Bed-sharing with your baby isn't always easy, especially if you're suffering from back pain. I can relate to this — my own toddler loves to get in our bed in the middle of the night, but my lower back pain makes it hard to find a comfortable spot to sleep. But knowing some bed-sharing positions for moms with back problems can really make a difference for any mom who needs them.
Backache is kind of synonymous with motherhood, and there's a legitimate reason why. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, new adjustments to your life, like carrying a baby on your hip most of the day, lugging heavy diaper bags and car seats, and bending over constantly to pick up a little one can really wear and tear on your back. Seriously, have you ever tried to lower a 15-pound baby into a crib without waking them? Worst back pain ever.
For moms who suffer from back pain and bed-share, it can get even more difficult to find some comfort. Babies and toddlers aren't exactly known for being the world's best sleepers and trying to contort your body to fit the one position your toddler is insisting upon can wreak havoc on your back. Not to mention, you still have to bed-share safely, which means you can't roll on to your stomach on the other side of the bed to leave your baby to sleep. So what should you do?
Pillows can be a hazard when you're bed-sharing, but when it comes to back pain, they can be a huge help. According to Mayo Clinic, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees and your legs pulled up can help alleviate some back pain you're having. This is also a great position for bed-sharing as you can curl your body around your baby's like an instinctive position.
But you can't hang out in that position every single night. Cleveland Clinic noted that habitually sleeping on one side can contribute to muscle imbalance, pain, and even scoliosis. Keep the pillow between your knees, but try switching sides every couple of nights to help with your back pain.
It may not sound like a lot, but with your baby in your bed, it's hard to try a variety of sleeping positions. If you're bed-sharing, but your baby is on a separate surface, Mayo Clinic noted that you can try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees to help keep the normal curve of your back stable while you're sleeping. This isn't always feasible if there's a baby in your bed, however, so make sure to use your best judgment on of this sleeping position will work for your bed-sharing arrangement.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your back pain is severe and doesn't seem to get better — they may have some ideas for you. Also, be sure you aren't taking a lot of heavy medication for pain relief if you're going to bed-share. Dr. Cecilia Tomori, anthropologist with postdoctoral training in public health, Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and author of Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma tells Romper that co-sleeping is only safe if you're aware of your baby at all times. "No smoking, no impairing medications, alcohol or other substances that can make the parent impaired," Tomori says. If your pain medication knocks you out or sends you into a deep, impaired sleep, be sure to put your baby on their own sleep surface for the night.