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Photo credit: Alexandra Grablewski

Sure, she’s effortlessly adorable and innately sweet, but did you know your baby also has naturally perfect posture? That is, until she’s carried incorrectly, says Esther Gokhale, author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. Carrying your baby with your arm around her bottom, for example, encourages her to slump against you, which can compress and weaken her back muscles and eventually lead to bad posture. Fortunately, a few simple adjustments can help your baby keep her proper posture. Here’s what to do:

When holding your baby, keep her back lengthened by putting your bent arm under her bottom so that her rear is slightly behind her rather than tucked inward (it may help to imagine that your baby has an imaginary tail that needs to hand down over your arm). At the same time, keep her torso straight, not bent, letting her legs dangle downward. “This stretches the muscles and prevents your baby from slumping forward, allowing her bones and tissues to grow normally,” Gokhale says.

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