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  • Writer's pictureGrey's Cowbell

Mothers Thumb... Such a DOWNER!

Of course, we expect a period of recovery after having a baby. However, one thing we might not expect is the onset of other unexpected conditions we can develop after baby arrives. One such condition is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, otherwise known as Mothers Thumb. You may have it and not even realize that what you are currently experiencing is in fact, Mothers Thumb.

A mother’s touch is like no other and it’s no surprise that mothers not only spend a big part of their days lifting their newborn, but quite possibly other toddlers, car seats, diaper bags, dishes, and laundry baskets full of dirty clothes of all shapes and sizes. No wonder that you can soon be experiencing some wrist and thumb pain. The saying that Moms literally have their hands full, is truly an extremely factual statement!

What Are the Symptoms?

Tenderness and pain at the base of the thumb which is made worse by moving the thumb in a downward flexed position or moving the wrist in a dart-throwing motion. Some people can have swelling and can even feel a soft globular mass there, which is the inflamed and swollen tissues.

How to Avoid Mothers Thumb

1. Avoid lifting your baby (or other children) with your thumbs and index fingers in an “L” position under their arms, where the fingers are placed on their back and thumbs on the child’s chest. This puts extra stress on the tendons from the thumb as they pass over the back of the wrist. Instead, get as close as you can your child, tighten your abdominal muscles, and lift your baby by sliding one hand under their head and upper back and the other under their bottom. Bring your child close to your chest and use your forearms to support their weight. This technique will distribute the pressure throughout your hand and forearms, taking the pressure off of your thumbs.

2. Avoid holding and breastfeeding your infant the same way throughout the day. Some possible alternate holds are the football hold, front facing hold and straddle hold. Consider using a nursing pillow or baby carrier to free your hands altogether and allow your back to do the work instead of your arms and hands. Besides, you have better things to be doing with your hands like enjoying a Grey’s Cowbell delicious lactation treat. 😉

Healing Mothers Thumb

Too late and you’ve already developed Mothers Thumb? Try lifting your little ones differently. If you're feeling some discomfort, perhaps the single most important thing you can do to prevent further irritation of the wrist tendons is to modify how you lift your baby. Also, be sure you are changing up your breastfeeding position. In addition, you may need to wear a splint to give your wrist and hand additional support and rest. I find that soaking any aligning area in warm water with Epsom salts for 15 minutes a couple of times a day can provide some comfort and relief. I like to soak first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Soaking in warm water with Epsom salts can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints. Finally, you may need to see a doctor for further treatment options if the symptoms persist.

Sounds simple enough and with a little knowledge beforehand, this painful condition is completely avoidable. It is a small piece of advice that can save you some big, drawn out pain. That is why we feel it is so important to bring light to so many important issues that can help give you the smoothest ride possible on this trip through Motherhood.

We love being on this journey with you. To provide you with knowledge and information along with amazingly delicious and highly effective lactation treats. We are part of your village. Love, Grey

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