Snuggles, kisses, gazing, nursing, wonderment. Almost all of these actions are done while holding your new bundle of love. I remember staring, staring and staring some more at my sweet baby boy when he was born. I was a first time mom and I was so in awe that he was in my arms, AND that my body made this magnificent human.
All of that love directed at your little baby is incredible, important and instrumental in their development, not to mention your emotional health. It is also straining and taxing on your neck, arms, shoulders and back. Whew! I did not realize how strained my neck and upper back would be from holding, nursing and staring at my baby –> all day <– I couldn’t take my eyes off my son as he nursed in those first few weeks. I couldn’t believe we were doing it, we were breastfeeding and it was beautiful.
What saved my overworked muscles was my favorite self care tip. Yoga
It only takes a few minutes of your time to mindfully stretch, breathe and relieve a bit of stress physically and emotionally as you care for your newborn 24/7. Or maybe it’s only been 24/3 for you 😉 Welcome to motherhood!! Let’s stretch!
One of the biggest tips I share with all of my students, pregnant or not, is the importance of maintaining good posture. As we become fatigued, it is very easy to slouch and round forward in the spine. This puts added strain on our bodies, primarily the neck and back. I don’t know of a new mom that isn’t elated, but also fatigued.
I recommend all mommies begin to notice their posture. It’s ok, you’re not going to have fantastic posture all the time. I’d often recognize my rounded shoulders and give myself the gentle reminder to sit a little taller and bring my shoulders back.
So, initially, one of the best tips I can share with you is that you develop good posture. It will save your neck and back. As baby grows and gains weight, you’ll develop the proper strength to hold your chunky monkey as well.
As you work on your posture, try these mommy stretches, you’ll be glad you did…
Mommy Stretches: Neck release
- Sit tall, whether cross legged on the floor, or sitting in a chair.
- Drop your right ear towards your right shoulder. Bring your right hand to the head to deepen the stretch. Close your eyes and take a few breaths.
- For a variation, angle your chin towards your chest, keeping your hand on your head, deepening the stretch.
- Hold for a few slow and steady breaths.
- Release, then repeat on the other side.
- Drop chin towards your chest and let your head hang heavy. Remain aware of your posture in the mid and lower spine.
- As your head drops forward, let it sway slowly side to side. This can be a very small movement depending on where you have tension in the neck.
- Move very mindfully through these neck stretches. Breathe with intention.
Mommy Stretches: Forward fold with shoulder stretch
- Stand with your feet at hip distance.
- Interlace your fingers behind your back. If this is not comfortable in the shoulders, you can grasp a towel between your hands.
- With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward at the hips, letting your upper body move into a forward fold stretch.
- Your arms can float up and away from the low back if this is comfortable in shoulders.
- Hold this stretch for as long as you’d like. 5 steady breaths is a good foundation.
- When ready, release the hands and slowly bring your body up to standing.
- This is a lovely stretch to release your pectoral muscles and shoulders that become tired from holding baby cakes nonstop 🙂
Mommy Stretches: Child’s Pose
- Begin in a table top pose / hands and knees on the ground.
- You may choose to place a blanket under you knees for extra padding and comfort.
- Open your knees so that they are wider than your hips
- Bring your toes to touch behind you, then carefully sink you hips back to your heels.
- Walk your hands forward and allow your head to either rest on the floor, or stack your palms or fists and let your forehead relax onto your hands. Basically, you should have your forehead resting on some support. This allows your neck to stretch and release.
- Close your eyes and take 5 or more deep breaths. See if you can breathe into the low back and back of the rib cage.
- This was one of my favorite stretches post baby. It relieved strain in my low back and felt wonderful in my body. I hope you enjoy it as well.
- Do this while baby is laying on a blanket in front of you. It’s super sweet.
- * If child’s pose bothers your knees or hips, please do not take this stretch. No need to add any unwanted pressure to these joints. *
You will quickly discover how amazing yet demanding motherhood is. I encourage you to remember to take care of you, beautiful mommy. You’re going to “give” a whole lot. Make sure you also receive some yummy self care practices. Don’t forget to book a massage and keep up with your chiropractic appointments. All of these therapies were a key part of my postpartum life.
Sending you love, peace and relaxation. You’re amazing!
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