Baby Wrist and Top Tips On How To Avoid It
Many new mums suffer from a common repetitive strain injury known as Baby Wrist, or Dequervain’s. DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition that causes pain associated with movement of the thumb. Given all the holding, cuddling, and cradling that babies require, it’s no surprise that some mothers suffer from this condition. This repetitive stress injury is characterised by pain or tingling in the wrist and can cause long-term damage if not treated. A variation is pain around the thumb or fingers, which doctors used to think came from opening and closing safety pins while nappy changing, but now associate with lifting and carrying the baby – some people get it from texting too much!
The pain often increases at night, when the accumulation of fluid increases the pressure on the nerves. Breastfeeding mums may be more vulnerable to this because nursing can cause water retention.
So what exactly is it?
Baby wrist often begins with hormonal changes during pregnancy that cause internal swelling in the wrist. It is aggravated by holding the infant with a bent wrist, snapping little snaps, pushing a buggy, and lugging a baby carrier. And nursing mothers tend to make the condition worse by curling their hands under their full breasts when they’re asleep.
So here’s my top tips to avoid it:
1. Stretch off your wrists regularly holding for 30 secs.
2. Lifting very light hand weights by doing wrist curls.
3. Ice for 10 mins a day 2-3 times day.
4. Use a nursing pillow. This will help support the weight of baby so your hands don’t have to!
5. Allow yourself to recline back, and support the weight of baby on your body, rather than in your arms.
6. Use arm rests or pillows under your elbows for support.
7. Keep your fingers/hands relaxed and shoulders back. You can even think about tightening your abs – this not only helps tighten up that baby belly, but it provides more support to your spine which in turn helps to support your neck/shoulders/arms.
8. If bottle feeding, be sure to keep your wrist in a neutral position (knuckles in line with forearm) – try holding the bottle from underneath rather than over the top and keep your elbows tucked in baby.
9. When lifting/carrying baby: Get in the habit of tightening your abs and pulling your shoulders back, this gives you a stronger core and makes it easier for your arms and hands to do their job efficiently Get close to your baby. The more you have to reach with your arms, the more stress you place on your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
10. Train yourself early on to carry baby on both sides, or in the middle using both arms. Holding your baby too much on just one side places increased stress that side.
Jamie Lloyd is a Post Natal Exercise Coach in SW London. For personal training, nutrition coaching or a FREE trial to his BuggyBellsclasses contact firstname.lastname@example.org