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How to improve postpartum back pain, according to a Chiropractor

It's a common symptom, but it doesn't have to be.

postpartum-back-pain

You're overjoyed by your adorable newborn, but not so much the back pain. If you're experiencing postpartum back pain, it's time to find quick solutions so that you can enjoy every moment with your baby.

Remember: Check with your provider if you're experiencing back pain combined with serious symptoms such as a fever, stabbing pain or loss of sensation. While lower back pain is common in the first two to six months after giving birth, it shouldn't be keeping you from everyday movements.

Of course, check with your provider to ensure that these tips are right for your situation.

Tips for relieving postpartum back pain

1. Start your morning with pelvic tilts.

One of the best ways to relieve back pain is to do daily pelvic tilts. This exercise will strengthen your lower back muscles and buttocks. To do it, lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Then lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your buttocks. You can about ten of these every morning.

Postpartum exercise: Pelvic tilt with bridge www.youtube.com

If you're interested in other stretches, yoga is highly recommended. Many yoga poses can strengthen your core and restore muscles while remaining low-impact exercise. After the first few months, you might also try walking or swimming to get good cardio-based activity. If you want more info on exercising postpartum, this is a great guide.

2. Check your breastfeeding posture.

If you breastfeed your baby, make sure you're sitting straight. Don't lean towards your baby. Leaning forward can strain your back, causing it to ache during the day. In addition, if you're experiencing back pain while breastfeeding, you can always lie down on your side to prevent the pain (just be careful not to fall asleep in the position if you are on a couch or chair).

3. Carry around a water bottle.

Many new mothers don't hydrate enough. Understandable, since they've got a lot on their minds! However, drinking enough water is essential so that your muscles can repair and your blood flow stays strong. Follow the eight x eight rule—eight glasses of 8 oz. daily—so that you get enough water. A good tip is to carry around a water bottle as a reminder to hydrate. You can also time drinking water with another activity. For example, every time your baby breastfeeds, you drink half a glass of water.

4. Watch what you lift.

It's vital that you don't overuse your muscles. New moms have lots to carry—babies, car seats, diaper bags, and more so be sure that you're not carrying too much at once.

Weight should also be distributed equally. For example, purchase a diaper bag that has two shoulders instead of one. Try to avoid placing your baby on one hip, too. A good alternative is a baby carrier that allows you to carry your baby in a healthy way.

You should also take note of how you're lifting things. Bend your knees to pick something up and hold it close to your body. Whenever you can, use your leg muscles and abs instead of your back.

5. Relax with an essential oil bath.

Baby's gone to bed. Now it's time for a nice warm bath with essential oils! Essential oils are an excellent idea for back pain relief. Many essential oils have pain-reducing properties, such as marjoram, ginger, frankincense, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and basil. Just put a few drops of an essential in a hot bath and ta-da! The hot water and the essential oil can relieve some pain.

Keep in mind that not all essential oils are safe for everyone to use, so check in with your provider for specific recommendations for you, especially if you are breastfeeding.

6. Boost up with omega-3.

Omega-3 is an excellent boost for your back. It's an anti-inflammatory compound found in fish and nuts and is useful for keeping your back pain under control since it's known to reduce inflammation. Try taking a daily omega-3 supplement and see if it helps keep you pain-free.

You might also try white willow bark. Known as "nature's aspirin," white willow bark is scientifically proven to reduce back pain effectively. In fact, studies show that 39% of patients suffering from back pain were pain-free after taking white willow bark for a month—but it's likely best to avoid willow bark if you are breastfeeding or pumping.

Other anti-inflammatory supplements include capsaicin and devil's claw, as well as turmeric and ginger.

Before starting any supplements, check with your provider to ensure there are no issues for you.

7. Plan a weekly menu with antioxidant-rich meals.

Diet is critical when it comes to back pain. In the chaos of a new baby, it's a good idea to take a few minutes and plan meals that will reduce inflammation and fuel your recovery. Try to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, which means lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains and olive oil. Specifically, antioxidant-rich foods, like leafy greens and colorful fruits, will reduce pain. Cutting processed food can also help, as these foods typically include unhealthy ingredients that flare up inflammation.

As a part of your weekly menu, you can also think of healthy snacks and drinks. For example, drinking green tea is a great antioxidant. Or try a berry smoothie in the afternoon. If you can, staying on top of your meals will help your health—and your back—in the long-run.

8. Sign up for massage therapy.

Massage therapy can have a substantial positive impact on your back pain. An expert massage therapist can use the power of touch to keep your muscles from staying stiff and tense. Massage session also helps release stress, as well as reduce pain. It's a win-win: Relaxing and good for your back.

Additionally, a massage therapist or a chiropractor can help you create a holistic care plan that includes specific information for your situation. This may include diet, exercise, essential oils, supplements, and other care areas. A professional chiropractor can make sure you're postpartum body is recovering as it should, as well as recommend adjustments.

Healing your back after giving birth can be a long road, but we hope these tips will help pave the way.

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My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Mom rage is real—and it's a sign that mothers' needs aren't being met

The truth is, anger—real, fist-clenching, heart-racing, uncontrollable anger—is so much more common among mothers than many of us think.

Maternal anger takes most women who experience it by surprise. I'm not this person, we say, after feeling a shocking swell of rage during one of those inevitable moments of frustration we all face as a parent.

I never thought I'd be "that mom" who yells at her family, we say, after snapping and yelling at our toddler.

I don't recognize myself when I feel like this—and I feel like this more than I want to, we say, when we realize that our anger isn't a temporary, one-time thing but an undercurrent in our day-to-day, an undeniable presence like a shadow.

The truth is, anger—real, fist-clenching, heart-racing, uncontrollable anger—is so much more common among mothers than many of us think. And it's time to talk about what "mom rage" is, where it comes from, and what we can do about it.

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