How to Hold Your Child Without Hurting Your Back

How to Hold Your Child Without Hurting Your Back

How to Hold Your Child Without Hurting Your Back

As you can see above, I have a wonderful 4 year-old who Loves to pretend she is still a baby.  One of my favorite parts of motherhood is the cuddling with her.  I hear from so many moms, dads, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas–that they feel the same, but “Oh, does it do wreckage to my back!” 

I always want to say to them, it’s not the carrying of the child or baby that is making your back hurt, but HOW you are carrying them that is making your back hurt. 

Take a look at the picture directly below. 

Holding A Child Poorly (Ouch!)

This is a normal example of how many of us hold our children. (I too, have been guilty of this when I am not paying attention).

We thrust our hips forward and rely on those big pelvic bones and joints to carry the weight of our children (Mine is 36 lbs. in this pic).  This is Murder on our lower backs. Those joints are just not equipped to do this over and over again without serious ramifications. 

But Hallelujah!  There is a Better Way!  Look at the picture below, my hips are lined up under my shoulders and above my ankles.  But surprisingly, and maybe most importantly:

Good Position for Holding A Child (Yay! No back pain!)

**I Feel Like I am Leaning Forward, Hinging From My Hips.

I am in what most Alexander Technique teachers call, a Monkey Position.  A teeny tiny monkey.  I am holding Olivia as close to me as possible (which makes her part of my weight) and in the end she feels much LIGHTER to hold!

The Next Key to Good Holding is: Stay in Movement! Allow your ankles, knees and hips to have little smooth adjustments like your joints were casters on the bottom of a swivel chair. Smooth teeny tiny movements. This allows different muscles in your legs and back to share the weight, instead of you locking down your joints and only a few muscles/joints taking the weight.

Although this seems very simple, and it is–It is not always Easy to find it on your own.  A Certified Alexander Technique Teacher, however, can help you find this super fast.  


Need help finding one near you? 

In America, go to: AmSat Find a Teacher

In Europe, go to: STAT Find a Teacher

If you live in other places in the world, I don’t have a direct link, but type in “Alexander Technique Teacher near me” into your search engine, and you should be able to find a Certified Practitioner. 

Let me know how it works for you!



  • Robin John Simmons
    Posted at 20:28h, 16 January Reply

    Hello Lena,
    Very smart website. I have got my trainees to look at it as an example of what they could do when they become teachers. I am very behind with my site.

    Meanwhile if you ever re-do the stand-sit sequence you might want to eliminate the toes rising during the action as that indicates a slight shortening – however only AT obsessives like me are likely to maybe spot it.

    As for child carrying I think your pictures are excellent and of course there is a lot more one might add to the issue – the act of picking a child up or putting a child down is often peformed horribly, and this can lead to subsequent further poor use. Plus the positive value of holding & carrying with the little finger side of the hand (the strong side) to link the arm in with the back (see Dart).

    Yours truly, Robin John Simmons SBAT MSTAT (Zürich – Switzerland, & Bangalore – India)

    • Alexander Technique SF Bay Area
      Posted at 21:23h, 16 January Reply

      Thank you so much Robin! I am loving the new site as well. I will definitely take a look at those pics with the standing and sitting. I certainly don’t want the ‘good use’ to have my toes coming up!
      I agree, there is always much more to be said. I’m trying with these blogs to keep them short and simple so as not to overwhelm for those who are just getting introduced to the Technique. What a great idea for another blog, though–Picking something up!

    • Alexander Technique SF Bay Area
      Posted at 21:26h, 16 January Reply

      Thank you Jessica! When it stops raining so much on the West Coast, I plan to also make a video for it…

  • Jessica Santascoy
    Posted at 20:54h, 16 January Reply

    Very informative article on how to hold a child. The photos really illustrate the difference between holding a child with undue tension versus holding a child with more ease. It’s the same idea when holding a sack of groceries, but holding a child can really trigger us to move incorrectly because we don’t want to drop the little human. I’m going to share this article with my clients. Thank you!

  • Adam H.
    Posted at 00:43h, 18 January Reply

    Love this. Especially the stay-in-movement bit. Brilliant! My back thanks you.

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