Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wearing Through Chronic Back Pain

I’d always hoped to wear any baby we were blessed with, but when the ligaments of my pelvis over-loosened to an extreme degree at 24 weeks pregnant, and I began living in near-constant pain, I wondered if it would work out. My medical team all assured me that my body would heal itself shortly after delivery, so I kept on figuring out which wearing options were best for our family.

While I was interested in soft-structured carriers, namely the Beco Gemini, the idea of wrapping really enticed me. I loved that woven wraps were amazingly beautiful and versatile from infancy to toddlerhood. When Baby Boy V was born, I was armed with a stretchy Moby Wrap and a Neobulle woven wrap.  I wrapped baby for the first time at about thirty hours old in a Moby.

To the surprise of all, instead of my pain getting better after V was born, it got worse and worse as the pain spread from my pelvis to my lower back, upper back, shoulders, and neck.  Life became consumed with thrice weekly chiropractic visits, weekly physical therapy, and a battery of doctors who didn’t quite know what to do with me.

Holding baby in my arms would exacerbate the pain, but what else is a new mom to do?  I quickly discovered that when I wrapped V, it distributed his weight across my shoulders and back and made carrying him around bearable.

After a few weeks, I decided to pull out my woven wrap to see how that compared to the Moby. It was trickier to get snug, but it felt so much more supportive. After getting some pointers at a Babywearing International of DC-MD-VA meeting, I discovered that I had less pain wearing V in a woven wrap than pushing him a stroller which required me to hold my arms in an uncomfortable position. I realized that a very snug pocket carry acted as a back brace, plus having baby so snugly next to me gave me an emotional boost, an important thing when dealing with chronic pain.

Because the Moby is stretchy, it has give in every direction and felt like it was pulling away from me. In contrast, a woven wrap only stretches slightly on the diagonal so it can get scrumptiously snug and conform to every inch of baby and me to provide unparalleled support. I wish I had started with a woven from the beginning!
The carries that are best for me have three things in common: they are symmetrical, have a pocket, and use a spread-out cross-pass. If that sounds like a foreign language to you, you are not alone. It sure did to me! Come to a meeting and ask for help, but in the meanwhile, take a look at my two favorite carries that do all three of those things, the front wrap cross carry and double hammock back carry with a cross-pass front.  

My medical team members are in agreement that supportive, symmetrical carries in a wrap are not contraindicated. Most of them were not familiar with wrapping, but extended their approval as they learned more. It is still unclear if my body will ever heal completely, but I should “graduate” from physical therapy right after V turns nine months old!  I am so glad that I found a way to care for V in a way that allows me to parent in the high-contact way that is important to our family while helping my body grow stronger. 

Posted by Pamm


  1. Pamm your positive outlook on managing your pain and your love for your son are an inspiration to us all!

  2. You're such a good mother!

    God bless you!


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  3. Am currently suffering from back pain. Have a Beco & an Ergo as well as a Moby wrap. I love the SSCs but between carrying her in my arms and the Ergo all day on Monday Iam in excruciating pain this evening. I am going to a local babywearing meet up this week and after reading your post I am going to ask to borrow a woven for a week and see if it improves my pain! I can't continue like this, especially as my 7.5 month old LO is 18lbs and continues to get bigger!