear the baby carrier halfway on your body, then lift the baby up and into the carrier. This is often very cumbersome and painful for mothers with shoulder or elbow problems. The baby carrier shoulder straps then need to be fastened by reaching far behind you to secure them, adding further strain to an already cumbersome situation.
Finally, the language around so many infant products promotes the notion that parents must sacrifice themselves for their babies. The idea that parents would do anything for their babies somehow translates in our minds that in order to parent well, we have to sacrifice ourselves on the way. But this is not true. In fact, we know that parents who are hurting and suffering can struggle with the tasks of parenting. And the opposite is also true— when parents are able to feel fulfilled they are better able to handle the stresses of parenting. When we see parenting as a process of helping our children and also fulfilling ourselves, we are able to embody the concept that love does not harm.
The Nessl Baby Carrier was thoughtfully designed each step of the way with your function and the baby’s comfort in mind. That’s why we designed a comfortable, detachable waist strap that the baby carrier simply clicks into, and why we use elegant, soft and lightweight fabrics that have a wicking interior and a water resistant exterior.
We believe you don’t need a lot of things to be a great parent, but parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. Sometimes, it can feel difficult and overwhelming, especially if you are in pain. At Nessl, our goal is to support you with thoughtful products that help you to be the best parent you can be.