All things hand therapy and upper limb health

3 Ways to Hold Your Baby Pain-free

Some of the most beautiful moments of being a mother come during when your baby is just newly born. After giving birth, the last thing a mum should be suffering from is any sort of pain or discomfort in their wrists. Unfortunately, mums often become victims of wrist pain not long after having a baby. This pain at the base of your thumb is usually due to a combination of 3 changes in your body: 

  1. Hormonal changes in your ligaments 
  2. Mechanical changes - a shift in the required mechanics of your wrist to now lift a baby 
  3. New movements that your muscles are not usually ready to cope with 

This condition can be also referred to as the DeQuervain’s Syndrome - named after the doctor that first described the condition.  On the side of your wrist, there are two muscles that move your thumb: the Abductor Pollicis Longus & Extensor Pollicis Brevis. These muscles become tendons at the level of your wrist and are held in place by the First Dorsal Compartment which keeps them from gliding at the side of your wrist.  

With the birth of a newborn baby, these muscles have to adjust to a lot.  Every time you lift your baby, support its head, position them for feeding, hold them for bathing, these muscles are put under stress. These tasks are done with high frequency and need therefore, your muscles are not up to the task. And in addition to this, with hormonal changes occurring simultaneously, it doesn’t take long before pain is experienced. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help prevent pain!


There are three things you can do to lift and feed your baby pain-free 

  • Splint: You can wear a splint that supports these tendons to allow them to heal.
  • Learn new lifting and feeding techniques: 
  1. Scooping your baby up – under the neck and shoulders with a straight wrist is an invaluable exercise. Stand with your feet apart and keep your child close to your body.
  2. Avoid long periods of sustained holding or gripping. Use a bouncer or play mat.
  3. Relax your thumb and wrist when holding and feeding your baby. Use pillows for support. An electric breast pump can be useful instead of your hands.
  4. Tuck your thumb next to the index finger when pushing the pram
  • Strengthen: You can strengthen the muscles.

How we can help

The Hands Physio is available to help you every step of the way with your individual and specific questions. Custom splints are made to suit you and lifting your baby and individualised education and exercise programs are given to help you recover from this disabling condition. We want to help you make sure you can enjoy this wonderful time with your baby as best you can.


You can call for an appointment 02 97434672 or book one online.


No doctor referral is necessary.

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