Wrist and Thumb Pain While Breastfeeding

I get to see lots of women with wrist and thumb pain while breastfeeding as it's a musculoskeletal condition that responds to manual treatment.  While it's lovely to help mothers with this and get them pain free, my passion is to get breastfeeding working well from the beginning, and there are certain things that you can do to avoid getting this kind of pain!

This kind of pain is called Dequervain's tenosynoviits and it is an inflammation around your muscles in the thumb and wrist.  By far when breastfeeding it's usually cause by an awkward breastfeeding position where you are holding those muscles tense throughout a feed.

Check out the video above as it's much esaseir to see what's happeing than to describe it, but basically you just need to get your forearm and wrist in a straight line and it really calms down the inflammation that builds up in those muscles.

If you already have problems with this kind of pain you can try:

  • placing a wrist guard on your wrist while breastfeeding (this can be uncomfortable so you may choose to just bandage your wrist
  • changing the way you pick up your baby (video to come) so that you don't pick them up under their arm pits but instead keep your wrist and forearm in a straight line and slide both hands and forearms under your baby to pick them up
  • epsom salts soak - this will pull out some of the inflammation. You place about half a cup of epsom salts in a long bucket of warm water and soak your wrist in there (this help you avoid using anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen if you can)
  • Use ice to help calm down any inflammation
  • Use a breastfeeding pillow to support your baby so your wrist isn't working so hard while you feed
  • Try breastfeeding lying down so you don't have to hold your baby much

Good luck, I know how debilitating this can be.  It is really common to lat quite a while too as it's hard to fully rest it while you have to go on lifting your baby to change their bottom, put them to bed, breastfeed them etc etc etc!

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